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Austin Anderton rolls out dough

It’s pie making time at Central! 

Shortly after Halloween, members of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) begin bringing their pumpkins to church—not for a blessing but as a blessing. 

Rather than going to waste, the pumpkins used by church members to decorate porches, yards and table centerpieces for Halloween and fall harvest gatherings are donated to the church for pies. 

Central member Nancy Anderton collects the pumpkins in the church kitchen and begins the huge job of preparing the pumpkins to become pies for the Austin Street Shelter and Union Gospel Mission. 

Approximately 30 pumpkins were washed, halved and the seeds removed.  Using the large steam pans found in the church’s commercial kitchen as a water bath, Anderton roasts the pumpkin in the oven at 350° until the meat is tender and can be easily removed from the shell.  

At home you can create a water bath (bain marie) by assembling two pans, one smaller than the other and filling the bottom with some water. 

The roasted meat is then pureed in a Vitamix Blender, but again at home you can use a food processor. The pureed pulp is frozen in 2 ½ gallon Rubbermaid containers until pie making day. 

Anderton is a self-taught cook, but very knowledgeable and skilled in the kitchen.  She often helps prepare large meals for church fellowship like the recent Thanksgiving Dinner celebrated at Central. 

She has always loved making pumpkin pies and credits her Aunt Maryann with great pie making tips. 

“Aunt Maryann suggested using one additional egg beyond the number the recipe calls for to help the custard set-up well,” Anderton said.  “And, you won’t believe the difference freshly ground nutmeg makes in the taste of the pie.” 

Anderton perfected her pumpkin pie recipe and she began the tradition of making the pies for the shelters years ago. 

Daughter Austin started helping Mom make pies in Central’s kitchen when she was in the third grade.  Austin will be a freshman at Texas Women’s University in Denton this fall. 

During the nine years of pie making at Central somewhere between 800 and 1000 pumpkin pies have been delivered by Anderton and Central member Buzz Dicken to the Dallas shelters during the holidays. 

The entire church smelled of pumpkin and spice on Wednesday when the pies were baking.  Finished and boxed, they are delivered on Christmas Eve to help some of Dallas’ less fortunate enjoy the homemade goodness of pumpkin pie. 

Anderton’s recipe follows.  Merry Christmas! 

Pumpkin Pies (yields 2 pies) 

2 prepared pie shells 

4 cups pumpkin puree

1 can sweetened condensed milk

5 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. cloves

2 ½  heaping tsps. cinnamon

¾ cup white sugar

¾ cup brown sugar 

Pre-heat oven to 400° 

Put all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.  Pour into the unbaked pie shells.  Bake in oven for 45 – 60 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. 

If crust starts to brown too much, cover edges with foil or pie shield. 

Using additional dough, Anderton cuts out leaf and acorns to trim pie.

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