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?
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.
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.
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.
Occasionally a recipe that I pass over when selecting what to make for this blog will somehow get stuck in my memory, and I keep getting pulled back to it. The recipe I’m sharing today for Cottage Cheese Pie is one of those recipes.
I first saw this recipe for Cottage Cheese Pie in a hundred-year-year-old magazine almost a year ago, and made an image of it. But it sounded just different enough that I didn’t actually make it at the time. Every time I cleaned up my blog material files, I’d see this recipe again and wonder, “What does Cottage Cheese Pie taste like?” –and I couldn’t quite bring myself to discard the recipe.
Well, a few days ago I finally made Cottage Cheese Pie and I now know what it tastes like. The rich cottage cheese custard contains dried currants and just a hint of lemon. Even though I’ve never eaten Cottage Cheese Pie before, it immediately fell into the comfort food category for me. It is not very sweet–and could be eaten either for lunch or as a dessert.
My first reaction when I took my first bite of Cottage Cheese Pie was, “hmm . . . This is a little different.”
When I took the second bite I thought, “It tastes like cottage cheese, but it’s sort of like a cross between a quiche and a cheesecake.”
By the time, I finished the slice I was thinking, “This actually is pretty good.”
And, a half hour later I wanted to eat another slice (and had to struggle to convince myself that I really should wait until dinner to eat any more of the pie).
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (or reduce the milk to 1 tablespoon and use 1 tablespoon lemon juice instead of the extract)
1/2 teaspoon flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried currants
1 9-inch pie shell
Preheat oven to 425° F. Put the cottage cheese, eggs, milk, sour cream, sugar, lemon extract, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl; mix until combined. Stir in the currants, and put the mixture in the pie shell. Bake 15 minutes; then reduce heat to 350°. Continue baking (about 30-40 minutes) until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
Frankly I’m tired of the ubiquitous pumpkin pie recipe that calls for evaporated milk and a 1-pound can of pumpkin. Is it really necessary to use evaporated milk–or would regular milk work? And, of course, I then made the short leap to: How did they make pumpkin pies a hundred years ago?
I found an awesome pumpkin pie recipe in the Lycoming Valley Cook Book. It was compiled by “the Ladies of the Trout Run M.E. Church, Trout Run Pa”. in 1907. The pie is similar enough to modern recipes that it won’t alarm your Thanksgiving guests. They’ll just think you used your usual recipe–but that it turned out better than it does in a typical year.
The resulting pie has a nice blend of spices that don’t overwhelm the pumpkin. The recipe calls for just two spices (cinnamon and ginger) rather than the three or four typically used in modern recipes.
It also uses more eggs than are generally used in recipes that call for evaporated milk. Since the milk used in the old recipe contains more liquid, additional eggs are needed to set the custard. This pie also requires more baking time than modern pumpkin pies, but the result is a rich and creamy custard filling.
Here’s my adaptation of the old recipe for modern cooks:
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.
Notes: This recipe filled the 8-inch pie shell to the very rim, and it was a little difficult to get it into the oven without spilling. (Don’t overfill pie shell. If there is too much filling put the extra in a small casserole dish and cook separately.)
There’s nothing quite as delicious as some of the classic pies. I found a hundred-year old recipe for Lemon Creme Pie – more commonly known as Lemon Meringue Pie – in a small promotional cookbook published by the Calumet Baking Powder Company. The accompanying picture brought back memories of delectable pies made by my grandmother and great aunts at family gatherings – and I immediately knew that I needed to try it.
The lemon juice and grated lemon peel combine beautifully with the other ingredients to create a refreshingly tart pie covered with billows of light, slightly sweet meringue. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
approximately 1/2 cup lemon juice + 1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice from 2-3 lemons, depending upon size)
grated lemon peel from 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 9-inch baked pie shell
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine sugar and flour in a mixing bowl, then stir in egg yolks. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice, grated lemon, and water; beat until smooth. Put mixture into a saucepan; bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring constantly. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat and continue cooking for 1 minute or until it thickens. Put filling into the pie shell.
To prepare the meringue, put the egg whites into a mixing bowl. Beat until stiff peaks form, then beat in the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Spoon the meringue onto the top of the pie, and then swirl. Bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the meringue is a light brown.
People knew how to make lovely pies a hundred years ago. An old-time winter favorite was Butterscotch Pie with Meringue Topping. I found this classic recipe in the February, 1916 issue of Good Housekeeping.
The Butterscotch Pie is irresistible with a smooth, buttery pudding and a light, delightful meringue. Here’s my adaptation of the recipe for modern cooks:
Preheat oven to 325° F. Combine brown sugar and hot water in a saucepan, bring to a boil. In the meantime, in a small bowl combine the flour and salt. Gradually stir the cold water into the flour mixture to create a smooth paste; then stir in the beaten egg yolks. Add one tablespoon of the hot sugar liquid to flour and egg yolk mixture and stir to combine; then add several additional tablespoons of the hot sugar liquid while stirring constantly. When enough liquid has been added to make a thin paste, stir the flour and egg yolk mixture into the remaining hot sugar mixture in the saucepan. Using medium heat, bring to a boil while stirring constantly; reduce heat and simmer while continuing to stir until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. When the butter is melted, pour into the pie shell.
To prepare the meringue, put the egg whites into a mixing bowl. Beat until peaks form, then beat in the granulated sugar. Spoon the meringue onto the top of the pie, and then swirl. Use care to get the meringue spread all the way to the edge of the pie. Bake in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until the meringue is a light brown.
Custard pies were very popular a hundred years ago. One of the old-time fall favorites is Apple Custard Pie. The delicate custard taste mingles with the apples and a hint of cinnamon to create a truly special pie.
Old-Fashioned Apple Custard Pie
2 1/2 cups apples (cored, peeled and sliced)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 10-inch (large) pie shell
Combine apples, cinnamon, and water in a saucepan. Using medium heat, bring to a boil and then reduce heat; stir occasionally. If needed to prevent scorching on bottom of pan, add a small amount of additional water. Continue to simmer gently until the apples are soft (approximately 10-15 minutes). Cool slightly; then strain the apple mixture. Keep the cooked apples and discard the liquid. Set aside.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, salt, and milk. Beat until blended. Stir in the cooked apples. If the apples are still hot, use care to stir while pouring them into the custard mixture to ensure that none of the egg coagulates from the heat. Pour into the pie shell, then bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake an additional 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until knife inserted into center pie comes out clean.
This pie takes a long time to bake. If the top looks like it might start to burn before the center of the pie is solid, reduce heat to 325 degrees.
For this recipe, I used apples from a tree in my yard that, when cooked, get soft and do not hold their shape particularly well. I like how the cooked apples are widely dispersed in the custard; though, if preferred, firmer varieties may be used.