The Old Automat Pumpkin Pie


Thanks to a suggestion from littleladieswholunch I ordered The Automat, (published in 2002). It’s a terrific history with wonderful glossy photos and several classic recipes and it brings back great memories of the times I went to that famous cafeteria with my Aunt Roz and Uncle Mac and cousin Leslie. 

It was an old institution by the time I knew it back in the 50’s and 60’s. It had its heyday in the 1920s, when rich people ate at the Waldorf and “21” and everyone else (the 99%?) ate at the Automat. And, from what I read, it certainly was popular during the Depression. The food was relatively cheap and also good. And people hung out at the tables for hours, the way people do today at Starbucks.

The other day I posted about the Automat pumpkin pie and wished I had the recipe. 

That’s when I got that wonderful suggestion to buy the book.

So, I haven’t baked this pie yet, but will, and will let everyone know if it is the same pumpkin pie of my memories. But in the meantime, here’s the recipe for Pumpkin Pie from The Automat, by Lorraine B. Diehl and Marianne Hardart (Clarkson, Potter 2002). It calls for an 11-inch pie crust but I am thinking that the amount of filling will actually fit nicely into a standard 9-inch pie crust (but baked a bit longer).

UPDATE NOTE: I baked this in a deep dish 9-inch pie pan. Baked the pie 8 minutes longer. I have used any of the following: half and half cream, evaporated milk and coconut milk. Have left out the butter. All are wonderful. 

Automat Pumpkin Pie

  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin (one 15-ounce can)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14-1/2 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 11-inch prepared pastry crust

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl beat together all the ingredients (except the crust) with a rotary beater or hand whisk until the mixture is smooth. Line an 11-inch pie tin with the pastry. Pour in the filling and bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes one pie