Tag Archive for recipe

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Pie

It’s a fact of life that nothing is so good that pure maple syrup doesn’t make it better.
And where I live, March is the time of the year when tree sap begins to flow and maple syrup is made.
It also just happens to be the time of the year when hens start laying again and eggs are plentiful.

Oatmeal Pie

A Slice of Oatmeal Pie

Oatmeal pie is an extremely sweet pie.
So sweet in fact that some people can’t tolerate it.
But those who do enjoy oatmeal pie can never seem to get enough. Many compare this pie to pecan pie and there is a similarity. The oatmeal gives the pie the effect of ground nuts and the bottom of the pie is gooey.

What follows is a very old recipe from the 19th century.
The recipe was adjusted for modern cooks in 1966 by one of my personal cooking heroes, the late Beatrice Vaughan.
So if you’ve never tasted real oatmeal pie before, or are curious about 19th century Yankee cooking, here’s my recipe based on Mrs.Vaughan’s.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Pie

  • ¼ cup of softened butter
  • ½ cup of white cane sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup (corn syrup may be substituted but will not give the same flavor)
  • 3 eggs beaten in one at a time
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1 unbaked 9-in. pie shell

Cream the soften butter with the sugar. Add the salt, cinnamon and cloves and mix completely. Next stir in the maple syrup, and then beat in the eggs thoroughly one at a time. Stir in the oatmeal and pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake in an oven for about 1 hour at 350F°. Cool completely before serving.
Serve with black coffee and a dollop of whipped cream if you’re really feeling decadent.

*Recipe notes
If you use anything larger than a standard 9-in pie shell you’ll need to double the recipe so that the pie filling fills the shell. I found that with a large or deep dish pie plate the filling is only about 1” thick and looks skimpy.

Beatrice Vaughan’s recipe uses only pure maple syrup. I’m sure because she was from Vermont, she would never have considered using anything else but pure Vermont maple syrup. I use 100% maple syrup from Northwest Pennsylvania or Ohio with good results. Maple syrup from New York or Canada also has a good reputation.

Some modern recipes for oatmeal pie use corn syrup. I’m sure the substitution came about due to the cost of pure maple syrup. If you use corn syrup or maple flavored pancake syrup the taste is not the same.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Pie

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Pie

Bread Machine White Bread Recipe

After a lifetime of his mother’s baking, and more than 25 years with me, homemade is pretty much the only bread my husband will eat. He’s a spoiled man for sure.
Usually I pick one or two days a month to batch bake. On those days I’ll bake 6 loaves of bread and make cookies and other flour goods. I freeze the bread and baked items so we seldom run out. But this spring I became involved in a couple of projects that left me little time and absolutely no desire to be in the kitchen.
So for a few of weeks I completely stopped baking. We eventually ran out of homemade bread.

So what to do? I bought a loaf of bread at the grocery store. No big deal right?
First off I was shocked at the price. Almost $4 a loaf! My goodness! I had no idea store bread was so expensive. And if the price of bread wasn’t bad enough, the taste, smell and texture was terrible. We couldn’t finish the loaf.
I ended up feeding the store bought bread to to the pigs. But while watching the pigs hog down the bread I had an “aha” moment.
It occurred to me that lots of people have been ditching their expensive bread machines and going Low Carb and Paleo.
Seems every time I go into the Salvation Army Thrift Store I see at least one perfectly good bread machine.

And sure enough later that day I had my pick of three decent bread machines at the local thrift store.
Problem solved. I stay out of the kitchen and the Mr. gets a fair substitute for what his mother and I do best.
It was the smartest money I spent this year. At the cost per loaf even if I had to pay full price for a bread machine it would have been money well spent.

Bread Machine

Thrift Store Bread Machine

Thought you might like to see the bread machine recipe I use for white bread.

Recipe for 2 Pound Loaf of Bread Machine White Bread

Add the following ingredients in order:

  • 1Cup of Warm Water
  • 1/3 Cup of Evaporated Milk (can also use regular fluid milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 1/4 Cups of All -Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Bread Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons of White Sugar (I use cane sugar because it’s none GM)
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons of Salt

Gently stir the dry ingredients together with a fork taking care not to mix the water or butter mix into them. Create a small well in the flour mixture and then add

  • 1 ½ Teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast

Choose the 2 lb. loaf setting with a medium crust. Start the machine according to the  manufacturer’s directions for your bread machine. What could be more simple?

Bread Machine White Bread

A Loaf of Bread From a Bread Machine

Make Jam Without Pectin

Well wasn’t I hopping mad yesterday morning.
I had plans to make peach jam from frozen peaches that had been in the freezer since last September.
I like to use pectin when making jams and jellies because it saves time and stove fuel. I also think pectin jams have a slightly better flavor. But my plans hit a snag.

Free Peaches

Free Peaches

I bought “Ball” brand pectin instead of “Sure-Jell” brand, and didn’t notice until yesterday morning, that I had bought instant pectin instead of regular pectin. Instant pectin is used for freezer jams and is not interchangeable with regular powdered pectin.
I began to do a slow burn.
***(Optional Side Rant)***( All the Ball pectin products look alike to me when they’re on the grocery store shelf. And if you  ask me, Jarden/Ball Brands should work on their labeling so the difference between the two types of pectin is more readily apparent to the consumer. When I called to complain the customer service rep gave me some line about how we the consumers demanded “green” labeling for the Jarden/Ball Brand. Give me a  break!  Next time I’m buying Sure-Jell.)
Well I cooled off, but there was no way I was going to use up gasoline or time going to town for a couple of boxes of pectin. So I decided to make peach jam without pectin.

Peach Jam

Jars Of Peach Jam

Making peach jam without pectin is easy.
It just takes a little bit more boiling. The jam will be darker and have a more old-fashioned cooked taste when compared to jam made with pectin.
The trick to making perfect jams without pectin is a candy thermometer and knowing what “sheeting” looks like on a metal spoon.
When making jam without pectin you first need to determine at what temperature water boils in your location on a given day. The boiling point of water changes by altitude and with atmospheric conditions.To test the temperature of boiling water and jam you’ll need a jelly or candy thermometer.

Testing The Temperature Of Boiling Water

Testing The Temperature Of Boiling Water

Once you know what temperature water boils at, all you have to do is add 9°F to that number for perfect jam every time.

Recipe for Peach Jam

  • 4 ½ cups of peeled, pitted and crushed ripe peaches (I’m assuming you already know how to peel & pit peaches)
  • ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice (that’s 1 medium size lemon)
  • 7 cups of white sugar (do yourself a favor and buy pure cane sugar. Beet sugar is now a GMO)

Measure out crushed peaches and place in the bottom of a large kettle. Flat bottom kettles are perfect for this, but any good heavy 8 quart pan will do.
Add lemon juice and sugar to the peaches and stir well.
Place the kettle or pan on high heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil. A full rolling boil is a boil that cannot be stirred down.
Once the jam mixture has begun to boil, occasionally test the mixture for correct temperature and “sheeting”.

To take the temperature of cooking jam, place the candy or jelly thermometer in the center of boiling mixture. But take care that you don’t rest the thermometer on the bottom of the pan. You want the temperature of the jam not the pan. Remember you need a temperature that is 9°F above the boiling point of water.
Sheeting on a spoon is another method to double-check and test jam or jelly.

Jam Mixture Sheeting On A Spoon

Jam Mixture Sheeting On A Metal Spoon

Sheeting is tested by dipping a cool, clean metal spoon into the mixture and quickly lifting it up and to the side.
You are looking to see 2 drops of jam that will run together to form 1 thick drop on the edge of the spoon. The jam mixture forms a jelly sheet on the spoon.
The characteristic layer of jam on a metal spoon is sheeting. It’s the method that our great-grandmothers used when they tested for the correct jelly or jam temperature.

Keep in mind that jams and jellies will thicken as long as they are heated. And it’s easy to over cook jam if you’re not careful.

If you are lucky enough (or foolish enough) to own a refrigerator (depends upon world view),
there is another and more modern method for testing jam when jam is ready . The test is performed by cooling a small amount of hot jam on a plate and placing the plate in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator.
While conducting the test, you’ll need to remove the kettle from the heat so that the jam doesn’t accidentally over cook.
The way that you do it is to place a small amount of hot jam on a clean plate and put the plate in the freezer for a few minutes. If the jam forms a gel it is probably done. But if the jam is still too runny it needs more time on the stove.

Foam On Peach Jam

Foam On Peach Jam

After the jam is cooked, and you are confident that it’s the right consistency remove it from the heat. Set it aside for about 5 minutes to allow any foam to collect on the top. Now carefully remove and skim as much foam as you can with a slotted metal spoon. It helps to rinse and clean the spoon between skimmings.

The foam does no harm to the jam. It’s simply removed because of appearance. The foam migrates to the top of a sealed jar of jam or jelly and has a “rubbery” look and feel to it. You won’t win any blue ribbons at the local county fair with foamy jam or jelly.

Lawrence County Fair Jams & Jellies

Lawrence County Fair Jams & Jellies

After the foam has been removed, pour the jam into hot ½ pint jars leaving about ¼ inch head space – maybe a little less. Wipe the rims clean and seal the jars with a modern two piece lid system.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a gentle water bath. Processing time is counted from the time the water begins to boil.

Peach Jam Processing In A Water Bath

Peach Jam Processing In A Water Bath

When processing time is complete, remove the jars and place on a wooden board or a thick towel. Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for 8 – 12 hours. When completely cool, check the seals and remove the bands. Store the jam in a cool dark location.

Jam Tips

  • Make only enough jam for one year. Jams and jellies lose quality if stored for too long.
  • Floating fruit is reduced considerably by stirring the jam mixture after the foam is removed and the jam has cooled down a bit.
  • Canned or frozen fruit may be used when making jams and jellies. In fact a superior strawberry jam is made from frozen strawberries instead of fresh ones. And I think the best pineapple jam comes from crushed canned pineapple.
  • Modern canning lid systems work better for jam than a layer of paraffin. Save the old timey paraffin seals for jelly and not for jam.

Recipe For Apple Pie

Here’s my recipe for Apple Pie. There are two methods presented here: a raw filling and a heated filling.
The raw pack is presented first and is the faster method. The heated pack is essentially the same as the raw pack. Details for the heated filling follow in the notes below.

Apple Pie

A Slice of Apple Pie

The heated apple filling is probably the superior pie and always looks better. If you get a chance to try both and let me know what you think.

  • 7 to 10 firm medium size apples – peeled, cored and sliced. It’s nice to mix a couple different varieties of apples when making an apple pie. Cortland and Northern Spy apples are my favorite for pies. But Granny Smith, Jonagold, Newton Pippin, Winesap or Honey Crisp are all good for baking.
  • 1 Cup Cane Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Juice and Pulp From 1 Medium to Small Size Fresh Lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Double Pastry for a 9″ or 10″ pie plate or tin


Step 1

Make The Pastry

Make a pastry for a double crust pie.
Please check here if you need a crust recipe or don’t know how to make one.
Wrap the pie pastry in wax paper or plastic wrap and set it in the cooler or refrigerator while you work on the apple filling. Pastry needs to be kept cold.

Step 2

Prepare the Apples

The lemon juice will help prevent the apples from turning an ugly brown. Lemon also adds a good tart flavor to the pie.
Cut, squeeze and remove the seeds from the lemon. If you run hot water over the lemon or place the lemon into a cup of hot water for a minute or so, and then rub it between your palms before you cut it, the lemon will give more juice.

Fresh Lemon Juice

Juicing A Fresh Lemon

Add the lemon juice with pulp to a very large bowl. You will put the apple slices into the bowl while you are working on them, so make sure the bowl is big enough.
Prepare the apples by peeling, coring and slicing them into ½ inch slices. A mechanical apple peeler and corer works well for this.

But an old-fashioned paring knife and apple corer will get the job done too.

A Peeled Apple

Peeled Apple Ready To Be Cored & Sliced

As each apple is peeled, cored and sliced, place it into the large bowl with the lemon juice. Stir the apples after each addition to insure that all apple slices get their fair share of lemon juice.
Step 3
Mix the Apple Coating
In a separate large bowl combine the sugar, flour, corn starch, salt, and cinnamon and apple cider vinegar.
Mix it well with a fork until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated.

Mixing Coating Over Apples

Mixing Coating Over Apples

The mixture will be brown and crumbly.
Turn the apples into the bowl a few at a time and mix with a wooden spoon to coat them.

Step 4
Roll Out the Pastry For The Bottom Crust
I always use wax paper when rolling out my pie crusts. But you may prefer a well-floured board, counter top or pastry cloth.

Roll out the bottom crust taking care that you don’t stretch it or over work it. Keep the rolling-pin and pastry dough well dusted with flour to prevent the pastry dough from sticking. Line the pie plate and allow about 1 ½ – 2 inches of pastry dough to overhang.
Step 5
Add Apples
Fill the pie pan with the coated apples.

Apples Fill Pie Pan

Filling Pie Pan With Prepared Apples

The first picture in this section depicts raw pack apples. The second picture with the butter pats depicts the hot pack.
If you look carefully you will notice a difference. The same amount of apples are present in both pies, but the heated pack apples take up less space.

Evenly dot small bits of butter across the top for either type of filling.

Doting Mixture With Butter

Dotting Apple Filling With Butter

Step 6
Roll Out the Top Crust
You’ll need to make the top crust wider than the bottom crust.
That’s because the apples will be heaped up in the pie pan. It takes a larger top to cover them.
Put the top crust on the pie, trim the crust evenly (I use scissors) and turn the edges under to seal the pie. You can crimp or flute the edges with your fingers. A spoon, fork tines or the handle of a butter knife also works well.
I usually cut a few air holes in my pie tops or use a pie bird to help vent the stem.

Pie Bird In Action

Pie Bird Helps To Vent The Pie

If you want to prevent the edges of the crust from over browning or burning, place thin strips of foil around the crust and remove the foil during the last 10 -15 minutes of baking. A commercial pie shield also works well. I don’t usually do this with a lard crust. But for a crust made with butter or Crisco it can be a good idea.

Also, you may want to place a cookie sheet on the rack under the pie while it is baking. Sometimes the pie will bubble over and leave a pretty good mess on the oven floor. It’s easier to clean a cookie sheet than an oven.
Step 7
Bake the Pie
Bake the pie for 40 – 50 minutes in a hot oven until nicely brown.
400F° is just about right.
Sometimes a really big apple pie will require more time in the oven.
Once the pie is done, remove it from the oven and place it on a rack to cool. Serve warm or cold.

Pie Cooling

An Apple Pie Cooling On A Wire Rack

*Apple Pie Tips & Hints*
*With apple pies, very often there will be a hollow space between the apples and the crust. It can be a disappointment for novice pie makers. But don’t worry you did nothing wrong.
There’s a fix for it.
The hollow space forms because the apples gradually shrink while they are baking, but the crust bakes firm where it started. The amount of hollow head space inside an apple pie can be partly controlled by par cooking the apples before adding them to the unbaked bottom crust.
Follow the recipe exactly as above, except in Step 3 mix the apple coating in a large kettle or pot and add the apples to it instead of a large bowl.
Next heat the apples on a very low heat for about 20-25 minutes. Stir the apples often so they don’t stick.
Take care that you don’t overcook them or you could end up with applesauce if you’re not careful.
After the apples have cooked and soften a bit, put the still hot apples in the pie pan. Cover with the top crust and proceed with the recipe. The baking time will be shortened and there’s sometimes a tendency for the pie to bubble a little more. I usually will make my pies by this method if I’m hungry for compliments, or appearance and presentation is important. It takes more time – but it’s worth it.
*Some cooks will brush the top of the pie with egg white or milk to make the crust soft or shiny.
*Place pies on a rack to cool and the bottom will not be soggy.
* A fluted pie pan makes a scalloped edge pie which is very nice for entertaining. Scalloped pie dishes are pricey but worth it if you make lots or pies or need to impress.

How To Make Foolproof Crock Pot Yogurt

Homemade yogurt is actually very simple to make. And if you ask me the easiest and most dependable way to make yogurt at home is with an electric crock pot.
All you need is crock pot, a thermometer, some fresh milk and a little bit of the proper type bacteria.

Greek yogurt is a favorite of mine and is also very easy to make. Greek yogurt is simply ordinary yogurt that has most of the whey drained from it.

Milk & Electric Crock Pot

A Gallon of Milk & Electric Crock Pot

There are many recipes on the internet for homemade yogurt. Some of them actually make what I would consider yogurt – but plenty of them don’t.
Homemade yogurt does not have the same firm consistency as store-bought yogurt. Store bought yogurt is a fake out and is thicken and stiffen with pectin, milk solids and other thickeners.

Homemade yogurt created without added pectin or powdered milk will have a top layer of whey that makes the yogurt thinner.
Whey is the natural liquid by-product of cheese and yogurt making and is easy to strain off.

Yogurt & Cranberries

Fresh Homemade Yogurt With Cranberries

The important thing to remember about homemade yogurt is that if you want to make it thicker, the whey needs to be strained from the yogurt . The more whey that is removed from the yogurt the firmer the final product. In fact if you strain off most of the whey from yogurt, you’ll end up with a delicious soft cheese known as “yogurt cheese”.
The crock pot method of making yogurt produces very dependable results. It is pretty much foolproof as long as you follow the directions faithfully. If you want success – don’t improvise.

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • 1 Gallon of Milk (4 Quarts) – Doesn’t matter what type of milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of Starter Yogurt – The bacteria for the yogurt has to come from somewhere. If you don’t already have a starter you’ll need some yogurt. It can be any type of yogurt but must have both of the active and live cultures of lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus. Read the label to make sure you have the right starter bacteria.
  • Electric Crock Pot
  • Some Type of Cooking or Dairy Thermometer
  • A Whisk or Fork
  • A Colander
  • Muslin, Plyban Cheesecloth or Some Type of Woven Cloth
  • Bath Towel or Woolen Scarf
  • Oven or Other Draft Free Warm Location

Place the gallon of milk into the crock pot and cover. Heat the milk slowly until the milk is between 180°F – 190°F. It is vital to heat the milk to at least 180°F.

Heating Milk In Crock Pot

Heating Milk In Crock Pot

The milk must be made sterile and free from all types of bacteria. The only bacteria you want growing in the milk will be the lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophiles that you will purposely add when you inoculate the milk. This is an especially important step with raw milk.

* Note to raw milk people*
You have to get rid of the other bacteria if you want consistent and dependable results when making yogurt. Competing bacteria can be a problem.

Allow the milk to cool naturally and undisturbed to a temperature of 110°F. It takes about 3 ½ to 4 hours to cool to that temperature. It is critical to the success of the yogurt that you catch the milk at 110°F. 110°F is the ideal temperature for inoculating yogurt.

100°F IsThe Ideal Temperature

100°F Is The Ideal Temperature

A temperature any higher may kill the added bacteria. And if the temperature is too cool the bacteria will not thrive.

If you are using non-homogenized or raw milk there will be a skin that has formed on the top of the milk.

Milk Skin On Milk

A Milk Skin Will Form On Non-Homogenized Milk

The skin should be carefully and completely removed. If you don’t remove all of the milk skin you’ll get nasty hard flakes in your yogurt.

Remove about 1 cup of warm milk into a separate cup or small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of starter yogurt to the cup of milk.

Inoculating Milk

Inoculating Warm Milk With Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus

Do not add any extra yogurt. 2 tablespoons are all you need.
The bacteria must have adequate room to grow and won’t grow properly if overcrowded. With a fork or a whisk, gently but thoroughly stir the starter yogurt into the cup of milk to inoculate it.

Next pour the inoculated milk back into the crock pot and stir in gently going from side to side. Do not stir in circles – use a careful and slow up and down lifting motion moving across the length of the crock.

 Whisk In Inoculated Milk

Gently Whisk In Inoculated Milk

Carefully lift the covered crock out of the electric base and place it into a cool oven. Lay a bath towel or woolen shawl snugly around the crock and leave it undisturbed overnight or for about 10 – 12 hours.

 Milk Covered With Towel In Oven

Crock Of Milk Covered With Towel In Oven

You want the milk to stay nice and warm.
An oven with a pilot light or electric light turned on works great. Do not disturb the milk and keep the oven door closed. If you open the oven door you may have a yogurt failure.

After 10 or 12 hours your yogurt should be solid with a layer of whey on the top.

Proper Yogurt Consistency

Proper Yogurt Consistency After 12 Hours

If you like a thicker yogurt you’ll need to drain or carefully pour off the whey.
The way that I do it is by pouring the yogurt into a colander lined with Plyban cheesecloth that has been set on top of a large pot. A rectangular piece of muslin or a clean dish towel can be used. I don’t like to use regular cheesecloth because the weave is too sleazy and open. If I have to use regular cheesecloth I triple the layers.

Straining The Whey From Yogurt

Straining The Whey From Yogurt Using Plyban Cloth

As the whey drains away from the yogurt it is collected into the pot and can be used later for another food purpose or fed to chickens or pigs.

Whey Left Behind From Straining Yogurt

Whey Left Behind From Straining Yogurt

It takes about 2 hours of draining to make a thick natural yogurt, and about 3 or 4 hours to make Greek style yogurt. Once the yogurt is the thickness that I want, I lift the cheesecloth from the colander and carefully dump the yogurt into a covered dish or large container.

Finished Homemade Yogurt

Finished Homemade Yogurt

I store my yogurt in a refrigerator or a cooler to keep it sweet tasting. Some people prefer a tart yogurt and do leave it out at room temperature for over 24 hours. The longer yogurt stays at room temperature the more tart it will become.
I try to always remember to save a little bit back so I have starter for the next batch.

Recipe For Fresh Blueberry Pie

This year has proved to be an exceptional year for blueberries. The berries are large and the bushes are positively loaded. I thought you might be interested in the blueberry pie recipe that I use. It’s an older recipe and my personal favorite.

Blueberry Pie

A Slice of Fresh Blueberry Pie

It’s not too sweet and is pleasantly tart.
The secret is in the fresh squeezed lemon juice and pat of butter.
Preheat oven to 400°F

  • 4 ½ Cups of blueberries
  • 1 Cup pure cane sugar
  • ¼ Cup of instant tapioca
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Gently but thoroughly mix the blueberries, sugar, tapioca and lemon in a large bowl. Set the blueberries aside for about 15 minutes.
While waiting prepare a double layer pastry crust for a 9” pie pan.
Line the pie pan with the bottom of the pastry crust and then add the blueberry mixture.

Making Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie In The Making

Dot the top of the berry mixture with the fresh butter.
Apply the top crust and seal well and crimp or flute the edges.

Cut a few slits in the pie crust or use a pastry bird or a pie bird pie dish to vent the steam.
Bake at 400°F for 45 to 50 minutes.
Cool and then enjoy!

Pie Bird

Pie Bird Helps To Vent The Steam From The Pie

Too Many Eggs & Impossible Pie

For people who keep backyard chickens or ducks, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing – especially in the spring.
That’s because this is the time of the year when small poultry flock owners are positively polluted with extra eggs.
But it’s a good problem to have.

A Slice of Impossible Pie

Impossible Pie

Early spring brings with extra eggs a wonderful opportunity to plan ahead.
When I have “too many eggs” I bake for the freezer or lay down eggs in a crock of water glass.
Pound cakes are one of my favorite ways to fill the freezer as are different types of cookie dough and baked cookies. Most cookie dough will freeze well and last up to 3 – 4 months when properly wrapped and frozen. Baked cookies when packed properly will store in the freezer about 2 -6 months without any change in flavor or texture depending upon the type of cookie.
So that means that the ginger snaps cookies I make this summer will be ready and waiting for me to defrost and serve at Halloween.

One recipe that uses eggs and is a favorite with my husband is Impossible Pie.
Impossible Pie is a quick mix dessert that is made in one bowl.
The recipe makes its own crust or bottom (not exactly a dry crust) and the center is a sweet custard with a coconut topping.

Impossible Pie reminds me a little of Coconut Cream pie or Rice Pudding made with coconut instead of rice.
It’s too sweet for my taste but many people like it.
Give it a try.
Maybe you’ll like it.
Either way you’ll be down 4 eggs – until you gather eggs again tomorrow.


  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • In a large bowl combine

4 eggs
2 cups of whole milk
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup of melted butter
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut

  • Mix well with a hand beater or electric mixer.
  • Pour the liquid mixture into a buttered 10” or larger pie plate or casserole dish and bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife comes clean when inserted into the center.Don’t try to use a smaller pie plate or dish with this recipe, because you’ll be sorry when you’re cleaning the bottom of your oven floor. The “pie” will puff up while it is baking and if the plate isn’t large enough it will spill over the sides.

Remove the pie when done and allow it to cool. I think Impossible Pie tastes best after it has been refrigerated.

Recipe For Shoo-Fly Pie or Pebble Dash

Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is good eating. And the Pennsylvania Dutch are known for their ability to “make do” and combine ordinary foods in special ways.
One of the better-known dishes inside and outside of Pennsylvania Dutch Country is Pebble Dash or Shoo-Fly Pie.

Dry Bottom Shoo-Fly Pie

Dry Bottom Shoo-Fly Pie

Shoo-Fly pie is a very old folk food and may have its origins in treacle tarts. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an Amish farm stand or roadside Amish bake sale that Shoo-Fly Pie wasn’t for sale.

In actuality Shoo-Fly or Pebble Dash aren’t really “pies” at all in the ordinary sense. They are more a type of fluffy molasses cake that just happens to be baked in a pie shell.
The recipe below makes a “dry bottom” shoo fly pie. Shoo fly pies can either be a “wet bottom” or “dry bottom”. Wet bottom shoo fly pie has as the name implies, a layer of moist molasses and sugar on the bottom of the pastry shell.
Dry bottom is the older type of Pebble Dash or Shoo-Fly pie.

Lard for the shortening of the pastry shell is the traditional way that this cake is made.

I personally don’t care for Shoo Fly Pie but my husband is very fond of it. If you love molasses and a not too sweet cake then this recipe is for you. It uses no eggs and can be made from ordinary pantry staples.

Shoo-Fly pie is traditionally served as a breakfast food with strong coffee in Pennsylvania German farmhouses. It is served slightly warmed and with whip cream in tourist traps.
Here’s the recipe that I use in case you should like to try it. It makes a single 9″ pie.

  • One 9″ Unbaked Pastry Shell (Traditional)
  • ½ Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 ¾ Cups of White Flour
  • 4 Tablespoons of Butter
  • ½ Cup of Very Hot water
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Cup of Dark Molasses
  • ½ Teaspoon of Salt

Mix the brown sugar, flour and butter together until crumbly. Remove ½ of the flour, butter & sugar mixture and set aside.
In a small bowl mix the hot water and baking soda until dissolved. Next add the salt and molasses. Add the water, soda, salt and molasses mixture to the flour, butter and sugar mixture. Mix well.
Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell or into a 9″ greased pie pan.
Sprinkle the top with the ½ of reserved flour, sugar and butter mixture.
Bake at 350ºF for 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Serve for breakfast with strong coffee.

Shoo-Fly Pies

Shoo-Fly Pies


Snow Pancakes

Ever hear of snow helping with breakfast or dinner? Well let me tell you what – new fresh snow makes the best pancakes! Pancakes or griddlecakes made with snow are very light and fluffy. And with all the snow that the eastern United States has been getting lately it’s a great opportunity to try this recipe.

Snow Pancakes

A Plate Of Snow Pancakes


Kids love to help make these and it’s a perfect snow day meal. Serve with sausage, real butter and maple syrup and you have a wintertime supper fit for a king!


  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1-tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1-½ cups of milk

In a large bowel mix and sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Combine the eggs and milk in another bowl.
Slowly add the milk & egg mixture to the dry ingredients.
Stir well and set aside. The batter will be thick.
Next grease your griddle and get it good and hot.
When the griddle is hot, quickly go outdoors and scoop up fresh snow.
Fold in 1-½ cups of new snow and mix well.

Mix In Fresh Snow

Folding In Fresh Snow

Cook the pancakes as usual.
Makes about 8 -12 large pancakes.

Tips For Snow Pancakes

Old snow won’t do. Use only fresh, light and newly fallen immaculate snow.

Fresh Snow

Clean Fresh Snow

Remember that pancakes are actually baked and not fried. So be careful about using too much grease. Lightly grease your griddle and get it really hot before you pour pancake batter onto it. To test if the griddle is hot enough, sprinkle a few drops of cold water onto it.

The water will dance on the griddle and disappear at once when the griddle is hot enough.
Over turning pancakes or griddlecakes will make them tough and leathery. Turn only once when tiny bubbles appear on the top.

Bubbles On A Pancake

Bubbles On Top Of Pancake

Old-Fashioned Ginger Snap Cookies

I made ginger snap cookies last week and thought you might be interested in my recipe.
My recipe is one that I’ve played with and developed over the last 15 years or so. It is based upon 3 older 19th century recipes. I have finally gotten my ginger snaps to the place where I’m happy with the result every time.

The secret to my cookies is ground white pepper. The pepper gives the cookie a bit more bite than some other recipes. Extra ginger is used in my recipe as is lard or bacon fat.

Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snap Cookies Cooling In Kitchen

For years I resisted adding bacon drippings or lard to my ginger snap cookies because I thought it sounded gross and would taste “porky”. But after going through old-time cook books and recipes and seeing the addition of bacon drippings or lard time and time again, I decided to experiment. I’m glad I did.
The result is pleasing. If you have never added pepper, bacon fat or lard to your ginger snaps you might want to give it a try.

Makes about 4 dozen 2 ½ inch cookies

  • 4-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-tablespoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2-tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper
  • 1-cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ – cup butter (1 stick)
  • ½ – cup lard or clean strained bacon drippings
  • ½ cup dark molasses
  • 4 eggs
  • Combine flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon and white pepper and sift into a medium size bowl. Sift again.
  • In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, lard (or bacon fat), molasses and eggs. Mix until very  light and fluffy.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  • Shape dough into a large ball. Dough will be sticky. Wrap in wax paper or plastic & refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 375°
Lightly grease 4 or 5 cookie sheets
Shape dough by heaping rounded teaspoons into balls.
Dip tops of the balls into sugar.

Dipping In Sugar

Dipping Cookie Dough Into Sugar

Place the balls sugared side up 3 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake until the edges are set and the tops show cracks.
The centers may be left soft for a softer cookie if you like.
The baking time is about 8-10 for a soft cookie and 10–13 minutes for a crisper cookie.
Immediately remove from the cookie sheets from the oven and cool the cookies on a wire rack

Cooling Cookies

Cooling Ginger Snap Cookies

*Recipe Notes*
Black pepper may be substituted for white pepper.
½ cup of butter or vegetable shortening may be substituted for the lard or bacon drippings.