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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes 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:
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.
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.
1/2 cup saltine crackers (about 12 crackers), rolled fine (I put the crackers in a plastic bag and crushed with a rolling pin.)
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.
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:
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.
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.
When 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.
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.
Old-fashioned carrot pie is a delightful fall pie. It is very similar to pumpkin pie – but a little lighter and sweeter.
Here’s the original hundred-year-old recipe:
Two medium, “grocery-store” style, long, slender carrots are not nearly large enough to make 1 – 1 1/4 cups pureed carrot. The recipe must be calling for the large, thick relatively short carrots that home gardeners often raise. When I made the recipe, I used a 1-pound bag of carrots, and ended up with about the right amount of pureed carrot.
Peel and slice carrots. Put carrot slices in a saucepan and just barely cover with water. Using high heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer until carrots are tender (approximately 20 – 25 minutes). Remove from heat and drain; then press through a sieve or puree (I used a Foley mill.) Measure the pureed carrot. There should be approximately 1 – 1 1/4 cups.
Preheat oven to 425° F. Combine all ingredients (except pie shell) in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Bake 15 minutes; then reduce heat to 350°. Continue baking (about 50-60 minutes) until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.