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.
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:
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The 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:
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 . . .
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Au Gratin Potatoes are tasty, so when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe that looked similar to an Au Gratin Potato recipe – but with a twist (the recipe called for corn in addition to potatoes) – I decided to give it a try.
The Cheese, Corn, and Potatoes were very nice. The rich, cheesy sauce worked nicely with the corn and potato combination.
Here’s the original recipe:
The recipe calls for Cheese Sauce. Here is the Cheese Sauce recipe.
Ever make a recipe that turned out well, but that required some interpretation and tweaks along the way? Well, this was one of those recipes.
The first decision I needed to make was what kind of canned corn should I use – whole kernel or cream style? I have a vague sense that canned cream-style corn has been around longer than the whole kernel (though I’m not sure), so I went with cream style. I had two cans of corn – 8.25 ounce can and a 14.75 can. The small one contained a little less corn than called for in the recipe; the large on a little more. (The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of corn.) I decided to go with the small can even though it only contained a little more than 1-cup of corn.
Next I needed to figure out issues related to the Cheese Sauce. The Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop recipe called for 2 cups Cheese Sauce, however, when summing the amounts in the list of ingredients in the Cheese Sauce recipe, it was clear that it made less than two cups. The Cheese Sauce recipe called for 1/2 cup of grated cheese, but it did indicate that more could be used. I decided to use 1 cup of cheese so I’d have approximately the correct amount of sauce. All was good.
But, once I’d prepared the Cheese Sauce, I realized that 1 1/2 cups of diced potatoes didn’t seem like very many potatoes given the amount of sauce that I had, so I decided to peel, dice, and cook an additional potato. This gave me about another cup of diced potatoes, so I now had a total of 2 1/2 cups. (If I’d used whole-kernel corn, perhaps the amount of sauce would not have seemed to excessive – not sure.)
When I assembled the ingredients, I just stirred the corn and cooked, diced potatoes into the Cheese Sauce rather than layering; and, then poured into the casserole dish to finish cooking.
Whew, this recipe required lots of interpretation. Sometimes the recipes that look the simplest end up being the trickiest. This recipe required lots of little adjustments, but the final dish turned out well.
I combined the two old recipes into one. Here is the updated recipe for modern cooks:
1 – 1 1/2 cups canned corn (I used a small – 8.25 ounce can – of cream-style corn, which is a little over 1 cup of corn.)
Preheat oven to 400° F. In a saucepan , melt butter using medium heat; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Add cheese, and continue stirring until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. Add corn and potatoes, and reheat until hot. Pour into a casserole dish and put in oven; bake for 25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the sauce bubbly.