#ArchiTalks 15 thanksgiving "From an Architect's Table"

"From an Architect's Table"
Dolly Brown’s Pumpkin Pie

My grandmother, Margaret Marion Schmitt Brown, nicknamed “Dolly” because she was the youngest girl, had her sole child, my mom at the age of forty.  So when I knew her, she was already in her sixties and though she was very loving and very funny, I never remembered her cooking much.  Most meals spent with Grandpa and Grandma Brown seemed to be at Stouffer’s, the Red Bull Inn, or the Elk’s Club.  I had heard that prior to them having a child, they ran Brown’s Tavern, which was outside of South Park, southwest of Pittsburgh.  

12308164_10206125261474120_438762012075308279_o dolly and betsy at browns tavern.jpg

They had some horses that my grandfather used to race, “Trotters”, harness racing, the ones with the little low buggy behind it.  I am sure he did not win often and only raced for sport because he was no small man.   My grandmother didn’t want to “raise her daughter in a bar”, so as I have said before, they sold the tavern, bought a house in the most rural of suburbs then, MacMurray, and my grandfather joined the teamsters and really started working.  That being, earning his wage in construction as a crane operator and later, a union rep, sitting in the on-site trailer til his seventies.  

mghottelarccbrowntrotter 001 (2).jpg

A week ago, I told my mom that I was going to use her recipe for this blog and she said, “Oh, that wasn’t my recipe, that was Grandma Dolly’s when they had the tavern. She used to cook all the food with one other woman, Rose, they cooked chicken, potatoes, vegetables, biscuits, and pumpkin and apple pie.”  I did remember that my grandmother told me she had said when she left the tavern, she was never going to cook another pie again.  

And she never did.  

mghottelarcbrowns 001 (2).jpg

Dolly Brown’s Pumpkin Pie

1 ½ cup sugar  
1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin
1 tsp. salt  
29 oz. lowfat, 2 % milk (or coconut, soy or almond milk)
3 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice     
3 T. cornstarch
6 large eggs or egg substitute

Pie Crust:
3 c. unbleached flour  
6-9 T. ice water
1 ½ tsp. salt  
1 c. trans fat free vegetable shortening

Mix sugar, salt and spices in small bowl.  Beat eggs in large bowl and add pumpkin and ingredients of small bowl.  Fill pumpkin can almost full with milk, add cornstarch and stir.  Add milk mixture to large bowl and mix.  Pour into unbaked pie crust and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 40-50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool for two hours and top with whipped cream.

Pie Crust:

Combine flour and salt in large bowl, cut in shortening until mixture is crumbly.  Fill a glass with ice water and sprinkle on misture 6-9 T. of the cold water until mixture just holds together.  Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface and line pie plates with the pastry.  Crimp edges as you like.  This makes a lot of crust with a little left over to roll up with cinnamon and sugar for a little tart to bake in the oven with the pies and that way you have something to eat before the pies are done.

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  1. that was the most interesting pumpkin pie recipe story I have ever read!

    1. well i can't publish any of my alcohol stories....

  2. Great story to go with the recipe.

  3. Thank you Matthew, hope you had a happy thanksgiving. Have never made Parker house rolls because of the whole yeast process so usually buy or ask someone to bring rolls, but my 21 year old daughter prepped and cooked the turkey this year and her teenage brothers set the table.

  4. Loved the story and going by the ingredients/ pic the pie must be great too :-)

    1. thank you meghana! it's a little lighter than the typical pumpkin pie, this year i also tried one for my daughter with unsweetened coconut beverage from trader joe's and it tasted almost the same as the dairy version.


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