Open-faced Apple Pie

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, October 15, 1912: apple pie

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Another slow day a hundred years ago. . . .

This Fall, I’ve enjoyed making old-time apple recipes. Here’s another one that I really like.

Open-faced Apple Pie

Pastry for a 1-crust pie

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Approximately 5-6 medium Macintosh apples*

1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 9-inch pie pan with the pastry.

Put the sugar, flour, and cinnamon into a medium bowl; stir together. Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Put the quartered apples into the bowl with the sugar mixture; stir gently to coat apples. Arrange the apples in the pie pan by  placing the apples closely together on their sides. Small pieces of apples can be used to fill any gaps between the apple quarters. Add the milk to the pie by pouring it between any two of the apples.

Cook the pie at 425 for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350. Cook approximately 25 additional minutes or until the apples are tender when poked with a fork.

*Other apple varieties that keep their shape when cooked can be substituted for the Macintosh apples.

In case you have lots of apples like I do, here are links to some previously posted apple recipes.

Stewed Apples

Old-fashioned Apple Dumplings

Two Apple Crisp Recipes

Traditional Apple Betty

Old-Fashioned Apple Sauce

Stewed Apples

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, October 8, 1912:  Don’t have anything to write.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t have much to write a hundred years ago today, I’ll share an old recipe for stewed apples with you. There easy to make, and I make this recipe several times each fall.

Like many old recipes, it doesn’t have exact amounts for ingredients—but it always seems to turn out just fine.

Stewed Apples

Peel apples, remove cores, and cut into quarters. Place them in a saucepan with a very little water. Add sugar and cinnamon to taste. If desired, a few raisins can also be added. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Continue to simmer gently until the apples are soft (approximately 10-15 minutes). May be served either hot or cold.

Old-Fashioned Watermelon Rind Pickles

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, September 20, 1912:  Don’t have much for today.

watermelon pickles

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I continue to enjoy making foods that were popular in central Pennsylvania in the early 20th century. Since Grandma didn’t write much I’ll tell you about my latest cooking endeavor.

Pickled foods were incredibly popular a hundred years ago.

I  decided to make old-fashioned watermelon pickles—and they looked lovely and tasted great.

It was a three-day process, but well worth the effort.

Old Fashioned Watermelon Pickles

4-5 quarts watermelon rind



2 cups apple cider vinegar

7 cups sugar

1 tablespoon whole cloves

3 sticks cinnamon

1 inch cube of fresh ginger

Select watermelon with a thick, firm rind. Cut off the outer green skin, and remove the red watermelon flesh, leaving a very thin layer of pink. Cut into 1-inch squares. Place in a 2 gallon glass  bowl or crock. (I used 2 smaller bowls).

Cover with a salt water solution (2 tablespoons salt to 4 quarts water). Cover and let stand for 24 hours at room temperature.

After 24 hours, drain and rinse with cold water. Cover with ice water. Let stand for 1 hour, then drain.

Place the rind in a large pan, and cover with boiling water. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.

Put spices in a cheesecloth bag. Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices in large pan. Bring to a boil. Add rind. Simmer until rind is translucent.

Put rind and syrup into large glass bowl or crock. Cover; and let stand for 24 hours at room temperature.

Remove spice bag. Drain off syrup, put into a pan, and heat to boiling.

Pack the rind into hot pint jars; cover with the hot syrup, fill to 1/4 inch of top. Wipe jar rim and put lid on.

Process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

Makes approximately 6 pints.

Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, September 12, 1912:  Wish some good kind soul would tell me what to write.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma, you should have written about the everyday things that you did. . . The things that seemed too boring and mundane to put into the diary. For example, you could have told us what you had for supper.

It’s the peak of the apple season—Did you have apples for supper? Maybe old-fashioned apple dumplings. . . .

Apple Dumplings

Pastry for 9 inch two-crust pie

9 tart baking apples, peeled and quartered


2 cups brown sugar (packed)

1 cup water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry as directed except roll 1/3 of dough into large rectangle; cut into 3 smaller rectangles. Put 4 apples quarters (1 apple) in each rectangle. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Moisten corners of each square with water; bring 2 opposite corners of pastry up over apple and press together. Fold in sides of remaining corners (as if wrapping a package); bring corners up over apple and press together. Repeat with remaining dough and apples. Place dumplings in ungreased 12 X 8  X 3 inch or similarly sized baking dish.

In a saucepan heat brown sugar and water to boiling; carefully pour around and over dumplings. Bake 40 minutes or until crust is golden and apples are tender. Serve warm or cool. If desired, serve with milk.

Yield: 9 servings

Old Bread and Butter Pickles Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, September 4, 1912:  Same as yesterday.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

The previous day, she’d written:

Nothing doing today.

Sounds like a slow couple of days in Grandma’s life.

I wonder if Grandma’s mother was busy preserving foods for the upcoming winter months while Grandma in school. . . or did she wait until Saturday for major canning projects when she had her daughters home to help.

Maybe she made Bread and Butter Pickles.

Bread and Butter Pickles

8 cups cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 cups onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons salt

2 cups vinegar

3 cups sugar

2 teaspoons turmeric

3 inches stick cinnamon

2 teaspoons celery seed

4 peppers (red and green), finely diced

Mix cucumbers, onions, and salt together in a large ceramic bowl or casserole dish. Let stand two hours; drain. In a large pan mix together vinegar, sugar, turmeric, cinnamon, celery seed, and peppers. Bring to a boil. Put in drained cucumbers and onions. Boil for 15 minutes. Jar and seal.

Makes about 3 1/2 pints. (I usually double the recipe, but it requires a very large pan.)

Note: Small thinly sliced zucchini or yellow summer squash can be substituted for the cucumbers for excellent pickled squash.

I make this recipe almost every summer and they always turn out great.

(I probably should note that this recipe isn’t from my side of the family. I got this old recipe from my mother-in-law, but it is a typical traditional Pennsylvania recipe. In any case, the pickles are really good. )

Apple Crisp Recipes: Comparison of Old and Modern Recipes

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:    

Saturday, August 24, 1912: We’ve been expecting company for the last several days, but it seems to be as if they aren’t coming. It seems to be the luck around here.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Did they make food in anticipation of the company that didn’t show? Since apples are in season, maybe they made an apple dessert..

I tried two Apple Crisp recipes to see which was the best.  First I made the recipe that was in an old Pennsylvania Grange Cookbook; then I made the recipe on the Betty Crocker website.

Old Pennsylvania Apple Crisp Recipe

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4  teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 egg, slightly beaten

5 medium apples

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together flour, sugar (1/2 cup), salt, and baking powder; add melted butter and egg. Stir together until crumbly.

Pare and slice apples, and place in an 8” X 8” baking dish. Cover with the flour mixture. Bake approximately 45 minutes or until the apples are soft.

Then I made the apple crisp recipe on the Betty Crocker website:

Betty Crocker Apple Crisp Recipe

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cream or Ice cream, if desired

Heat oven to 375ºF. Grease bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with shortening.

Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.

Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender when pierced with a fork. Serve warm with cream.

The verdict—Both recipes were good and I’d recommend either recipe.

The oatmeal made the Betty Crocker recipe was crunchier. And, the flavors were a little more subdued with the Old Pennsylvania recipe because white sugar (rather than brown sugar) and fewer spices were used.

Crab Apple Chutney Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, August 15, 1912:  My store of thoughts doesn’t amount to very much today.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What did Grandma (and the other members of her family do) on days when she couldn’t think of anything worthwhile to record?

Might they have canned food to eat during the upcoming winter months?

Earlier this week I made Crab Apple Chutney using an old recipe that I imagine was similar to recipes used a hundred years ago.

Crab Apple Chutney

3 pounds crab apples

1 orange

1 box (15 oz.) raisins

1 cup apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly pressed

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

Core and dice crab apples. Peel and dice orange.

Combine all ingredients in large pan. Bring to a boil; then simmer, covered until the crab apples are tender (about 30 minutes).

Ladle into 4 pint jars (or 8 half-pint jelly jars); cover with syrup, filling to within 1/4 inch of jar top. Wipe jar rim, and put lids on. .

Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

This recipe is excellent—and I make it whenever I have crab apples. The chutney really brings out the taste of pork or beef.

If you are looking for crab apple recipes, check out a post I did last year:

Old Spiced Crab Apples (Pickled Crab Apples) Recipe


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