Abigail Adams Pumpkin Pie Recipe

 Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams

I have orchestrated in my head how to find a nice balance between refined sugar and molasses mix. Abigail used only molasses because refined sugar was so expensive then. That pie had a tart bite and was no where near as sweet. I didn’t want to loose that bite, but wanted it a tad sweeter. I think this is the ticket to that balance.
— Chef Robin White

Chef's Notes:

Fresh pumpkin makes the WORLD of difference.

Ground cinnamon sticks ground fresh with a mortar and pestle – it gives the pie a nice added flavor!

Being from Massachusetts and a descendant of John White, who came over on the Mayflower to avoid religious persecution in England, I am very nostalgic around Thanksgiving. I wonder what really happened in those early days of escape to a new world but what I  do know is this.    After a late fall start, the Mayflower set sail from England and landed at Plymouth Rock, in Plymouth Massachusetts just before Christmas on December 21, 1620. There is an actual holiday to celebrate and commemorate this great day called Forefathers Day, which is largely celebrated in New England but only first celebrated in 1769, a long time after the landing of the Mayflower. Such a magnanimous event needed celebrating and I am one Pilgrim who is so glad that they took their lives in their hands to find freedom.

Although Forefather’s Day is still very much of a New England holiday, the actual harvest feast and celebration that became a regular event as early as the late 1660′s,  has been merged into today’s Thanksgiving, the date of which has been changed, debated and proclaimed by so many different Presidents over the years.  

George Washington was the first to officially mark a date, November 26th, 1789 as a public day to give thanks. Over the years it has had many other dates but has finally found its current home on the fourth Thursday of November which was proclaimed by a joint resolution by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress in 1941. 

Thanksgiving has become one of the most important days of the year where all Americans congregate with friends and family to pay homage to the Pilgrims, who had the courage and resolve to begin the first European settlement in the United States and the native American Indians, without whom they would never have survived.


  • 1 pastry crust, your choice, your favorite one (or go here for my favorite pie crust recipe)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree (see below)
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon dark molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • pinch salt

Fresh Pumpkin Puree

1. Split a medium pumpkin crosswise, remove and discard seeds and fibers.
2. Place pumpkin, cut side down, on lightly greased baking sheet or Silpat.  Bake at 325°F until tender, about 1 hour.
3. Scrape pulp away from skin, discard skin.
4. Place pulp in blender or food processor fitted with metal blade, process in batches, until smooth.


1. Preheat oven to 350 ° F.
2. Heat milk in saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat.
3. Beat eggs lightly in large bowl until frothy. Add scalded milk, stirring constantly.
4. Stir in pumpkin, butter, sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
5. Pour filling into prepared crust, bake until center is firm, about 45 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

Exploring my heritage has hopefully spread some new light on Thanksgiving, which is steeped in family tradition from many walks of life. I am a proud American daughter of one of the many founding groups of people that has made This USA the great country that it is. Never forget your roots, exploring them turns up all kinds of wonderful treasures. I hope every bite of this pie leads you to exploring yours.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, I am thankful for all of you who love what I do. I am blessed beyond words that I get to do it as freely as I do. Cheers !

Posted on March 25, 2014 and filed under Desserts, Holiday, Pies.