Pie to Die For

Winter is the time to relish a warm pie of some kind for dessert. Peach, apple, blueberry – or gramma! Gramma pie is an old-fashioned recipe that some people may never have heard of. Like many of the old-style recipes, it has been superseded by newer trends in cooking. However, if you’ve never tasted gramma pie you are in for a treat.

There are different types of gramma available in most supermarkets and restaurant. Often you’ll see the big round one that looks something like a pumpkin only it is lighter in colour and sometimes has paler splotches of colour on the skin.  You can easily make a gramma pie out of this, but if you can get the trombone gramma it is even better. This gramma is shaped after its namesake, with a long neck that sometimes curls around a bit. On smaller grammas, the neck remains straight.

If you’ve ever tried to cut a whole pumpkin, you might think cutting up a gramma would be hard work. It’s not; the gramma skin and flesh is very soft compared to pumpkin. You can even cut it with a short vegetable knife, though a long one is fine too. If you buy a whole gramma, cut off the neck and start with that. It will usually be enough for one pie, because there are no seeds in the neck; it is all solid flesh.

That said, cutting up the whole thing and cooking it all will save you trying to fit it into the refrigerator.  Cooked gramma will keep for a few months in the freezer.  This pie is made with gramma on the bottom of the tin and a cake topping over it. It is simple to make, even though there are two parts to it.

Gramma Pie

Ingredients for the Gramma

  • Half a gramma, chopped, peeled and cooked in water with a little salt – or not, if you are on a salt-free diet.
  • Half a cup of sugar
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Half a teaspoon of Allspice

The topping

Your favourite plain cake recipe halved, or any cake recipe with one or two eggs and a cup to a cup and a half of flour.


Cook the gramma until soft, strain and add other ingredients then mash it all well until it is smooth. Pour it into your chosen cake pan until it is about a third to half full. Add the cake mixture while the gramma is still hot, but don’t use too much. You don’t want it to spill over when it rises. One centimetre thick is plenty for the topping. Less is also fine. If you have some left over make patty cakes out of it. Cook in a moderate oven for half an hour or so until the top is golden. Serve warm with whipped cream, ice-cream or custard