Friday, November 5, 2010

Creamy Pumpkin Pie & Gingersnap Crust & A Family Poem

My maternal great grandparents would recite a poem every time they got together to remind them the importance of family and the love they felt for each other.
Grandpa & Grandma Christensen

"We Are All Here" by Charles Sprague has been recited by at least five generation and is being taught to the sixth generation. 

We are all here,
Father, mother,
Sister, brother, 
All who hold each other dear. 
Each chair is filled; we 're all at home! 
To-night let no cold stranger come. 
It is not often thus around Our old familiar hearth we 're found. 
Bless, then, the meeting and the spot; 
For once be every care forgot; 
Let gentle peace assert her power, 
And kind affection rule the hour.
We 're all all here. 

Yet I learned at the death my Gramma Rae, this was only a stanza of the poem. 
The entire poem (sited at the end of this post) has three more stanzas. These stanzas talk of death and eventual reunion of family in the resurrection. Each time we recited as a family the first stanza, I was happy to be apart of the Christensen family heritage and the teachings that came from those determined, hard-working great-Grandparents. But I felt that about all my family and the different teachings each familial line brought to making me who I was.
There is a line about the stranger coming. The stranger always bothered my sweet Dad because at one time he was the stranger entering in the family. But if you read at the end of the poem, the stranger is death not mortal living guests. We remember those that have died in our holiday events. They always had their "part" to play, and they are missed. I have the hope and belief that I will be with them again. We will all - all be here!
A Family Portrait

Nothing is more traditional than pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. I've spiced this recipe up a little a different crust and a sweeter squash (butternut).

Creamy Pumpkin Pie

1 16 oz. can pumpkin
1 14 oz. can Eagle brand milk
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix well and turn into 9" unbaked shell. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and
bake 35-40 minutes or until knife comes out clean. Cool thoroughly before cutting.

Notes: I substituted coffee creamer for the milk for 1 3/4 cup cream. It was a mixture of hazelnut and French vanilla. I also substituted the butternut squash for the pumpkin. It makes a sweeter pie.

Gingersnap Pie Crust

1 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon dry ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon ice cold water

Mix dry ingredients together. Cut butter into 1/2 inch sections. Cut into dry ingredients until it resembles cornmeal.

Mix together molasses and water. Add water/molasses to mixture in sprinkles at a time until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Roll out and place in pie tin and refrigerate for an hour.
Bake according to pie recipe.

Full Poem 
Charles Sprague, author

We are all here,
Father, mother,
Sister, brother, 
All who hold each other dear. 
Each chair is filled; we 're all at home!
To-night let no cold stranger come.
It is not often thus around Our old familiar hearth we 're found.
Bless, then, the meeting and the spot;
For once be every care forgot;
Let gentle peace assert her power,
And kind affection rule the hour.
We 're all all here. 
We 're not all here! Some are away, —the dead ones dear, Who thronged with us this ancient hearth, And gave the hour to guileless mirth. Fate, with a stem, relentless hand, Looked in, and thinned our little band; Some like a night-flash passed away, And some sank lingering day by day; The quiet graveyard,— some lie there,— And cruel ocean• has his share.
We 're not all here. 

We are all here! Even they, —the dead,—though dead, so
dear, — Fond memory, to her duty true, Brings back their faded forms to view.
How life-like, through the mist of years,
Each well-remembered face appears!
We see them, as in times long past;
From each to each kind looks are cast;
We hear their words, their smiles behold;
They 're round us, as they were of old.
We are all here.

We are all here,
Father, mother,
Sister, brother,
You that I love with love so dear.
This may not long of us be said;
Soon must we join the gathered dead,
And by the hearth we now sit round
Some other circle will be found.
O, then, that wisdom may we know,
Which yields a life of peace below;
So, in the world to follow this,
May each repeat in words of bliss,
We 're allall here!


Jocelyn Christensen said...

I really like this neat that it was recited at each family gathering!

Love you!

Sue said...

What a beautiful post, and I love your tradition of reciting the first verse of this poem.

I also love the idea of gingersnap pie crust! I will be trying it, for sure, this year.


Kendra said...

Oh I am a pie lover! It is the best! So I am definitely gong to follow your blog!!

Casey and Brittny said...


What a sweet set of grandparents! It makes me miss mine and hope that I can be that way as I grow older with my husband.

By the way - no need to enter me into any drawing for your prizes; I commented because I wanted to with no strings attached. If I don't comment every day, I'm still reading your blog. I like to comment when moved to do so, which means I will probably be sporadic in my comments but the impetus for commenting would have been the sweetness of your posts (and pies!).


Jilli said...

I am amazed how each day you capture the essence of the deep roots of our family. Thank you for documenting this.

gremhog said...

if you really are new to blogging as Jocelyn said, then you are not new to writing..excellent entry. Thank you. And I love recipes, too!

Patty Ann said...

The pie looks different, and delicious. Your article was wonderful. Thanks for posting and keep it up.

HR Guy said...

I am gonna try to make the pumpkin pie for my families Thanksgiving. Lets hope it turns out good. Looking forward to seeing everyone in about a week.

Bret said...

My name is Bret Christensen, son of Morris Mauss Christensen (he grew up in Murray, Utah). Ever since I can remember, my family recited this poem during our Family Night activities every Monday night. In fact, all of my relatives recite this poem at each reunion.

Wendy said...

Bret....If you ever check back...your Dad and my Great-Grandpa were brothers.