Nana’s gramma pie

What’s a gramma pie, she asks?

Heaven, I say.  Heaven on a stick.



But what is it?


Yes.  I’ve never heard of it.

Well, you’re just showing your age, or should I say, your youth.  But I believe gramma is a type of pumpkin, it’s bright orange.  And my grandmother used to make pies for us all when we got together. It’s a really big pumpkin, so you get lots of servings out of it. Was probably popular during the depression and during the war because it was cheap, and could grow easily in backyard gardens.

So it’s a pumpkin pie.

No.  No. Not at all. Pumpkin pie is American.  This is a gramma pie.  True blue Aussie pie.



I don’t know my cousins very well, they’re all male, and a good 15 years older than me, and for the most part, we lived very separate childhoods, and now we’re all living very different lives.  But when we get together at funerals these days, there is one topic of conversation that unites us:  Nana’s gramma pie.

I was probably seven or eight before I understood that it wasn’t “Granma’s” pie, ie, pie that a grandmother makes, but “gramma”, and that IT is the pie filling.  (I was glad when this was cleared up because our grandmother was always referred to as Nana – you can see why I was confused.)

Nana’s gramma pie is, however, legendary – at least in our family – probably because we didn’t get it anywhere else, just at Nana’s. And she always made it when we all got together. So it was very special, because we didn’t get together often.

Pumpkin pie is not so common in Australia, even today, although it is becoming more popular.  And we do love our pumpkin soup and pumpkin as a vegie in our baked dinners; and who can go past a pumpkin scone?

I can remember living in Leeds in the UK in 1991 and going searching for pumpkin when we wanted to have a baked dinner, an unusual occurrence in itself, as there was too much to see and do to be at home cooking.

Leeds Corn Exchange markets were great, and had a wonderful array of fruit and vegies that we didn’t get at home – mainly different varieties especially of potatoes and apples and pears.  But no pumpkin in the outside stalls.  But inside the market there was a West Indian stall, with a whole range of goods, including pumpkin.  And the women there welcomed me every couple of weeks when I stopped by to buy a piece of pumpkin from them. Being different can have its advantages.

Last weekend in Collector, in the southern highlands of NSW, they held the Collector Pumpkin Festival; you can read all about it in this great blog, In the Taratory, and here is a news report.

But there’s no mention of gramma though.

I miss my Nana’s gramma pie. The filling was sweet, and fragrant, and smooth. And now she’s gone, who will make it?


Here’s a great gramma pie recipe, via 702ABC.  Of course, I am going to try it out, once I get myself some gramma.  Let me know if you have a go too!

You can try to buy gramma seeds – I am going to give it a go from one of these suppliers:

Grammar pic


5 thoughts on “Nana’s gramma pie

  1. ruth says:

    I too often think of my mum’s grammar pie. Delicious to say the least. Just thinking about it I can smell and taste it. Once tasted never forgotten. I have been wanting to make it but did not know how. Just found recipes on the internet. I just hope I am meke it as good as my mum.

  2. Beverley Hill says:

    Yes, me too. Brought up in Northern NSW and my mother and grandmother made the best gramma pie ever. Mum used to cover it with lovely shortcrust pastry. The recipe was very basic. Just peel and cook the gramma as you would a pumpkin. Mash, allow to cool then add sugar and lemon juice.(amounts just guessed!) Being brought up in dairy district we swamped the pie in fresh cream…..Yum….All part of my youth……fondly remembered……….Bev

    • Yes, we are not close to our cousins, they are quite a bit older. But when we do get together, we always end up talking about gramma pie, and mulberry pie too,

  3. Cheryl Williams says:

    I am in my seventies and still cook my Grandmothers Gramma pie, whenever I can get Gramma. The old trombone gramma, the best in my view, seems to have been lost. The recipe is very simple boil and mash the gramma and add sugar, essence of lemon and tartaric acid to taste. I do it by trial and error until I get that old familiar flavour. The lemon and acid is the tricky bit you have to get it right quickly or your taste buds get confused

  4. Andrew McCowan ( McCowan's rare breeds ) says:

    Brought up in the Northern Rivers too, and gramma was often cooked, but rarely made it to pie. We would all hoe into it with whipped cream or if spoilt , vanilla ice cream. as quickly as it cooked, everyone ‘sampled’ it much to the dismay of Nan or Mum – whoever was cooking.
    Now as an adult and father myself, we grow grammas and from April onwards, we can’t seem to grow enough to supply family , friends and the local shops with them as they mature enough to harvest. My beautiful bride can;t stand pumpkin unless it’s in soup – so less competition at home! I cook it myself and it’s the only pumpkin the kids will readily ask for.
    Make sure you drain the mix well before serving or putting in a pie or it will be mushy.
    Happy baking !

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