Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America

Father likes mincemeat pie the best.  It takes a long time to make.  I helped to do that.  I stoned the raisins.  First you must chop the boiled meat and suet  very, very fine.  Then the apples are peeled.  They have to be chopped very fine also. Mother ground the spices and made sure I had stoned the raisins (removed the
seeds) properly.  I stood on a stool with my apron on so I could reach the table.  It made me taller.  Mother had to strain the raisins just one more time after I was done.  This will be the best mincemeat pie Father has EVER had.  I think Mother will put some brandy in.  I don’t really like this kind of pie.

I said some of my alphabet from the Primer while I was working. 

A was an Angler, and fished with a hook. B was a Blockhead, and ne’er learn’d his book.  C the Cat doth play and after slay.*

Everyone was so busy that Josh and Brent came to sing with me.  Their alphabet song was different than mine.  I had never heard it before.  We sang anyway.  Mother told me I had done very well with my song.  I don’t think she can hear Josh and Brent.  It is easy to stay busy today.  It is warm in the kitchen even though the wind is blowing outside.  I can see the clouds run in the sky and the leaves dance to the ground. Part of the window has water running down on the inside.

My favorite pie is pumpkin pie:

Take the pumpkin and peel the rind off,then stew it till it is quite soft, and put thereto one pint of pumpkin, one pint of milk, one glass of malaga wine, one glass of rose water, if you like it, seven eggs, half a pound of fresh butter, one small nutmeg and sugar and salt to your taste*.  This is not as hard to make as the mincemeat pie.

*American Children Through Their Books:  1700-1835
*The Frugal House Wife – Susannah Carter

by Mary Beekman

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Dear Mary,

As you know, I have been making this historic BEEKMAN 1802 Pumpkin Pie since 2 years ago for Thanksgiving, WITH YOUR mom’s recipe! This pie is absolutely D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!

The flavor infused by the rose water and the Malaga wine, is something out of this world!

Now I know how you and your family, and now your friends Josh and Brent, enjoy such a great Pumpkin Pie during this season!

Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!
I hope that everyone, with good taste, make this great Pumpkin Pie with your mom’s recipe!

Happy Thanksgiving (again),


What is Marys recipe for mincemeat pie? What kind of boiled meat did Mary’s Mother use?


Oh Mary

I too adore mincemeat pie 🙂 I have just gotten a fine plum pudding (made by an english lady with proper suet ). All I need do now is make some brandy sauce…



I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving yesterday at the Mansion and also lots of fun cooking with your imaginary friends Josh and Brent!

As I promised you Mary, I am coming back to tell you that your favorite Pumpkin Pie is THE BEST PUMPKIN PIE ever! I made three pies for yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner. One Apple Pie, a Pumpkin Pie following your Mother's recipe, and a Chocolate Pecan Pie. I have to tell you that your favorite Pumpkin Pie was a tremendous success…… everybody loved it, including me BIG TIME, and was voted the Best Pumpkin Pie ever!!!!

I have to tell you that I followed your Mother's recipe to the "t", including the rose water she recommends. I also made the pie crust from scratch. And WOW, What a Pumpkin Pie! I can't believe such an old recipe is still alive to make the Best Pumpkin Pie you have ever eaten! SIMPLY THE BEST!

I hope your imaginary friends also enjoy your favorite Pumpkin Pie very often. I am sure Josh can't get enough of it everytime there is this Pumpkin Pie at the Beekman Mansion.

Thanks very much for sharing your favorite Pumkin Pie recipe. You made me, my family and friends EXTREMELY HAPPY yesterday.

Happy Thanksgiving for you, your family and your imaginary friends, Josh and Brent, for hundreds of years to come……

Thank you Mary,



Sabino, Mother said perhaps you should begin with 4 oz. of wine

and add more if the mixture is too thick. Our chickens

sometimes give us small eggs and sometime large eggs so

it is difficult to be exact. Mother determines how a mixture

"feels" against her spoon and then decides if she should add

more liquid. She told older sister that it is easier to add

more than to take away.


Phyllis, I would have loved to share a piece of your pie

with you. Sometimes, I help make meringue and you are

correct, my arm gets very weary and mother or older sister

has to finish. The women who help us in the kitchen use

a branch from our peach tree for flavor.


Emily, Yes, on the INSIDE. I made my letter "M" for Mary

with my finger tip through the water and it left

a mark. I touched the tip of my tongue to my finger tip

and it did not taste sweet like our water. Pies in our house

do not last very long. There are many of us.


Dear Mary,

I hope you are having a great time getting ready for the Holidays at home.

By today standards, how much do you think "a glass of Malaga wine" I would need to make the pumpkin pie you like so much? Would it be like 4oz. or 8oz? or something different than that?

Could you please give me a hint? I will appreciate it very much. And I promise I will come back to tell you how good the pie was……

Love you,



Hi Mary! Speaking of pies, I just ate a huge slice of lemon meringue pie that had meringue about 6 inches tall. I think you make meringue with egg whites that you have to beat for about 3 years! Then you wonder what is wrong with your arm, as it is so tired! I am joking! It sure was good, but would now like blueberry pie to wash it down. I hope you have lots of leaves to kick! Love, Phyllis

Emily Vaill Pfaff

dear Mary, Water running on the INSIDE of the window?? Have Josh and Brent put in an indoor waterfall? Or does someone need to help them? The pumpkin sounds wonderful. I have made fresh pumpkin pies before. My church sold them for Halloween, and they lasted til Thanksgiving. I've never tried mincemeat, but shall some day.


Kathy, your grandmother's pie would have been

pleasing to Father, I am certain. What a wonderful

fall gift she gave to you. She was able to turn back

time for you all.

Kathy Woodbeck

mmmmmmhmmmmmmmmm mincemeat pie is the best. My grandmother used to can her mincemeat to use the following season so it had time to "set", because of this we got to enjoy her mincemeat for a few years after her Passing "RIP"