Archive for Pie

Apples

Last weekend was my birthday and as usual I got treated with apple dumplings. Despite all the nutritious value found in apples that my Grandmother describes below, those dumplings should probably not be enjoyed more than once a year, though they are quite delicious.

October 1982

As my farmer and I sat on the porch this morning eating our breakfast between the dark of the night and the light of the day there was an unmistakable feeling of fall in the crisp air.

The rising wind sighed through the windbreak and rustled the leaves of the little spring- planted cottonwood tree into an early morning song. Gleaming dull gold, the milo field stretched to the south while across the road George Miller’s cattle grazed in the tall Sedan grass, silhouetted in the misty haze.

Four young robins winged in from the vegetable garden and settled in the driveway to busily run about in search of grain, looking for all the world like plump Dutch matrons hustling about their morning chores.

Out west the last of the apples hung high on the tree where they had escaped all my efforts to reach them with a ladder and a grappling hook. The sparrows and the blackbirds are pecking away at them for an early snack.

The apple tree is old and broken and each year we say, “This crop will surely be the swan song for that tree.” It was planted soon after our marriage and for over 35 years has kept the family supplied with apple pies and cobblers, apple crisp and apple sauce, as well as apple dumplings.

The children used to eat so many green apples I just knew they would have a stomach ache, but they never did. This year two small grandchildren took up the green apple eating tradition with no ill effects.

Each April the old tree blossoms into a beautiful halo of flowers and sets on a crop of apples that grow plump and red by August. Then, we begin making applesauce for the freezer.

My farmer and I spend many companionable evenings removing the worms and bad spots from the raw apples, cooking them and pushing them through a colander before sacking the sauce in plastic bags for freezer or, if it is full, canning them.

Applesauce sprinkled with black walnuts or pecans, with light cream poured over the top is a delightful winter dessert after a heavy dinner.

Sliced raw apples freeze well and can be used in any recipe the same as fresh ones. Incidentally a food processor makes fast work of slicing them.

The good news about apples is that nutritionists are rediscovering what your grandmother knew – apples are not only good, they’re also good for you.

Apples are high in fiber. Fiber is the name for a quite a few indigestible substances namely cellulose, lignin, pectin, hemicellulose, and gum. Apples contain lots of pectin.

Quite a few authorities think fiber reduces the incidence of some types of cancer. It is also suggested that fiber may help to protect people from heart disease by its effect on cholesterol- lowering effect on the body.

While this research on heart disease, cancer, and diet is still in the beginning stages and not conclusively proven it looks as if you can enjoy apples with a clear conscience. These recipes make the most of the apple’s juicy, tart flavor.

Cheese Crumble Apple Pie

Topping:

½ cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

5 tablespoons butter

Filling:

5 cups apples, sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 ½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese

4 teaspoons flour

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Make one 9-inch pie crust with a high rim using your favorite recipe. For the topping combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Set aside.

For filling, toss together apples and lemon juice. Mix cheese, flour and nutmeg; toss with apples. Arrange this fruit mixture in the crust. Sprinkle with topping. Bake at 375° for 40 to 50 minutes.

Serves 6-8.

 

Apple Dumplings

1 ½ cups white flour

1 cup lard

1 ½ cup whole wheat flour

1/3 to ½ cup cold water

½ teaspoon salt

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in lard with pastry blender until size of peas. Add the smallest amount of water in driblets that you can and still have the dough stick together. Roll out ¼ inch. Cut into 6 or 7 squares. Set aside.

Core and partially peel 6 apples of a large and juicy variety. Then prepare this syrup:

Syrup:

1 cup water

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup brown sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Boil for 3 minutes. Place apples on each pastry square. Fill cavities of apple with mixture of:

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Bring opposite points of pastry up over the apple. Overlap, moisten and seal. Place separately in shallow baking dish. Pour hot syrup around dumplings.

Bake at once at 425° for 40 to 45 minutes until brown and apple is tender. Serve warm with the syrup and Half and Half.

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Peaches

I can never get enough peaches in the summer time. This column is full of delicious recipes for peaches. Though eating them fresh and plain is just as delicious as well.

September 1983

Biting into a juicy, tree- ripened peach is one of the remembered joys of summer. We are lucky to live close to plenty of good peach orchards and to have a bountiful supply.

A family can jump in the car, drive to the orchard and go peach picking. It is fun to select the plumpest and smoothest specimens. Coming home with peach-filled kids plus a couple of bushels in the car trunk they are all set for some choice eating.

If you can’t get around to eating all of them, fresh peaches freeze well. They are easy to skin by just scalding for a couple of minutes and immersing in ice water. The skins will slip off easily. Scalding too long ruins their color, so work quickly and do small batches at a time.

I like to put a few in small plastic bags and open them on a winter night. They make a delightful bedtime snack served while still slightly frozen with a drizzle of light cream.

Old- Fashioned Peach Pie

5 cups sliced peaches

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon almond flavoring

2 tablespoons butter

Pastry for 2 crust pie

Roll out bottom crust. Combine all ingredients. Pour into crust. Roll out top crust. Cut slits. Moisten crust’s rim. Press on top crust. Carefully pinch edges. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes on bottom rack of oven. If top isn’t brown then raise to top rack for five minutes. Serve while still slightly warm.

Note: 2 tablespoons of red hots instead of the cinnamon gives a nice pink color.

Fresh Peach Cobbler

Pastry for 2-crust pie

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

5 cups sliced peaches

2 tablespoons flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Roll pastry. Line 9-inch pan. Roll top crust. Mix sugar and cornstarch. Add water and butter. Cook until thick. Stir in peaches. Cool. Pour into crust. Sprinkle with flour and spices. Cover with top crust. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes.

Peach Dumplings

Pastry for 2-crust pie

Syrup:

1 cup sugar

2 cups water

3 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Filling:

6 peaches, peeled, halved & seeded

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoon butter

Roll pastry 1/8 – inch thick. Cut into six 7-inch squares. Bring syrup ingredients to boil. Boil 3 minutes. Put whole peach in center of each pastry square. Fill center with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Dot with 1 teaspoon butter. Bring points of pastry over peach and pinch together. Pour 1 cup of the hot syrup in pan. Put in dumplings. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes. Serve warm with rest of syrup poured over dumplings. Cream is nice to pour over, too.

Glazed Peach Pie

6 cups sliced peaches

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup orange juice

Pie shell, baked

Sweetened whipped cream

Mash enough of the peaches to make 1 cupful. Reserve rest of peaches. Combine sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir in orange juice and mashed peaches. Cook on top of stove or in microwave until thickened. Spread half over the bottom of pie shell. Arrange the sliced peaches over glaze. Spoon rest of glaze over peaches. Chill 3 hours. Top with whipped cream.

Pecan Peach Pie

4 cups sliced peaches

¾ cup sugar, white

3 tablespoons flour

1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

1/3 cup brown sugar

¼ cup flour

3 tablespoon butter

½ cup chopped pecans

1 unbaked 9” pie shell

Combine sugar, peaches, the 3 tablespoons flour and lemon juice. Mix well. Combine brown sugar, the ¼ cup flour and butter. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Add pecans. Spread ½ of this mixture in bottom of unbaked pie shell. Arrange peach mixture over this. Top with remaining pecan mixture.

Bake at 400° for 40 minutes. Chill. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

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Pie Crusts Part 3

Here is the final part of the 3 part series on pie crust. The first part can be found here, and the second here.

June 1983

For a fitting climax to this 3- part series on pies, I went to the queen supreme of pie bakers, Eleanor Manning, for advice. Her pies have melt- in- your- mouth goodness and the crusts are tender layers of flaky goodness. Behind her stretches a lifetime of pies, and she’s still going strong. Apple, cherry, rhubarb, custard, lemon meringue – name the pie and Eleanor has made it.

“Surely she has a carefully guarded secret for perfect pies,” I thought.

When I asked her, “How do you make such perfect crusts?” Eleanor quickly went to the kitchen and returned carrying her old high school home ec book, Basic Principles of Domestic Science, by Lilla Frich. The cover was worn and bespattered. The pages perilously loose, but the recipes were all still there – having served a lifetime dating from Eleanor’s marriage in 1917 when she was only eighteen years old.

While Glenn ran a dairy farm Eleanor cooked for hired men and her three children, Norman, Martha and Elizabeth, plus friends and relatives they collected from far and wide.

In the community she was active in Eastern Star and went through all the offices. She was a devoted member of the Christian Church and the Ladies Aid Society and helped by tying comforts and quilting.

Eleanor and Glenn loved to travel and went to every state of the union, Canada three times, to Nassau, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Europe, Nova Scotia, and Mexico many times. They often drove in a camper.

When they weren’t working or traveling they were square dancing or having fun. Eleanor has a rare gift of friendship and their home overflowed with guests, both family and friends.

They spent many summers in Colorado – often with some of their 10 grandchildren and their young friends. They all knew grandma would welcome them with open arms and feed the whole gang. In the winter for the past ten years they went to Texas where in 1982 they celebrated their 65th anniversary of marriage.

After Glenn’s death last year Eleanor has lived at their home in Sedgwick where she leads an active life and entertains often. Even though she tragically lost two grandchildren in the prime of their life she perseveres and is an inspiration to those who know her.

When asked her secret for such a rich, full life Eleanor replies, “We worked hard and drank lots of orange and grapefruit juice. We were always ready to take up anything we wanted to do.”

PIE CRUST

1 ½ cup flour ½ cup lard or Crisco

3 tablespoons water, cold ½ teaspoon salt

Sift flour before measuring. Mix flour and salt. Cut fat in with pastry blender or rub shortening in with hands (I prefer my hands). Add cold water. Combine lightly to form a ball of pastry. This makes one 2-crust pie or two 1-crust shells.

Bake at temperature called for in pie recipe.

LEMON MERINGUE PIE

Filling: 1 cup sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup boiling water Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

2 egg yolks

Meringue: 2 egg whites 2 tablespoons sugar

Directions for filling: Mix sugar and cornstarch. Add boiling water. Cook until clear and thick. Add beaten egg yolks, lemon juice, butter and rind. Cook for a minute or two. Pour into baked shell.

Directions for meringue: Beat whites until stiff. Add sugar gradually. Spread over filling to edges. Brown at 350° until delicately colored.

COCONUT CREAM PIE

Filling: 2 cups milk ½ cup sugar

2 or 3 eggs, depending on size 3 tablespoons cornstarch

½ cup coconut

Meringue: 2 eggs whites 2 tablespoons sugar

Extra coconut

Filling: Combine sugar and cornstarch. Add milk. Cook until thick. Add to beaten yolks (save whites). Add coconut. Cook another minute or two. Pour into baked shell.

Meringue: Beat whites until stiff. Add sugar gradually. Spread on pie. Sprinkle with coconut. Brown lightly in 350° oven.

CUSTARD PIE

2 eggs 1/3 cup sugar

2 cups milk Nutmeg

Beat eggs and sugar. Add milk. Pour into unbaked shell. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 350° to finish. Bake until jiggly in middle. No exact time. Be careful not to overbake.

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Pie Crusts Part 2

Below is an article from May 1983. It is part 2 of a series on pies and pie crusts. The first part can be found here.

May 1983

After giving three basic recipes for the old- fashioned type of pie crust last month, crusts made with shortening, flour and water, I began to think of some of the new types of crusts that are widely used. Included in these would be oil, meringue, graham cracker or vanilla wafer, and a shortbread type of crust.

Each of these crusts has advantages – either in ease of preparation or in having just the right characteristic for a particular type of pie. For some, a recipe using oil is preferred since the crust is pressed into the pan instead of being rolled out. The mess of flouring a board and rolling pin is avoided.

No-Roll Sweet Pie Shell

1/3 cup margarine

½ cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1 cup unsifted flour

Cream margarine and sugar with electric mixer. Add egg yolk and beat. Stir in flour. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie pan. Prick surface with fork. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool. Makes 1 pie shell.

No- Roll Oil Pie Shell

1 ½ cup sifted flour

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup oil

2 tablespoons milk

Combine dry ingredients. Add milk and oil all at once. Stir with a fork until a ball of dough forms. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Flute edges. Prick with fork. Chill for 30 minutes. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 1 pie shell.

Tart Shell

1 cup butter or margarine

½ cup sugar

2 cups sifted flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add flour. Stir into a ball. Roll out and cut with round cookie cutter to line muffin pans. Bake at 325° for 15 minutes – just to a faint tinge of brown. Cool. Remove from pans. Fill.

Makes 24 shells. This recipe will also make 2 regular pie shells or provide the base for a desert made in a 9×13- inch pan.

Meringue Pie Shell

3 egg whites

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon salt

¾ cup sugar

Beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy/ Add sugar slowly, beating all the time. Beat until peaks form. Spread meringue over the bottom and up the side of a well buttered 9-inch pan. Bake at 275° for 1 hour. Cool on rack. This can be used many ways. I like it filled with whipped cream and strawberries.

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Pie Love

I love pie and so did my grandmother, she made the best pies. My grandmother had a lot to say about pies. Here is one article describing the variety, history and wonder of pies and a good pie crust. There are some great pie crust recipes at the end.

April 1983

Pies have been a favorite food since pioneer days when they were eaten for breakfast as well as dinner and supper. Every home had a pantry just off the kitchen. Here was the pie safe – an enclosed cupboard, often with doors of perforated tin to allow for circulation of air. Inside were shelves set just wide enough apart to accommodate the depth of a pie. A lot of pies could be stored in a small area.

In many early day households one specific day each week was pie baking day. Often 16 to 30 pies were made, enough to supply the hungry family for the next week. Since the basic ingredients were homegrown they were a cheap source of food energy. Besides everyone liked to eat pie.

Each fall hogs were butchered for the year’s supply of cured meat. The day after the killing the women rendered the fat and made lard. This was stored in large stone jars in the coolest place available.

Wheat was ground into flour at a nearby mill so the makings for pie crust, flour and lard, were always on hand.

If the cow was fresh and the hens laying, creamy custard pies could be made. Burnt sugar cream pie with a meringue topping was another variation of the basic materials – eggs, milk, lard and flour.

In summertime home orchards yielded apples, peaches and cherries for pies. Here on the plains the fruit of the sturdy mulberry tree made a marvelously juicy pie. Farther east wild blackberries grew in the woods and the children were dent to pick them.

I mustn’t forget to mention tart pie plant growing in kitchen gardens that are so popular as a pie filling. It’s called rhubarb now.

When winter came, dried apples and peaches as well as canned fruit were used as fillings. When all else failed the resourceful housewife came up with vinegar pie which used sugar, vinegar, flour, spices and water and was baked in a crust like custard pie.

Another eggless type filling was sweet cream, thickened with flour, laced with sugar, and sprinkled with cinnamon.

In recent times some nutritionists have laid a guilt trip on anyone making pie, not to mention the horrible consequences of eating it. It’s peculiar that obesity is an affliction of modern times when you remember the past high pie consumption rate without fat piling up on the body.

I notice that today pie still disappears fast at farm auctions and church suppers. People just plain enjoy a perfect piece of pie with a flaky crust and a flavorful filling. Here are some basic recipes for crust for you to compare with your own and maybe try – also one fruit pie recipe.

 

Flaky Pastry
2 cups sifted flour ½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup shortening or 2/3 cup lard 4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
Combine flour and salt. Cut in shorting with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form.Sprinkle ice water over crumb mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms. Press into ball. Use as directed in pie recipe.
Makes pastry for one 2-crust 8 or 9 inch pie.
Electric Mixer Pastry
1 ¾ cup flour ½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening ¼ cup iced water
Combine flour, salt and shortening. Mix 30 seconds, until coarse crumbs form using mixer at low speed.Add ice water all at once and mix on low speed for 15 seconds. Press firmly into ball. Use as directed in pie recipe. Makes 1 two-crust pie.
Country Pastry
2 cups sifted flour ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder ¼ cup boiling water
¾ cup lard 1 tablespoon milk
Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Pour boiling water over lard in another bowl. Stir until blended. Stir in milk. Add dry ingredients to lard mixture. Stir until dough forms.Chill 1 hour. Use as directed in recipe.
Makes 1 two-crust pie.
Apple- Cherry Pie
3 ½ cups thinly sliced tart apples 2 cups sour red cherries, drained
1 cup sugar ¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter
Roll out larger half of pastry to 13-inch circle. Line 9-inch pan with pastry. Trim to ½ inch beyond rim of pie plate.Combine all ingredients except butter. Pour into pastry shell. Dot with butter.Roll out remaining pastry to 11-inch circle. Cut slits. Place top crust over filling and trim to 1-inch beyond rimof pie plate. Fold top crust under lower crust and form a ridge. Pinch edges.Bake at 400° for 50 minutes. Cool on rack.

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