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7 October 2016 ·

Blending traditions – pumpkin pie for AFL grand final

Part of being a migrant is developing your own rituals, blended from your country of origin and your new home. That holds true even for privileged migrants like me – privileged in the sense of an easy transition between two similar countries speaking the same language.

So last weekend, a long weekend in Victoria to celebrate the AFL grand final, which happens to be the weekend before Canadian Thanksgiving, my family celebrated our own version. The only rule everyone insisted on was that there had to be pumpkin pie. And of course I used the recipe my mother wrote out for me in the handmade recipe book she gave me when I got married.

The picture I posted on Facebook got so much reaction from my Australian friends that I agreed to post the recipe. I think it was originally adapted from Better Homes & Gardens.
My mother’s Pumpkin Pie
1 shortcrust pie shell – 9” or 22 cm
1 ½ c cooked smoothly mashed pumpkin
¾ c sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 ¾ c milk
Combine pumpkin, sugar & spices. Add eggs & milk and mix thoroughly. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 5 minutes  in hot oven – 400’ F or 200 ‘ C, 180’ for fan forced
Lower heat to 325’F or 165 C for 50 minutes.
Pie is done when knife inserted at centre comes out clean.
Serve warm or room temperature.


  1. Jennifer Yes! I grew up in Melbourne but my parents were from China and Scotland. We had few blood relatives in Australia but my parents had special connections with a few people who therefore became our extended family. Christmas dinner was at the home of “Uncle” Eddie and “Auntie” Judith - the Chinese practice is for children to call all adults Auntie or Uncle, and I remember when it dawned on me that most of our Aunties and Uncles were just friends of my parents. Now I understand that some of them were as close as any family could have been, and I’m very grateful that my parents nurtured those relationships. The meal always included steamed rice, several Chinese dishes and stir fried home grown Chinese vegetables. Auntie Judith made the best lemon cordial ever. I’ve never found out why, but the other Christmas dinner staple was her beautiful apple pie. These are the things that meant Christmas for my siblings and me.
    April 19, 2020 at 4:06 pm · Reply
    • Wendy Orr What a beautiful blend of traditions! So important - I love the Chinese practice of calling adults Auntie or Uncle, and also wish that as a society we encouraged children having extra grandparents and uncles etc, especially when there aren't many blood relatives around. My sister and I always tried to find 'grandparents' when we moved - in fact, I was just tidying up a treasure drawer and found a letter from the beautiful woman who'd been our landlord in France when I was 5, written not long before she died a few years ago, saying that she still thought of me as her granddaughter. Hooray for all of us making new traditions.
      April 20, 2020 at 12:35 pm · Reply
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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio