August 19, 2019
Essay

Still the one Time-honored pie filling has its moment in the sun on Thanksgiving

The ingredients in a can of One-Pie are simple: Prepared pumpkin or squash, depending on which variety you choose.

But the choice ends there, at least in my family.

I’m a squash lover. My sister swears by pumpkin. But there’s no quibbling about what brand to buy at Thanksgiving in the Andresen household. It’s One-Pie or nothing. Pre-spiced puree? Get real.

“I didn’t know there was any other,” my mother, Ellen Andresen, said, laughing. “No, really. I’ve always used that. Nan always used that. It’s a local, native brand.”

Every Thanksgiving eve, Mom makes the crusts and Dad bakes the pies – one of each, so no one gets upset. My mother swears that the squash and pumpkin are, in fact, the same thing, but I have my doubts.

“They used to be,” she said. “If you read the ingredients, it said hubbard squash on both the squash and the pumpkin, or at least the one time I checked it was.”

According to today’s label,

that’s not true. Either way, the ingredients are subtly different, so we’re talking about two distinct pies here, regardless of whether the pumpkin is really squash or vice versa.

Though the ingredients may be up for debate, the front of the label has never changed, at least during my lifetime. So it’s unclear whether we’re eating pumpkin from 2003 or 1973, which is probably why my parents never stock up on One-Pie. It’s a one-occasion product, bought once a year, which makes exactly enough filling for one pie. Hence the name.

One-Pie got its start at Medomak Canning Co. in Waldoboro, and is now distributed by One Pie Canning Co. in West Paris, though the pumpkin and squash are no longer grown or canned in Maine.

“Actually, it was first canned by the pilgrims,” my father, Ed, said, deadpan. His secret ingredient? “I put a little ‘Mayflour’ in it.”

The company also sells other products, such as Stewart’s beans, applesauce and apple juice, Bird’s frozen turnips and squash, and other flavors of pie filling, so the folks at One-Pie have things to keep them occupied the other 11 months of the year, too.

In November, there are only two flavors of pie on our minds, but you can be sure they’re One-Pie.

“It was the pie we grew up with,” Dad said.

New England Squash Pie

1 can One-Pie Squash

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs, beaten

11/2 cups milk or 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

Mix sugar, salt and spices. Blend well into squash. Beat 2 eggs separately, add milk, stir well and blend into squash mixture. Pour into 9-inch pie plate lined with crust. Preheat oven. Bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees F., then 45 minutes at 375 degrees F.

New England Pumpkin Pie

1 can One-Pie Pumpkin

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoon butter, melted

1 1/2 cups milk or 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 cup sugar

1/8 cup molasses

2 eggs, beaten

Sift sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together. Mix this with contents of One-Pie pumpkin. Add beaten eggs, melted butter, molasses and milk. Add a dash of lemon juice, if desired. Line a 9-inch pie plate with crust. Pour in contents. Preheat oven and bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. and continue to bake for 50 minutes.


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