Carnation's famous pumpkin pie: The traditional Thanksgiving dessert (1959)

The traditional  pumpkin pie is still the best (1959)

Pumpkin pie remains a seasonal dessert, even though few of us make it with fresh pumpkin any more, and the canned product is available the year around. Somehow we associate it with harvest time, November and Thanksgiving. Somehow it tastes best at this season!

No cook has ever been able to improve upon the taste of pumpkin pie as made in the traditional way. Many have tried. I’ve tasted pumpkin pie with orange or lemon or wine in it, with mincemeat or pecans, with pineapple or applesauce, and somehow my reaction is this: Why don’t we let a perfect pie just be itself?

Even the chiffon and frozen versions aren’t as good as good old pumpkin custard pie, the kind great-grandma, grandma, and ma made, the Thanksgiving dessert that is a favorite and best of all!

The kinds and proportions of spices may vary a little, and one cook may prefer evaporated milk to milk or cream for her pie. Another may make it with brown sugar instead of white, and the amount of pumpkin is variable, too. The trimmings — whipped cream or candied ginger or cheese — don’t matter much. But let pumpkin pie be pumpkin pie, I say!

A helpful trick to avoid spilling the uncooked filling as you carry the pie to the oven is this: Don’t fill the crust full before you put it in the oven. – Mary Meade, Chicago Tribune

Carnation’s famous pumpkin pie recipe

Carnation's famous pumpkin pie: The traditional Thanksgiving dessert (1959)

Carnation's famous pumpkin pie recipe

The sure way to a cream-smooth pumpkin pie...
Servings 1 9" pie


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1-2/3 cups large can undiluted Carnation evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 9-inch single-crust unbaked pie shell


  1. Mix filling ingredients until smooth. 

  2. Pour the filling into unbaked pie shell. 

  3. Bake in hot oven (425 F) for 15 minutes.

  4. Lower temperature to moderate (350 F) and continue baking about 35 minutes or until the custard is firm.

Dark & delicious: How to make old-fashioned pumpkin pie with molasses & brown sugar

Carnation’s famous pumpkin pie recipe card (1950s)

Carnation's famous pumpkin pie recipe card (1950s)

About this story

Source publication: Top article from The Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) November 15, 1959

Filed under: 1950s, Dessert recipes, Food & drink, Vintage advertisements, Vintage Thanksgiving

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