I have so many wonderful collectibles acquired over the last 80+ years. Some were gifts, some were part of my life growing up, some were inherited, some were purchased at antique malls, gift shops or thrift stores – all are precious to me. Some items are kept up year-around while others are brought out seasonally and on holidays. Unfortunately, many priceless-to-me objects go undisplayed and unseen for years, so each week, I’m going to pull out an item and post a COLLECTIBLE OF THE WEEK.
Once a year, if I’m lucky, I find Concord grapes at a farm market and make Streusel Concord Grape Pie. It’s probably my favorite pie and I get out my vintage pie-baking utensils to make it.
There’s a little bit of work involved, including putting the cooked grape pulp through a food mill ….
The dough is rolled out with a one-piece rolling pin my mother gave me over 40 years ago.
I use a pie pan that my toddler children gave me for Christmas in 1956 after they carefully saved up enough Wilson evaporated milk labels to get it.
Actually, I don’t use the pastry blender at all but have it among my collection of depression-green handled utensils. I once heard Alton Brown, TV food expert, say that mixing with the hands provided exactly the right amount of warmth for making good pastry and that’s the way my grandmothers, mother and I had been doing it all along.
I used my vintage kitchen items to make a Streusel Concord Grape Pie on this past Sunday and it’s still my favorite.
If you’re fortunate enough to find some Concord grapes and don’t mind spending a little time peeling them, here is my recipe. https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2007/09/24/streusel-concord-grape-pie/
I had a package of mincemeat left over from the holidays and remembered this recipe that I had developed in 1986 for a magazine contest. It didn’t win, but it’s a delicious little tart.
I used a portion of mincemeat that I made from this condensed package (mixed with water) that makes 1-¾ cups. I used one cup for this recipe.
MINCE-NUT TARTS AU CHOCOLAT
- 3 Tblsp.condensed milk
- ¼ cup + 2 Tblsp. chocolate chips
- 1 cup prepared mincemeat
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 6 pastry tart shells (3-½ in. diameter (across top) x ¾ in. deep
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
In small saucepan combine condensed milk and chocolate chips. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until chips are melted.
Let cool in pans on a wire rack.
I loved the Andy Griffith TV show and when Sheriff Taylor talked about “good old apple crumb pie”, I longed to have a slice. Something about the way he said “pie” made it sound even more delicious. Remember, he thought maybe that was what Aunt Bee brought for lunch when instead she had brought some of her not-so-good pickles. And Helen Crump baked one for a picnic. In honor and in memory of Andy Taylor, Aunt Bee and Helen Crump, here’s my version:
MOM’S GOOD OLD APPLE CRUMB PIE
- Pastry for 9-inch single crust pie*
- 7 cups tart apples (Golden Delicious or Granny Smith)
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 2 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup butter, cut into cubes
Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Place in a large bowl and add cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, flour and sugar. Mix together and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
Actually, I baked two apple pies because the only kind of pie my son-in-law and two grandchildren will eat is my regular apple pie. Click here for the recipe.
When I went to work as a secretary in Procter & Gamble’s corporate offices, they were located in the old Gwynne Building on Sixth and Main Streets in downtown Cincinnati. The 12-story Gwynne Building was completed in 1914 and Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt (wife of Cornelius III) dedicated it to her father, prominent Cincinnati lawyer and Judge, Abraham Gwynne. Procter & Gamble leased the building and eventually purchased it in 1935. The building served as Procter & Gamble’s corporate headquarters until 1956. When I went to work there in 1950, on the ground floor was a Dow drugstore and an Italian restaurant. The drugstore was handy for a quick candy bar or soft drink and when the girls got together for drinks after work, they usually chose the Italian restaurant (whiskey sours were a favorite).
On the 12th floor of the building was a huge employee dining room. I liked to choose a one-person table near a window where I could have a gorgeous panoramic view of the city while I ate the wonderful food that was served. Maybe because of the Crisco connection, they always offered an array of pies which was excellent. I had my first taste of pecan pie here and it was memorable. After I left the company to start my family (most women did not continue working after their first baby at that time), I tried several recipes, trying to duplicate the P&G cafeteria pecan pie. In the 1970s, I found this recipe in Dear Abby’s column in the newspaper and I thought it came closest to what I was looking for. It’s been a family favorite ever since – often included with our Thanksgiving pies. This is an easy pie to make.
ABBY’S PECAN PIE
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 whole eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup melted butter (cooled)
- 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (my favorite is here)
- 1 cup pecan halves and pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk in the eggs, salt, vanilla and cooled melted butter.
Place on a flat sheet to catch spills and bake @ 375 degrees F for approximately 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
“This is a specialty of the house recipe from the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky. I begged this from the pastry chef to share with you. Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby)”
Servings: 6 to 8. This is a very rich pie and a smaller piece might be just right for most people, but it’s my youngest daughter’s favorite and she likes a nice big slice.
In the 1970s, my young daughters and I loved a Sugar Cream pie that we could buy frozen at our local grocer. As the years went by, the pie disappeared from the grocery store and several of my attempts to duplicate it failed. Then in the 1980s, I adapted several recipes to come up with one that I thought was very close to our old favorite and it won a ribbon at the Ohio State Fair. I made it again for the two daughters for this week’s Sunday dinner.
SUGAR CREAM PIE
- 1 cup whipping cream (1/2 pt.)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- dash salt
- 1 cup half-and-half cream
- 3 Tblsp. butter, melted
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 9” unbaked pie shell*
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
Place a piece of foil or parchment paper in the unbaked pie shell and pour in 2 cups of dry beans. Bake @ 375 degrees F for 10 minutes to “blind bake”. Remove foil and beans and let pie set on rack while preparing the filling. Note: I keep dry beans in a jar to use in blind-baking pie crust. The beans can be used over and over again to blind bake, but don’t cook them for other uses.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
Combine one cup whipping cream, sugar, flour, salt in medium bowl – whisk until smooth.
*Click here for my favorite pie crust
At this time of year, we usually have some straggling leftovers and I wanted to make something for Sunday dinner that would use up two cups of dairy eggnog. I remembered a pie I had made for Christmas in 1985 from an old 1978 Southern Sideboards cookbook. I adapted it a bit, including leaving out an extra two cups of whipped cream – I felt we had indulged enough over the holidays. It’s a good dessert with a crunchy graham cracker/almond crust and a smooth creamy filling. Make the day before serving so the pie can chill at least 6 hours or overnight.
DELICIOUS NO-BAKE EGGNOG PIE
- 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- ¼ cup cold water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tblsp. cornstarch
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 cups dairy eggnog
- 2 Tbsp. rum
- 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
- Freshly grated nutmeg for topping
TO MAKE THE CRUMB CRUST:
Combine graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup sugar, almonds, cinnamon and melted butter in a small bowl.
Press the mixture on the bottom and sides of a buttered 10-inch pie pan (deep).* Set aside.
TO MAKE THE FILLING:
In a cup, sprinkle gelatin over water to soften – set aside. Mix 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and salt in top of double boiler. Gradually stir in eggnog. Cook over hot, not boiling water, stirring constantly until thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in softened gelatin until dissolved. Allow filling to cool …
This has nothing to do with eggnog pie but I couldn’t resist showing you this picture. It’s not everyone who can look out the back door and see a St. Bernard dog in the snow. Our neighbor’s dog is usually looking for a shady spot or barking to get back in the house, but today he was in his glory in all that beautiful snow.