Old-fashioned Custard Pie

Slice of Custard Pie on Plate

Sometimes the basics are best. For example, old-fashioned Custard Pie is a delightful, delicate pie that makes a perfect treat on hot summer days. The hundred-year-old recipe I used was easy to make, and only contained five ingredients: eggs, sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla extract.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Custard Pie
Source: The New Royal Baking Powder Cookbook (1920)

When I made the recipe, I used 1/2 teaspoon of salt. The one teaspoon of salt called for in the original recipe seemed like a lot. I couldn’t figure out why it was necessary to scald the milk prior to mixing with the other ingredients, so I skipped that step – and it worked fine. It did take longer for the filling to set than the recipe indicated. Maybe the time would have been reduced if I had scalded the milk first.

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Custard Pie

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: easy
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3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 9-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 425° F. Put eggs, sugar, salt, milk, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Pour into pie shell.  Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325° F.. Bake additional 50 minutes or until knife inserted into center of pie comes out clean.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Carrot and Apple Salad

Carrot and Apple Salad on Plate

Summer is the perfect time for salads to take center stage, so I was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Carrot and Apple Salad. The recipes called for arranging apple slices that are spread with mayonnaise on lettuce, and then sprinkling with grated carrot. The recipe also called for putting additional mayonnaise in the middle plate. Based on the recipe description, I couldn’t quite picture what the salad would look or taste like, so I decided to give it a try.

The Carrot and Apple Salad was fun to make. I enjoyed arranging the apple slices on the lettuce – then garnishing with grated carrot. This is a recipe that a child might enjoy helping make.

The salad was bright and sunny. And, it met the taste test with a delightful combination of textures. There was just the right balance due to the crispness of the apples, the crunchiness of the lettuce, the sweetness of the carrots, and the hint of a dressing. (My husband and I didn’t add any of the additional mayonnaise that was in the center of the plate when we ate the salad).

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Carrot and Apple Salad
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries (1920)

When I made this recipe,  1 cup of apple slices were not quite enough to make an attractive arrangement on the plate so I used additional slices. Similarly, 1 cup of grated carrot seemed like too much, so I only used about 1/2 cup.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Carrot and Apple Salad

  • Servings: 2 -3
  • Difficulty: easy
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lettuce

1 – 1/2 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (I put the apple slices in a mixture of 1 cup water + 1 tablespoon lemon juice for 5 minutes to prevent browning; then drained and dried using paper towels.)

mayonnaise

1/2 cup grated carrot

Arrange lettuce pieces on plate. Lightly spread mayonnaise on the top of each slice; then arrange the slices attractively on the lettuce. Sprinkle with the grated carrot. If desired, put additional mayonnaise in a small bowl in the center of the plate.

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Olive Rarebit

Olive Rarebit on Toast

Welsh Rarebit over toast is one of my comfort foods, so I was intrigued when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Olive Rarebit. This recipe is nice variation on the classic. It contains chopped olives embedded in a savory cheese sauce.

Here’s the original recipe:

Olive Rarebit Recipe
Source: American Cookery (January,1920)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Olive Rarebit

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 teaspoon butter

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 cup milk, water, or apple cider – If desired, olive brine from the jar may be substituted for part of the liquid  (I used milk – and no olive brine.)

1 egg, beaten

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

dash paprika

6 olives, coarsely chopped (I used pimento stuffed green olives.)

Put butter in a saucepan; melt using medium-low heat. Stir in the cheddar cheese; continue stirring until the cheese is partially melted. Then add the milk and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. While continuing to stir, add the egg, mustard, salt, and paprika. Heat until hot, then stir in olives. Remove from heat. Serve over toast, English muffins, or other bread.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Puffy Green Pea Omelet

puffy green pea omelet on plate

Omelets are a wonderful way to turn the lowly egg into a really special dish, so I was thrilled when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Puffy Green Pea Omelet.

This omelet is as light as a cloud. It gets its fluffiness from beaten egg whites. And, creamed green peas make a tasty and healthy filling.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Puffy Green Pea Omelet
Source: Balanced Daily Diet (1920) by Janet McKenzie Hill

I used butter instead of Crisco shortening in this recipe. And, I put all the creamed green peas in the omelet rather than reserving some to put around the edge of the omelet.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Puffy Green Pea Omelet

  • Servings: 2 -3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Omelet

4 eggs, separated

4 tablespoons water

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place egg whites in a bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then stir in the water, salt, and pepper. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet on the top of the stove using medium-low heat. (If needed to prevent sticking, liberally grease the skillet before heating.) Pour the egg mixture into skillet, and gently cook for 1 minute. Move the skillet to the oven, and bake for about 10 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Remove from oven, and loosen the edges of the omelet from the skillet with a knife or spatula, then turn onto a plate. Spoon the creamed green peas onto one half of the omelet, and fold in half. Serve immediately.

Creamed Green Peas

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/3 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup milk

1 1/3 cups green peas, cooked

In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir the flour, salt, and pepper into the butter. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Gently stir in the peas and bring back to a boil; remove from heat.

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Canned Apricot Sherbet

dish with scoops of canned apricot sherbetThe store where I shop recently expanded its selection of canned fruits. Several weeks ago I noticed that there were canned apricots on the shelf and decided to buy a can. I put the can in a kitchen cupboard and figured that I’d eat the apricots “someday,” so I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a recipe for Canned Apricot Sherbet just a few days later.

The sherbet was easy to make with just three ingredients – canned apricots, sugar, and water. It was light and refreshing, and makes a delightful summer treat.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Canned Apricot Sherbet
Source: Balanced Daily Diet (1920) by Janet McKenzie Hill

Today sherbet is often a summer dessert, but a hundred years ago sherbet and ice cream were often winter treats. Many people did not have ready access to ice in the summer, but could easily use ice or snow to make frozen desserts during the winter.

The directions in the old recipe about using snow to make the sherbet reminded me of when I used to post my grandmother’s diary entries. As some of you may remember, I originally started this blog as a place to post my grandmother’s diary entries a hundred-years to the day after she wrote them. She kept the diary when she was a teen living on a farm in central Pennsylvania. On Sunday, February 12, 1911 she wrote about making ice cream:

Pa and Ma went away today and we had the house to ourselves while they were gone. Of course we had a fine dinner for my sister is an excellent cook, or rather she thinks she is. Any way we had dinner. Ice cream consisted of part of it. I had to turn the freezer, which I soon tired of. (I usually tire of anything I don’t like.) Any how I froze that cream so hard that it all crumbled up in big chunks . . .

Where did Grandma get the snow or ice that she used to make the ice cream? Did she gather snow from a snow bank? . . . or did she find some large ice cycles that had fallen off the roof? . . . or maybe she went down to the nearby creek to gather ice. . . or . . .

Then, two weeks later on Sunday February 26, 1911, she wrote:

I went to Sunday school this afternoon and staid for church and catechize. The walking was extremely bad, but still I went. We had chocolate ice cream for supper. We all rather like it, so we have it occasionally which is about once in a week.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Canned Apricot Sherbet

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 can apricots (regular size can – approximately 1 pound)

2 cups sugar

1 cups cold water

Drain apricots and press through a sieve.  (I used a Foley mill. The apricots could also be pureed using a food processor or blender.) Set aside.

Put sugar and water in a mixing bowl; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in apricot pulp.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, then place in ice cream maker and freeze. (I used a 1 1/2 quart automatic electric maker.)

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Maple Nut Cake

 

Slice of Maple Nut Cake on PlateOld-fashioned nut cakes bring back warm memories of family gatherings many years ago. There always seemed to be at least one nut cake – and often more – at family reunions. They were made by great aunts or other miscellaneous relatives. (I often was unsure of the relationship.) So when I saw a recipe for Maple Nut Cake in a hundred-year-old promotional cookbook published by the Royal Baking Powder Company, I decided to give it a try.

The cake is made in a loaf pan. The old recipe recommended using chopped pecans in the cake, so I went with that nut. The cake is iced with Maple Icing. It turned out wonderfully, and tasted just like those old-time cakes of memory.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Maple Nut Cake
Source: New Royal Cook Book (1920), published by the Royal Baking Powder Company

And, here are the original Maple Icing recipes. (The cookbook contained two icing options.):

Two Recipes for Maple Icing
Source: New Royal Cooking Book (1920) by Royal Baking Powder Company

I interpreted a “moderate oven” to be 350° F. However, the cake was not even close to being fully baked after 45 minutes, so I continued baking until a pick inserted in the center came out clean, which was about 1 hour and 10 minutes after I put the cake in the oven.

I made the first Maple Icing recipe. I softened the butter, and did not bother to heat the milk.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Maple Nut Cake

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Maple Nut Cake

2 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts – preferably pecans

additional chopped nuts for top of cake

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites stiff peaks form.

In a separate mixing bowl put the flour, shortening, brown sugar, egg yolks, vanilla,  baking powder, and salt;  beat until combined. Then stir in the nuts, and gently fold the whipped egg whites into the mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour 10 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost top with Maple Icing. (If desired, the cake can be removed from the pan. A slightly thinner icing can be made, and the icing can then be drizzled over the cake and allowed to run down the sides.).  While the icing is still soft, sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Maple Icing

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

approximately 2 tablespoons milk

Put confectioners’ sugar, butter, and maple flavoring in a bowl. Add milk and beat until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add additional milk.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

 

Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling

2 orange biscuits with orange filling

When browsing through hundred-year-old magazines, sometimes a recipe just jumps out at me. Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling was one of these recipes. Back then, there were few photos in magazines, but there was a picture of the biscuits. This recipe was obviously one that the magazine editors really liked, so I decided to give it a try.

orange biscuits with orange filling on plate
Source: American Cookery (April, 1920)

This recipe did not disappoint. The Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling had just the right amount of sweetness, and a bright, sunny, citrus flavor. They are perfect with coffee or milk. The Biscuits would also be a lovely brunch pastry. This recipe is a keeper, and I feel certain that I’ll make it again.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling
Source: American Cookery (April, 1920)

One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot, so I only used 1/2 teaspoon of salt when I made the recipe. I cut the slices about 3/4 inch thick because it was difficult to cut 1/2 inch slices, and that just didn’t seem quite thick enough. I also could not figure out why the filling needed to be cooked when it was then cooled – and would again become a butter and sugar spread – so I did not cook it prior to spreading on the biscuits. This worked fine.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling

  • Servings: approximately 15 biscuits
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Orange Biscuits

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons lard, shortening, or butter

3/4 cup milk (may need to use slightly more)

orange filling (see below)

sugar

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in the lard, shortening, or butter. Add milk, and gently stir to combine using a fork. If too dry and does not cling together as a dough, add a small amount of additional milk. Place the dough on a prepared surface and roll into a square about 12″ by 12″. Spread with the Orange Filling, then roll like a jelly roll. Cut into 3/4 inch slices. If needed, gently reshape so that each slice is round. Put in a greased cake pan(s) about 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar. Put in oven, and bake about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Orange Filling

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice

grated rind (zest) of 1 orange

Put butter, sugar, and orange juice in a small bowl; stir to combine. Add grated orange rind, and stir to evenly distribute throughout the butter mixture.

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