This early American cookbook, compiled by Amelia Simmons, includes some of the first transcribed recipes for pumpkin baked in crusts. Her recipes for "pompkin" read:
No. 1. One quart stewed and strained, 3 pints cream, 9 beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg and ginger, laid into paste No. 7 or 3, and with a dough spur, cross and chequer it, and baked in dishes three quarters of an hour.
No. 2. One quart of milk, 1 pint pompkin, 4 eggs, molasses, allspice and ginger in a crust, bake 1 hour.
Pumpkins themselves have been around for millennia, and they were first cultivated in Central America around 5,500 BC. As Europeans colonized what they referred to as the "New World," they crossed paths with this filling but flavorless crop. Aided by Native tribes, they experimented with cooking methods throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. They realized pumpkin suited their taste buds when sweetened and baked in a crust, giving birth to pumpkin pie.
In New England, colonists relied on pumpkin to survive harsh winters, and its pervasiveness gave it a place at the infamous "Thanksgiving" table at Plimoth Plantation where Natives and Pilgrims shared meals.