Traditional Carrot Pie

slice of carrot pie

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:

Carrot Pie Recipe
Source: Good Housekeeping (February, 1919)

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.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:   

Carrot Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 pound carrots

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 – 9-inch pie pastry

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.

Old-fashioned Blueberry Pie with Meringue

slice of pie

I recently found a 1919 recipe for Blueberry Pie with Meringue that made my mouth water – yet it called for canned blueberries (which didn’t seem very appealing to me). A hundred years ago blueberries were available only a few weeks a year, and to preserve the goodness of the berries for later use, many were canned. As a result, cooks needed recipes that called canned blueberries.

recipe for blueberry pie with meringue
Source: Recipes for Everyday by Janet McKenzie Hill (1919)

I generally permit myself to make only minimal changes when making old recipes, but there exceptions to every rule.  Since I just couldn’t bring myself to use canned blueberries – and since I really wanted to try this recipe, I decided to substitute fresh berries for the canned ones.

The recipe turned out well – though the baking time was longer when fresh blueberries are used. The blueberries in the filling were embedded in a lovely, almost custard-like sauce; and, when topped with an airy meringue, it created an irresistible pie.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks.

Blueberry Pie with Meringue

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups blueberries

2 egg yolks

1tablespoon lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour or 2 tablespoons corn starch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 8-inch (small) pie shell

Meringue

2 egg whites

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) sugar

Preheat oven to 425° F. Put egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar, flour (or corn starch) and salt in a mixing bowl; beat until thoroughly combined.  Crush about a quarter of the blueberries with a fork or your fingers, then stir all the blueberries into the sugar mixture. Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie shell. Place in oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F. Cook an additional 35 minutes or until the filling thickens. (As the filling cooks, it will first be very juicy; and then will become thicker.)

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. Reduce oven temperature to 325 ° F. Place pie back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.

Old-fashioned Fig Meringue Pie

A hundred years ago, fresh fruit was scarce during the long winter months, so pies were often made using dried fruit.  I found a wonderful recipe for a Fig Meringue Pie in a 1919 cookbook. The delectable fig filling is topped with a creamy meringue.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Recipes for Everyday by Janet McKenzie Hill (1919)

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

Fig Meringue Pie

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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12 ounces dried figs

1 1/2 cups water

2 eggs separated

2 tablespoons sugar + 4 tablespoons sugar + a small amount of additional sugar

dash salt

1 8-inch (small) baked pie crust

Remove stems from figs, then chop. (There should be approximately 2 1/2 cups of chopped figs.) Put chopped figs in a saucepan, add water. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 325° F. Place egg yolks, 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a bowl; beat together. Place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of hot fig mixture into bowl with beaten egg mixture, stir quickly to prevent eggs from coagulating. Then put this mixture in the saucepan with the cooked figs while stirring. Return to heat (medium), and cook until the mixture thickens while stirring continuously.  Pour into a pie shell which had been previously baked.

In a separate bowl make the meringue. Place egg whites in the bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add 4 tablespoons sugar while continuing to beat. Then spoon on top of the pie and swirl; sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.

Hundred-year-old Little Pumpkin Pies Recipe

‘Tis the season for pumpkin desserts, so when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Little Pumpkin Pies, I knew that I had to give it a try.  Ginger and a small amount of molasses blend wonderfully with the pumpkin to create a lovely taste sensation. This recipe does not call for any cinnamon, but I never missed it.

So often dessert servings are huge. These Little Pumpkin Pies are perfect when something smaller is called for.

The old recipe suggested serving the Little Pumpkin Pies with whipped cream that is flavored with vanilla or almond extract. These pies are great by themselves – and probably would be fine with commercial whipped cream – but I highly recommend taking a few extra minutes to make homemade whipped cream. It really enhances the old-time goodness of these Little Pumpkin Pies.

Here is the original recipe:

Source: American Cookery (December, 1917)

Little Pumpkin Pies

  • Servings: about 15 2-inch pies (number varies depending upon size of pie tins)
  • Difficulty: moderate
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And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Pies

pie pastry (Enough for a 2-crust 9-inch pie – more may be needed if pre-rolled sheets are used. I re-rolled pastry scraps several times to make all of the small pie shells)

1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin*

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

2 eggs

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup half and half

Roll pastry dough and cut into pieces. Fit each piece into the small pie pans; trim and flute edges. (I used a fairly shallow muffin pan to make the small pies.)

Preheat oven to 425° F. Combine pumpkin, sugar, molasses, eggs, ginger, salt, butter, and half and half in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Spoon into pie crusts. Bake 15 minutes; then reduce heat to 350°. Continue baking (for another 15-30 minutes) until a knife inserted in the center of a pie comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Remove pies from pans. If desired, serve with whipped cream (see recipe below).

*Note: I used fresh pumpkin, but 3/4th of a can of pumpkin (14-16 oz. can) could be used. To prepare the fresh pumpkin for the pie, I peeled part of a pumpkin and cut it into one-inch cubes. About 1 3/4 cups of cubed pumpkin will make a cup of cooked pumpkin. I put the cubed pumpkin into a saucepan and covered it with water. I turned the heat to high and brought to a boil; I then reduced the heat to medium and cooked until tender (about 20 minutes). I drained the pumpkin and used my mixer to blend it until smooth. I then proceeded with the pie recipe.

Fresh pumpkin can also be roasted. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove seeds and membranes, then put it in the oven at 400° F. Bake for about an hour or until the pumpkin is tender. Remove from oven. When the pumpkin has cooled, remove the pulp from the pumpkin shell. Use mixer, blender, or food processor to blend the chunks of pulp until smooth. Proceed with the pie recipe.

Whipped Cream

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

1/8 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (I used vanilla)

Place the whipping cream in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Add confectioners sugar, and vanilla or almond extract. Continue beating until thoroughly mixed.

Old-Fashioned Squash Pie

If you like pumpkin pie, but are looking for something a bit richer and more flavorful, Squash Pie is the pie for you.

I used  heirloom hubbard squash to make this hundred-year-old Squash Pie recipe, but other winter squash would work equally well.

This recipe uses less milk and more eggs than the typical modern pumpkin pie recipe. Similarly the spices are just a little different  from modern recipes.  Many modern recipes call for cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger – the old recipe lists cinnamon and nutmeg, but does not call for any ginger. All of these tweaks are good – but the texture and taste are a little different than modern Pumpkin Pies.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Paste is an archaic term for the pie pastry. When I made this recipe I used my usual pie pastry recipe, but sometime soon I’ll try the old recipe for “Chopped Paste.”

Here’s the Squash Pie recipe updated for modern cooks:

Squash Pie

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 3/4 cups winter squash (hubbard, butternut, etc.), pared and cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 9-inch pie shell

Put cubed squash in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 20 minutes); remove from heat and drain. Puree squash. (There should be approximately 1 cup of pureed squash.)

Preheat 425° F.  Put pureed squash in mixing bowl, add sugar, eggs, milk, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pie shell. Place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°. Continue baking (approximately 40-50 minutes) until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.

Boiled Cider Pie

Old-fashioned Boiled Cider Pie is a delightful Fall treat. This pie has a smooth and delicate filling with a mild apple flavor and (even though it contains no milk) a lovely custard-like texture.

This recipe is from a 1905 cookbook published by a church in Berwick, Pennsylvania. I found the cookbook last summer when I was visiting the area in Central Pennsylvania where I had lived as a child. My husband and I were to meet someone for lunch – but we finished a visit with another friend earlier than anticipated. So when we saw that a tiny country church was holding a rummage sale, we decided to stop in to fill the time.

There was a sign which said, “Donate whatever you think the items you select are worth.” I was immediately drawn to the book table. There were lots of colorful cookbooks from the 1960s and 70s on the tabke. But then I noticed an a small dog-eared cookbook with  pages browned by age. I gently flipped through the book. Several pages were missing. But I could tell that it was old, really old; and that it was a church cookbook compiled by women in the nearby by town of Berwick.  My heart beat a little faster. I really wanted this book.

But there was no price. I was to donate whatever I thought it was worth.  I dug into my wallet, and pulled out a $1 bill, a $5 bill, and a couple 20’s.

I picked up the 1905 Berwick cookbook, and another small pamphlet from the 1930s that contained recipes. I handed the church member serving as cashier $6 for the two items. She said, “Some of the other cookbooks are nicer, are you sure you want these?”

I said,  “I like old cookbooks” and walked out to the car. The woman obviously felt like I paid more than enough for the items I bought. Yet I’ve felt a little guilty ever since. To me, the hundred-year-old cookbook was a find worth much more than what I paid. Should I have made a larger donation?

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Berwick (PA) Cook Book, No. 2 (The Ladies of Directory No. 2 of the Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1905)

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

Boiled Cider Pie

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

1 egg

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups water

2 8-inch (small) pie shells or 1 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

Put the cider in a saucepan, and bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently until it is reduced to approximately 1/2 cup (about 45 minutes). Stir frequently. Remove from heat. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put egg in mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add sugar and flour; stir until combined. Then stir in the water and boiled cider. Put in pic shell and place in oven. Bake until the top is lightly browned, and the filling does not move in waves. (This pie takes a long time to bake. Start checking it after 45 minutes, but don’t be surprised it it takes more than 1 1/2 hours for the filling to thicken.)  Remove from oven. Cool pie before serving.

Old-fashioned Raisin and Rhubarb Pie

When I saw a recipe for Raisin and Rhubarb Pie in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Raisins and rhubarb, rhubarb and raisins. . .  I knew that the alliteration was what drew me to the recipe . . .but, I kept thinking, what does this recipe taste like? Would I like it?

So before I knew it,  I was making a Raisin and Rhubarb Pie.  I was rewarded with a lovely taste sensation. The sweetness of the raisins perfectly balanced the zesty rhubarb to create a scrupulous old-fashioned pie.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Source: Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book (1917)

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

Raisin and Rhubarb Pie

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup raisins

1 1/2 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 egg, beaten

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon flour

pastry for 8-inch (small) 2-crust pie

milk

sugar

Heat oven to 425° F.  In a bowl put egg, sugar, salt, and flour; stir until mixed together. Add raisins and rhubarb, stir gently to combine. 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 15 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.