Recipe submitted by Madlyn Smith Fortna
The ‘Fortna White’ Pumpkin
Pear-shaped squash have light orange flesh. The flesh has a gentle, slightly sweet taste. It is perfect for making pumpkin pies and other delicious dishes.
This type of pumpkin has different-sized necks and cream-colored skin with light-green stripes. They weigh 5-8 pounds when fully grown.
Lovers of unique heirloom pumpkins can thank the late Wayne Fortna of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for the delicious, productive, and truly beautiful ‘Fortna White’ pumpkin. Seed Savers Exchange is thrilled to introduce the ‘Fortna White’ as a featured From the Collection variety in 2024.
During World War II, Wayne, a teacher, served as a tank commander under General George S. Patton. After the war, he discovered that gardening was good therapy for the PTSD he developed while in the military. Sue Ellen Majer says her father found solace in gardening. It calmed his nerves and reconnected him with nature and the soil.
Noting Wayne’s aptitude for gardening, Carrie Stayman, his aunt, gave him some seeds for the family’s ‘Fortna White’ pumpkin, a cushaw-type squash with mild flesh perfect for baking. For nearly 40 years, Wayne stewarded this family heirloom with great care, ensuring there would always be a white pumpkin pie for the family to enjoy during Thanksgiving dinner.
After her father’s death in 1990, Sue Ellen turned to the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, to save the seeds of the family’s treasured pumpkin.
Seed Savers Exchange received ‘Fortna White’ pumpkin seeds from Landis Valley. After evaluating it through the Collection to Catalog pipeline, SSE decided it was too delicious, too productive, and too beautiful not to distribute through its catalog.
1 egg, slightly beaten
⅔ cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups ‘Fortna White’ or other white pumpkin (cooked and puréed in blender)
Scant ½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon King Golden Syrup or molasses
¼ teaspoon salt
1- 12-ounce can evaporated milk
9-inch unbaked pie shell
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Blend all ingredients except evaporated milk. Whisk in the milk and pour into the pie shell. Sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center of the pie is solid (doesn’t jiggle when shaken).