Old-fashioned Rhubarb Custard Pie with Meringue Topping

Slice of Rhubarb Custard Pie

Rhubarb is only available for a short while each spring and summer – and than it is gone until the next year. Since it will be gone all too soon, I always make numerous rhubarb dishes and desserts while it’s in season. Which brings up a question. When does rhubarb season end? I grew up hearing that it ended on the 4th of July – and that the rhubarb plants needed the remainder of the season to recharge so that they’d survive the winter. I continue to follow this rule of thumb – though always want to push the limits and continue eating rhubarb just a little longer.

Before rhubarb season ends, I decided to make another hundred-year-old rhubarb recipe. This time I made Rhubarb Custard Pie. The pie was topped with meringue and the rhubarb custard had just the right amount of tartness.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Rhubard Custard Pie
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Menus, Recipes, and Household Discoveries (1922)

The old recipe states that if you don’t have fresh rhubarb, canned could be used. I’ve never seen canned rhubarb, but am guessing that frozen rhubarb could be used – though didn’t provide directions for using frozen rhubarb since the amount of sugar in the recipe would need to be reduced if the rhubarb had been frozen with sugar – and the needed reduction in sugar would probably vary depending upon the sweetness of the frozen rhubarb.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Rhubarb Custard Pie with Meringue Topping

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups rhubarb, diced

3/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 9-inch pie shell

Meringue

2 egg whites

6 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Rinse diced rhubarb and drain. Combine rhubarb (with a small amount of water clinging to the rhubarb) and 3/4 of sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat while occasionally stirring, then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat and cool.

Preheat oven to 450° F.  Put the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar, flour, salt, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth, then add milk and beat to combine. Stir in the cooked rhubarb. Put the mixture into the prepared pie shell. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 ° F. and continue baking for 25 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from oven, and top with the meringue (see below). Reduce heat to 300° F., and put the pie back into the oven. Cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the meingue is lightly browned.

Meringue

In the meantime, make the meringue. Place egg whites in a bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add sugar while continuing to beat. Then spoon on top of the pie and swirl.

Old-fashioned Grapefruit Pie

Grapefruit Pie

I was intrigued by a hundred-year-old recipe for Grapefruit Pie, and decided to give it a try. The pie was bursting with a sunny grapefruit flavor. It reminded me of lemon meringue pie, but was a little less tart.

Here’s the original recipe:

Grapefruit Pie

Recipe for Grapefruit Pie

Source: American Cookery (March, 1922)

Rather than squeezing a grapefruit to get juice to make the pie, I purchsed a bottle of grapefruit juice. A typical grapefruit contains about 3/4 cup of juice.. When I made this recipe, the pie filling was a little juicy, so when I updated the recipe I added an additional egg yolk, (The original recipe called for 2 yolks and 3 egg whites. Using an additional yolk eliminates the need to figure out what to do with an extra yolk.). I also added an additional 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch when I updated the recipe to further thicken the filling.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Grapefruit Pie

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Pie

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup grapefruit juice

3 egg yolks, beaten

1 9-inch pie shell, baked

Meringue

3 egg whites

6 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons grapefruit juice

Place water, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and grapefruit juice in a saucepan, stir until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Using medium heat, bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add a small amount of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, while stirring constantly, and then slowly add to the contents in the saucepan while stirring constamtly. Remove from heat. If not smooth, stain the mixture. Allow the mixture to cool.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 ° F. and  make the meringue. Place egg whites in a bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add 6 tablespoons sugar while continuing to beat; add the 2 teaspoons of grapefruit juice and beat.  Then spoon on top of the pie and swirl. Place pie  in the oven and bake for  8 – 10  minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Fig and Cranberry Pie

slice of fig and cranberry pie

I’m always on the lookout for new pie recipes that I might make for Thanksgiving, and fresh, seasonal cranberries are one of my favorite November foods. So when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Fig and Cranberry Pie, I decided to give it a try.

The pie turned out beautifully with a lovely purple filling. The sweetness of the figs and the tartness of the cranberries perfectly balanced each other. If you didn’t tell your holiday guests which fruits were in the pie, I don’t think that they’d ever guess. My husband said that the pie wasn’t too sweet and it wasn’t too sour, but (ala Goldilocks) it was just right.

The recipe is a keeper.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Fig and Cranberry Pie
Source: American Cookery (November, 1921)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fig and Cranberry Pie

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1/2 pound (8 ounces) figs, chopped

2 cups water

2 cups cranberries

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons butter

juice from 1/2 of small lemon

milk

sugar

pastry for 2-crust 10-inch pie (It might possibly fit in a 9-inch pie shell, but it would be really full.)

Put chopped figs and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the figs are tender (about 15 minutes). Add the cranberries and continue cooking until the cranberries pop.

In the meantime, put the sugar and flour in a small bowl, and stir until combined.

Once the cranberries have popped, gradually add the flour and sugar mixture while stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice.

Preheat oven to 425° F. Turn cooked fig and cranberry mixture into pastry-lined pie pan. Cut the second pie dough circle into strips and make a lattice top crust and flute edges. Brush crust with a small amount of milk; sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crust is lightly  browned and juice just begins to bubble.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Coconut Pie

slice of coconut pie on plateSometimes I crave classic old-fashioned cream pies.  I recently came across a lovely recipe for Coconut Pie in a hundred-year-old cookbook. This pie differs from many modern coconut pies because, in addition to the usual milk, egg yolks, and coconut, the recipe calls for grated lemon rind and lemon juice. The lemon adds a lovely sunny note to this rich creamy pie.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Coconut Pie
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book, Revised Edition (1921)

When I updated the recipe I updated the spelling of coconut. “Cocoanut” is an archaic way of spelling coconut that I sometimes see in old recipes and cookbooks.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Coconut Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups milk

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter melted

grated rind and juice from 1 lemon

1 cup grated coconut

1 10-inch pie shell

Preheat oven to 425° F. Put milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, salt, butter, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Stir in grated lemon rind and coconut. Pour into pie shell.  Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F.. Bake additional 60 minutes or until knife inserted into center of pie comes out clean.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Lemon Apple Pie

Slice of Lemon Apple PieI love apple pies, but sometimes I get bored by the typical cinnamon-flavored pie, so when I saw a recipe for Lemon Apple Pie in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I decided to give it a try.

The pie was delightful – and nothing like any apple pie I’ve ever had before. Chopped apples are smothered in a tart lemony sauce.

Here’s the original recipe:

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

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Lemon Apple Pie

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups chopped apples

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 egg beaten

juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

1/2 cup saltine crackers (about 12 crackers), rolled fine (I put the crackers in a plastic bag and crushed with a rolling pin.)

milk, sugar

pastry for a 2-crust, 9-inch pie

Heat oven to 425° F.  Put the sugar, water, egg, lemon juice, and lemon rind in a bowl; stir to combine. Add the crushed saltine crackers and chopped apples, stir. Turn into pastry-lined pie pan. Cover with top crust and flute edges. Brush crust with a small amount of milk; sprinkle with sugar.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 350° F. Bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and juice just begins to bubble.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

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

Sour Cream Pie with Dates

 

slice of sour cream pie with dates on plateWhen I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Sour Cream Pie with Dates, I decided to give it a try. This rich, custard-style pie has lots of embedded date pieces; and is a unique combination of old-fashioned goodness, and a sophisticated blend of sweet and sour.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Sour Cream Pie with Dates
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Sour Cream Pie with Dates

  • Servings: 5 -7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dates, chopped

8-inch (small) double-crust pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put sour cream, sugar, egg, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir in dates. Place in pastry-lined pie pan. Cover with top crust. Seal and crimp. Cut slits in top crust (or poke top crust several times with a fork). If desired, brush with a small amount of milk; sprinkle with sugar. Bake in oven for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is browned and filling has set.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com