Sunday, June 26, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly 2016 13

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #13


The Challenge: Pies

Make a pie! Meat, fruit, sweet or savory; traditional pies, hand pies, standing pies, or galottes - get creative, but make sure it’s documented!

This challenge fell at exactly the right time. I had some rare days off work AND it's Father's Day. I didn't even have to ask my dad what kind of pie he wanted- I already knew- his mother's famous blueberry pie with crumb topping.  My grandmother always used fresh blueberries, stocking up during a sale. She would make the topping and freeze it and used prepared pie crusts. In in the interest of making this a true challenge, I made my own pie crust. This type of pie, a crumble or a crisp, goes back to early America but I think this particular recipe comes from the 1960s. I found a similar recipe clipping at this vintage recipe blog.

I also added a bonus challenge to use my extra pie crust.

The Recipe: 

Nonnie's Best Blueberry Pie

Pie crust recipe from my Nonnie (paternal grandmother) with help from The Lily Wallace New American Cookbook c. 1947:
3 heaping cups full of flour
1 handful equal to one stick shortening
1 pinch salt
3/4 c. ice water

Mix flour, salt and shortening by hand. Slowly add ice water and combine by hand. Press into a ball and divide into two parts.

 Chill and roll out until 1/8" thick. Flour rolling pin and roll dough back onto rolling pin and into pie tin.

 Gently press dough into pie tin and prick all around with a fork. 

2 c. flour
1 stick butter, softened
1 pinch salt 
3/4 c. sugar (mix white and brown or use dark brown)
dash cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
Mix with fingers and knead until crumbly

1 1/2 qt. blueberries
3/4 sugar
1 T. butter 
1 drop lemon juice
flour (opt.)

Wash and dry blueberries and place in a large bowl. If very dry you can add 6 T. flour. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix. Double tinfoil in pan so pie doesn't leak. Squeeze a drop of lemon juice on the blueberries. Put a pat of butter on top and add crumb topping. Bake at 350 degrees. Check after 15 minutes. Give it another 15 if not done. Bake until crumbs are golden brown. (You will smell it when it's done!) 

Pennsylvania Dutch Funny Cake
I had extra pie crust AND I have Pennsylvania Dutch mini pie pans. This recipe came from  a Swans Down recipe and advertisement from September 21, 1953. I found it on Pinterest from the blog Dying for Chocolate. See the full ad on the blog.

The Date/Year and Region: 1960s New England
Crumbles, crisps, slumps and grunts that date back to pioneer times, according to This particular recipe, which is very similar, dates to the 1960s

Funny Cake recipe is from 1953 but it supposedly dates back a lot farther.

How Did You Make It: 
Nonnie was one of those old world grandmas who never measured. She had all her recipes in her head. Several years ago I watched my Nonnie make the pie and copied down actual measurements. She used a handful of shortening, a pinch of cinnamon, etc. I followed my own written directions.  I added more fat and more water to the crust and more fat and brown sugar to the crumbs. I let the pie crust dough chill for an hour in the fridge before rolling and then blind baked it for 15 minutes. 

(I poked holes in the crust, filled it with rice and baked). 

Put foil over the crust and filled with rice.
After blind baking my crust is lightly browned.

Smaller crush blind baked

For the Funny Cake, I made a chocolate sauce melting dark chocolate chips instead of unsweetened chocolate, which I didn't have. I made the cake flour by removing 2 T of flour and adding 2 T of cornstarch per cup of flour. I sifted that together. I creamed the shortening in an electric mixer and then sifted the dry ingredients together and then poured slowly into the shortening and mixed again. I followed the rest of the directions to make cake batter. Then I poured it into my two small PA Dutch pie tins.

I topped the pie with chocolate sauce and crushed unsalted peanuts.

 I poured more chocolate sauce on the cake before baking. My pie tins were close to overflowing!

and then more when I cut it and ate it. Oops we ate it too fast for a picture! Here's one of the cut pie/cake.

Time to Complete:  About 2 hours for the pie crust and an hour for the pie including baking time. 

The Funny Cake took about an hour.

Total Cost: Blueberries were on sale and I had to buy brown sugar but I had everything else on hand.

How Successful Was It?: 
Very. I normally don't like pie crust. It's too thick and tasteless but my homemade crust was really good. It's light and flaky. Everyone, including my uncle who stopped by, said it tasted like Nonnie's and it was delicious. I think I added too much sugar and too much nutmeg but it's still so good.

The Funny Cake was a pleasant surprise. My chocolate sauce was runny and not very chocolately. I ended up with more sauce than I needed so I poured some over the hot cake. The cake is very light and buttery. My dad thinks it could be eaten for breakfast. 

How Accurate Is It?: 100% for both.

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