October 9, 2019

World War II Pumpkin Pie Recipe

WW2 Recipes Pumpkin Pie

I'm still a beginning pie baker and my grandma had no tips. She never learned to make crust and I've never been very good at it either. The 1940s baker could be economical and make pie crust from scratch but packaged pie crust mix was available. We may or may not have cheated.

This recipe is from Recipes for Good Eating (1944). The booklet suggested pre-making bulk crust mix and using as needed, as their recipe called for Crisco instead of butter and would not spoil in a container in the cupboard. The texture is less firm than modern pie but still has a good flavor.

Nearly 20 million Americans grew Victory Gardens to help with food shortages. The Us Department of Agriculture estimates that citizen growers  grew over 40% of the vegetables grown in the US at the time. I was going to make a victory garden on the pie but it ended up being a big pumpkin patch, which is okay because pumpkins are easy to grow and feed a lot of people.  The Victory Garden Handbook (1944) by the Pennsylvania State Council of Defense recommended them as a good source of Vitamin A, Thiamin, Calcium, Vitamin B and Iron. I recommend them because they are delicious.

WW2 Recipes Pumpkin Pie
Rosskam, Louise, photographer. Washington, D.C. Victory gardening in the Northwest section. District of Columbia United States Washington D.C. Washington D.C, 1943. May. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2017853905/.

World War II Pumpkin Pie Recipe


- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Ginger
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Cloves
- 1 1/2 Cups Pumpkin Puree(canned or homemade)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 1/2 Cups Hot Milk
- Pie Crust


Preheat your oven to 425°F.  Line your 9" pie pan with a crust.

In a mixing bowl, mix sugar, spices salt, pumpkin.

Beat the eggs and add them to the mix. Then stir in the hot milk.

Pour the mixture into your pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes

Reduce heat to 350 °F.  and bake for 30 minutes or until done in the middle. Let cool in the open oven for 15 minutes, then on a counter for 4 hours. Drizzle with chopped nuts and honey before serving.

I baked the crust decorations on parchment paper in a separate pans. Modern custards that use heavy cream can hold decorations during baking but I didn't want to risk it here as the batter was very thin before baking.

WW2 Recipes Pumpkin Pie

Wee used a 0 calorie sweetener for a second pie. Here are the nutrition facts if you want to do that.

WW2 Recipes Pumpkin Pie
If you make this pie, I would love to see photos!


  1. Pie was my first entry into baking, and while I learned initially from my grandma, SHE learned from my grandpa who had been in the army kitchens! Grandpa used lard, grandma used crisco, I use whatever solid fat I have in the house. The crisco website is pretty solid, but I always think of it as roughly 4:2:1 flour:fat:water. The water is the flexible one, as you mostly go by feel for what works. 2c flour will give you enough for a double crust.

    Hate cutting in your fat? Theres a handy trick! Grate frozen butter. You mix it with a fork, and it stays separate and works beautifully.

    Another tip I gleaned? Since you want dough that is pliable, but you dont actually want water in there, use vodka for some of it! And if you store vodka in the freezer, it helps to keep everything cold and your fat unmelted.

    Hate how messy rolling out is? You can roll between two sheets of saran wrap! Wasteful, but such a snap to clean up that its sometimes worth the mental ease.

    And dont forget your pie crust cookies! Any extra bits of pie crust after forming your pie can be cut into bits and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Mysteriously, my husband apparently doesnt know that they get made and so he doesnt know he needs to be in the kitchen with open hands 10 mins after everything goes in the oven... Im just forced to eat the cookies myself!

    All this to say: i love pumpkin pie and this looks like a fun one! I also love your cute little decorations. I hope it tasted as delicious as it looks!

    1. These are all really good tips! Thank you so much for sharing. I'm going to try these next time!

  2. That is such a cute pie! The pumpkin patch is adorable, and the airplane makes me swoon... "Keep 'em Flying!" :-) Thanks for the recipe. I will try it for our Thanksgiving.


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