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 Tomato and Nut Salad (Stuffed Tomato with Nut Salad)

The dog days of summer are upon us, but the good news is that delectable garden-fresh tomatoes are plentiful.  So I was thrilled to recently find a hundred-year-old recipe for Tomato and Nut Salad.  This is really a stuffed tomato recipe. The tomato is stuffed with a mixture of chopped tomatoes, walnuts, and green pepper, with a little mayonnaise for added flavor and to bind everything together. The crunchy stuffing reminds me of Waldorf salad – though that isn’t exactly an accurate description since there are no apples in this recipe.

The recipe calls for peeling the tomato. I almost skipped this step- but it’s worth doing. The peeled tomato has a lovely velvety surface which adds to the presentation.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

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

Tomato and Nut Salad (Stuffed Tomato with Nut Salad)

  • Servings: 1 serving per tomato
  • Difficulty: moderate
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For each serving use the following ingredients:

1 medium tomato

2 teaspoons walnuts, chopped

2 teaspoons green pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons mayonnaise

lettuce leaves, optional

Put a pan of water on the stove; bring to a boil. Drop the tomato into the water for about 15 seconds: remove from heat and gently slip the skin off the tomato.  Using a knife remove the stem end and the firm core from the tomato and discard. Scoop out the tomato pulp and seeds, place in a strainer and drain off any excess liquid. Place pulp in a bowl; add the walnuts and green pepper. Stir in the mayonnaise, then stuff the tomato with the mixture. If desired serve on lettuce leaves.

Old-fashioned Scalloped Cucumbers

Why do we almost always eat some vegetables raw, while others are typically cooked? I don’t have an answer, but I know that I was surprised when I recently saw a hundred-year-recipe for Scalloped Cucumbers. And, since it’s cucumber season, I decided to give the recipe a try.

The Scalloped Cucumbers were delightful. The cooked cucumbers still had a hint of crispness, and when mixed with onion slices in a creamy sauce, and topped with cheese and breadcrumbs, this makes a perfect vegetable side dish. Cucumbers are a  tasty vegetable . . . regardless of whether eaten raw or cooked.

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book (1917) by Lilla Frich

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

Scalloped Cucumbers

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 large cucumbers

6 medium onions

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated*

1/2 cup fine bread crumbs*

Preheat oven to 375° F. Peel cucumbers, and quarter length-wise. Remove the seeds, and then dice the cucumbers into bite-sized chunks. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender (about 10 – 15 minutes). (Cucumbers are still somewhat firm even when cooked.)

Remove the skins from the onions, and then thinly slice. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender (about 10 – 15 minutes).

In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens.

In a large buttered casserole dish, layer the white sauce, cucumbers, and onions. End with a layer of white sauce. Then sprinkle the grated cheese and breadcrumbs on the top. Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

*The original hundred-year-old recipe also indicated that nuts or cereal could be used as a topping.

I didn’t salt the water when I cooked the cucumbers and onions: instead I put some salt in the white sauce. And, I didn’t “butter and crumb” my casserole dish; I just buttered the dish. It worked fine with the crumbs just sprinkled on top of the dish.

Old-fashioned Strawberry Bavarian Cream

Now that the weather is getting hot – and strawberries are in season – I wanted to find a recipe for a tasty and refreshing strawberry dessert.  I searched through my hundred-year-old cookbooks, and I think I found the perfect recipe. Strawberry Bavarian Cream is creamy and cool, and it made a beautiful presentation.

This recipe was in a 1905 church cookbook from Berwick, Pennsylvania published by “The Ladies of Directory No. 2 of the Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.”  I’m very curious how the cooks who made this recipe in the early 20th century chilled this dessert. Most won’t have had a refrigerator; perhaps they refrigerated the Strawberry Bavarian Cream in an ice box chilled with a block of ice, or maybe this recipe was often made during the winter months using strawberries that had been canned the previous summer.

Regardless of how cooks in 1905 kept the Strawberry Bavarian Cream cold, this silky, delectable dessert is a winner. I know that I’ll make it again in the near future.

Here’s the original recipes:

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:

Strawberry Bavarian Cream

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 envelopes (0.25 ounce each) of unflavored gelatin

1/3 cup cold water

1 cup boiling water

1 quart fresh strawberries

1 cup sugar

1 cup whipping cream

Place the cold water in a bowl; then sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let sit for one-half hour.

In the meantime, slice strawberries into a bowl; add sugar and stir to combine. (Reserve several berries to garnish the molded dessert.) Let sit for at least 5 minutes or until the sliced berries begin to become juicy. Then thoroughly mash the sliced berries until no large pieces remain. (I used a potato masher to mash.)

Add boiling water to the gelatin mixture; stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the mashed strawberries. Chill just until the mixture is no longer warm.

In the meantime, beat the whipping cream until it is light and stiff peaks form. Then fold it into the strawberry and gelatin mixture. Pour into a 7-8 cup mold and chill until firm (at least 4 hours). (I used a 6-cup mold and had a little of the mixture left over after the mold was filled, which I put into a small bowl.)

To serve: Quickly dip the mold in hot water, then unmold unto serving plate.

Note: This recipe may also be made using 1/2 pint frozen or canned strawberries. If frozen or canned strawberries are used as a substitute for the fresh berries, do not add the 1 cup of sugar.

Hundred-Year-Old “New” Scalloped Oysters Recipe

Scalloped Oysters are a classic holiday dish, so I was curious when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for “new” Scalloped Oysters, that called for tomatoes and corn in addition to the usual bread or cracker crumbs.

The old, “new” twist adds interest to this traditional dish. “New” Scalloped Oysters were colorful, flavorful, and easy to make.

Source: Good Housekeeping (April, 1917)
Source: Good Housekeeping (April, 1917)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

'New' Scalloped Oysters

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs or cracker crumbs (I used bread crumbs.)

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 pint shucked oysters (drain-though it’s okay if there is still some liquid clinging to the oysters.)

1/2 cup stewed or canned tomatoes

2/3 cup corn (if using frozen corn, cook and drain)

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter 1-quart casserole dish. Put 1/3 of crumbs in bottom of dish. Lay 1/2 of the oysters on crumbs, sprinkle with salt and pepper and dot with small pieces of 1 tablespoon of butter. Add layers of tomatoes and corn, using 1/2 of each.  Repeat with layers of bread crumbs, oysters (sprinkled with salt and pepper and dotted with 1 tablespoon of butter), tomatoes, and corn.

In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet.  Gently stir in the remaining 1/2 cup crumbs; continue gently stirring until the bread crumbs are coated with melted butter. Remove from heat.  Put the buttered crumbs on top of the previously assembled layers in the casserole dish. Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Old-Fashioned Fried Summer Squash Recipe

Today summer squash is often streamed or grilled, but once or twice each summer I fry it.  So I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Fried Summer Squash.

When I make fried squash, I generally “bread” it with flour. The old recipe called for actual bread crumbs.  The bread crumbs are a nice twist to this classic comfort food.

Here is the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: The Housewife’s Cook Book by Lilla Frich (1917)

Yellow summer squash  or zucchini could be used in this recipe. I used yellow straightneck squash to more authentically replicate the hundred-year-old recipe. According to Wikipedia, “the first records of zucchini in the United States date to the early 1920s.” Since this cookbook was published in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1917, the cookbook author won’t have used zucchini.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Fried Summer Squash

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 small summer squash

salt and pepper

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 egg, slight beaten

shortening or cooking oil

Wash and cut the squash into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper,  dip in the beaten eggs, and coat with bread crumbs. Set aside.

In the meantime, heat 1/2 inch of shortening or oil in a large frying skillet. When hot, carefully place the breaded squash slices in the skillet in a single layer. Depending upon pan size, the squash slices may need to be cooked in several batches. Fry for about a minute or until the bottom side of each slice is lightly browned, then gently turn and fry until the other side is browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Cook’s note: Some of the breading will fall off the squash during cooking. This is okay, the remaining breading is enough to make an attractive and tasty dish.

The old recipe calls for coating the squash slices with bread crumbs, both before and after dipping in egg. When I made this recipe very few bread crumbs clung to the squash slices prior to dipping it in the egg – so I skipped this step when updated the recipe. It works fine to only coat with bread crumbs after dipping in the eggs.

Old-fashioned String Beans with Bacon Recipe

String Beans with Bacon (and onions) are delicious, and they are quick and easy to make. This hundred-year-old recipe brings back vague memories of string bean dishes from my childhood.

The recipe calls for cooking the beans until they are tender – and I cooked them for about 20 minutes. They weren’t crisp like the beans often prepared using modern recipes – but I found them to be a refreshing change, and enjoyed this dish’s old-fashioned goodness. The recipe is definitely a keeper.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Larkin Housewives’ Cook Book (1917)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

String Beans with Bacon

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 pound string beans (use either yellow or green beans)

2 small onions, thinly sliced

1 slice bacon, chopped

water

1/8 teaspoon salt

dash cayenne (red) pepper

Clean string beans, remove tips, and snap into 1-inch pieces. Place in a saucepan. Add the sliced onions and  chopped bacon; then just barely cover with water, and add the salt and cayenne pepper.  Place on the stove and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce to a simmer. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, then remove from heat, drain any excess liquid (a little is okay), and serve.