Generations of Pumpkin Chiffon Pie ~ contributed by Ali Lillie

Ali’s grandparents, parents, siblings, aunt, uncle and cousins 1958

Traditions abound in my family and every Thanksgiving of my life carries with it the memories of sitting around the table with a large and boisterous group. Babies have grown to adults, elders have passed on and we cling to tradition.

Thanksgivings of my childhood were spent a mere quarter mile down the road at my aunt and uncle’s home. I can still recall the distinctive smell in the old mud room…a mix of antique cars, and old wood combined with the delicious aroma of roast turkey and stuffing. Inside, the living and dining rooms were set with one long table where greater than twenty of us would celebrate together. Mini cornucopia filled with trail mix (and the coveted chocolate candy) marked our places at the table. Kids ate black olives from their fingertips until some wise adult would intervene. After dinner the large table would be cleared and card tables would be set up for game time. Hearts, Pinochle and Checkers were popular choices of the time.

Now held at my home, our larger, more boisterous crowd carries on many family traditions. We all sit at one table, where the same cornucopia claim a home. Kids eat black olives off their fingertips, though now many adults join in! Each year I search for the perfect game to introduce and game time creates some of my favorite memories of the day…and year.  Some new traditions have begun, with the addition of a book in which we write quotes, stories, drawings and memories of the day. This book is added to each year and it’s a treasure!

This year I became a grandmother and I find myself thinking frequently of my own grandparents and parents. What I wouldn’t do to share another meal with them…to introduce them to my grandson, and him to them.  I’d thank them for working to sustain our traditions…it does take work, commitment and love. I see the connection of traditions as a gift from the generations and I’m so happy to be able to share that gift, and their lives with little Finn.

The recipe has been part of my Thanksgiving meal for as long as I can remember.  This year, perhaps, I am ever more aware of the connection that family recipes bring. At some point someone I love broke eggs, mixed spices, and anticipated sharing the day and meal with their family.

Happy holidays and happy traditions to you, friends!


Pumpkin Chiffon Pie – “Grandma” Fanny Alice Whitcomb Estey



¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar (firmly packed)

1 Envelope Unflavored Gelatin

½ teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

½ teaspoon Nutmeg

½ teaspoon Ginger

¾ Cup Milk

3 Egg Yolks

1 ¼ Cup Pumpkin

3 Egg Whites

1/3 Cup Granulated Sugar



🍎In a saucepan mix brown sugar, gelatin, salt, and spices.

🍎In a bowl measure milk and add egg yolks, beat slightly.

🍎Stir milk mixture in with sugar and spice mixture, stirring over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil

🍎Remove from heat and stir in pumpkin.

🍎Chill until mixture mounds, but isn’t too stiff.

🍎Beat egg whites until very frothy and they start to form peaks.

🍎Gradually pour in sugar, beating constantly until stiff peaks form.

🍎Fold gently into pumpkin mixture and pour into a pre-baked pie shell.

🍎Chill until firm, top with whipped cream.

*I love to make this recipe with farm fresh eggs and fresh spices from the co-op!

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