One of these days, I’m going to start going through some of the other cookbooks I have on my shelf, like the community cookbooks made by church groups, women’s clubs and especially the Kidron Ohio 100th Anniversary Cookbook. But for now, I’m happily stuck in Great Aunt Maude’s (Mary Emaline “Maude” Stout Bartlett) Buffalo Evening News The Home Makers’ Cooking School Cook Book. That’s the one where I got this ham and potato recipe and where I found today’s cheese pie recipe.
There are only a few of the pages in the book that bear signs that Aunt Maude actually cooked the recipes therein, and I’ll be sharing those down the road–including Baked Alaska! But who knows? She may have at least gotten inspiration from some of these recipes. She may have done what I do. See what I have on hand that needs to be used, and look for a recipe.
That’s how I discovered their Cheese Pie recipe. I had an unused pie shell and some ricotta cheese. The Cheese Pie recipe is pretty much like cheese cake (the kind made with cottage cheese instead of the New York cream cheese variety), except that it is baked in a regular pie shell instead of a graham cracker crust.
The other big difference is that it is topped with meringue. That intrigued me. Although I have some strawberries and was tempted to just make a delicious sounding strawberry sauce I found in the book to top the cheese cake, I decided to stick to the recipe and try something old that is new to me.
Don’t be afraid of meringue, if you’ve never tried it–or if you’ve tried and came up with egg-white soup instead of nice crisp peaks. Most modern recipes call for a bit of cream of tartar which helps ensure the egg whites stand up firmly. But I followed this recipe which only uses sugar. Here are my hints for making nice stiff egg whites:
- Use 3 scrupulously clean bowls for separating the eggs.Not that I’m accusing you of not having clean dishes… but a tiny bead of something greasy will mess up egg whites.
- Break the egg and let the white fall down into a small bowl. Toss the yolk into a 2nd bowl. Immediately pour the white into a larger bowl that you’re going to use to beat it. Repeat with the second egg. Experience has taught me not to try to let the white fall into the bowl with other whites–or the bowl where I’m going to beat them. Too many chances that a bit of yolk will get in there and ruin the whole thing.
- Use an electric mixer (with a whisk attachment if you have one, although it is not mandatory) but do not use a blender or food processor, as it will not fold in air, which is what this is all about.
- If you’re a back-to-nature type, then use your hand whisk–or one of these things–anybody still use them?
- Be sure that you beat the eggs until they are frothy all through (not just on the top) before you add the sugar and continue beating until sharp ridges form. (You can overdo a good thing, so stop while you’re ahead.)
- Don’t overdo the sugar.
I did make one adjustment in the cheese pie recipe. I used ricotta cheese instead of regular cottage cheese. As usual in these older cookbooks, you’ll notice they don’t say small curd, large curd, low fat, reduced fat, or any other adjectives before cottage cheese. In 1925, cottage cheese was cottage cheese.
The directions for temperature and time are a bit vague, so I’ve added some suggestions to the cheese pie recipe.
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