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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Saturday Pie

A Saturday afternoon spent baking with Grandma

 Saturday afternoons would find my grandmother in the kitchen baking pies for Sunday dinner. She would go to the mealbox, grab her dough board, get out the flour, the rolling pin and a bowl she had stored in there. She would reach into the lard can for some lard and in no time flat she would have six or eight ...pie crusts ready for filling. Depending on the number of eggs she had or the type of fruit on hand would determine what kind of pies she would make.

In the spring it was always rhubarb pie, summertime we would have fresh peach or blackberry pie, and in the fall we could depend on apple or pumpkin. Along with fruit pies she always made lemon, chocolate, coconut or butterscotch. In the wintertime she would go to the cellar and we would have pies from fruit she had prepared in the summer.

She always had on hand lemon and coconut pie filling and dessert mix which she bought from the Rawleigh man. He was a traveling salesman who came around about once a month peddling a variety of Rawleigh products. She also bought liniment (both kinds), medicated ointment, vanilla, pie filling, and other products from him.

Along with a half dozen pies she might make a cake or two. She never needed to use a recipe because she had all those stored in her head. Most times we would get chocolate or yellow cake but when we were expecting company, she would make us an old-fashioned stack cake using apple butter as a filling between the six or seven flat cake layers. A lot of versions of stack cake recipes are still used today. Some families declare a stack cake making day and use that day as a family get together day for fellowshipping and fun and carrying on a tradition started by their forefathers.

One of my favorite recipes I dug from an old box of recipes is for an Old Fashioned Chocolate Pie so when you have a hankering for a pie like Grandma made you might want to try it.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pie


1 unbaked pie crust

1 cup sugar

π cup cornstarch

A pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of unsweetened baking cocoa

2 cups whole milk (In this recipe you can use 12 oz can of Carnation evaporated milk with enough water added to make 2 cups)

3 eggs, separated, reserve egg whites for meringue

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 tablespoons butter

Meringue Topping:

3 reserved egg whites

Dash of cream of tarter

2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Prick the bottom and sides of your pie crust and bake until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the filling. Mix the sugar, cornstarch and cocoa together in a medium size pot. Add the 2 cups evaporated milk or whole milk. If using evaporated milk I use a 12 oz can, measure one cup evaporated milk, add to the pot and then measure one more cup evaporated milk. You will be a bit short, it comes to more like 3/4 cup so fill the rest of the measuring cup with water to make a cup. Using a wire whisk blend together and stir constantly over medium high heat. When the mixture is heated through add the 3 egg yolks. You will need to temper your egg yolks so add a bit of the pudding mixture to the egg yolks and blend before adding to the pudding mix. (You don't want scrambled eggs). Stir constantly until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and the butter. Let pudding mixture cool while you prepare the meringue topping.


Mix the 3 egg whites with a dash of cream of tarter along with 2 tablespoons sugar.

Whip the egg whites till stiff and soft peaks form. Add pudding to cooled pie shell and top with meringue making sure the meringue touches the sides of the pie crust to prevent shrinking.

Broil till lightly golden brown on top.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Sulphured Apples - Preserving in the Past

In the fall when there was an abundance of apples some were canned, some were dried and some were made into pies. and some were sulphured.
Now you might ask, "What are sulphured apples"? Sulphured apples was just another way of preserving a bumper crop of apples instead of letting them go to waste.
In the cellar my Grandma had various sizes of crocks.  She had a ten gallon one she made sour kraut in and one she kept pickled beans in and another crock she used just for sulphuring apples.
We got a lot of our apples from the big pound apple tree which sat in the field just past the barnyard.  My Grandma would go and gather a couple buckets of apples and sit on the back porch in the shade topeel and quarter them.  Then she would go to the cellar and get out her crock, wash it out with clear creek water and set the crock outside the cellar door because of the strong sulphur odor. She would then lay the apples in layers in the crock. On top of the apples she put a plate and an old pie tin with a couple tablespoons of sulphur in it.  She would light the sulphur on fire and quickly cover it with an old oilcloth to keep the fumes from escaping.  The apples had to be checked pretty often either to add sulphur and to stir the apples so they cooked evenly. When the apples had turned white and she had determined they had sulphured enough she would remove the remaining sulphur and the oilcloth and cover the crock with a clean white cloth.
When she wanted apples for supper she would remove what she needed from the crock and rinse them to get rid of the sulphur taste, put them in a skillet with butter and sugar and fry them until they were good and done.  Those apples on top of a hot biscuit slathered with butter tasted just as fresh and delicious as though they had just been picked from the tree. 
In our modern world when it comes to preserving food we should try to hang onto some of the old customs and ways of our forefathers but all that hard work and sulphured apples are things of the past.