Tag Archives: recipe

Oatmeal Pie: Oats, Coconut, Maple Syrup

Oatmeal Pie

Oatmeal Pie piece with whipped cream

I’m an advocate for pie for breakfast at all times, but who could find fault with eating oatmeal with maple syrup in the form of pie?

Frugal and tasty, “Oatmeal Pie” demonstrates the make-do attitude of our ancestors in aprons.  As I frequently do, I turned to the Sonnenberg Mennonite Church Centennial cookbook for some vintage takes on this poor man’s pecan pie. After also consulting some web sites, I was prepared to try a variation on the Mennonite cookbook recipe that most appealed to me.


Sonnenberg Mennonite Church Centennial Cook Book

Please understand right at the outset, that although it is called “oatmeal” pie, the pie does not contain a gooey mixture of cooked oats–oatmeal.  Instead, the base for the pie contains either quick-cooking or old fashioned oatmeal–UNCOOKED. Also, although the name “Amish” is attached, other people probably made the pie also.  The history is elusive.

The original Amish oatmeal pie relies on dark corn syrup (Karo©), as do most pecan pie recipes.  However, I was thinking how delicious maple syrup is on oatmeal, and had decided to make a swap.  An experienced baker friend recommended that I include a couple of spoonfuls of the dark corn syrup to balance out the mysterious chemistry and characteristics of corn syrup.  However, by the time I got her advice, I had baked the pie. The good news is, the pie turned out fine.

Whether its a dessert or breakfast–try this old fashioned pie recipe.  Of course, I recommend my Perfect Pie Crust recipe, but if you are in a hurry, you can use a pre-made crust.

Oatmeal Pie with Maple Syrup

Serves 8-10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 20 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Old fashioned Oatmeal Pie makes a frugal substitute for pecan pie. It forms a chewy nutty crust on top.


  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cups coconut (flaked)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pie shell (unbaked)


1. Line pie plate with pie dough and put in refrigerator while you make the filling. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugars. Add spices and syrup and blend well.
3. Beat in eggs, one at a time. and mix until well blended.
4. Stir in milk.
5. Add oatmeal and coconut and stir in well. [ I thought the filling was too thin, and added two tablespoons of rice flour to thicken. This will depend on the texture of your maple syrup. (Use corn starch or flour if you do not have rice flour.)]
6. Pour filling into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees about one hour.


You can use Karo syrup or molasses in your oatmeal pie instead of maple syrup for a slightly different flavor.

Some recipes for oatmeal pie call for addition of nuts, which to me seems to defeat the purpose of substituting oats for pecans, but do your own thing.

As mentioned in the article, an expert in baking suggested it would be better to include a couple spoonsful of Karo syrup when substituting maple syrup to avoid the sugar crystalizing. However, my version did not have any crystalizing. Again, use your own judgment.

Thanksgiving Recipe: Pumpkin-Apple Pie

I love baking and cooking traditional recipes. But I have met one that is a bit intimidating. Athough this recipe for pumpion, a pumpkin-apple pie, is dated 1671, I have read that it was actually copied from another cookbook, and could be 25 years older.

Here is a pie that is as American as Apple Pie and substitutes for the traditional Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie.

Here we are, just one week form Thanksgiving–you MUST be thinking about the menu, right? How about something so different from your normal routine that it will blow the minds of your guests (or the hosts you are providing with a dish).  Frying sliced pumpkin instead of using pureed pumpkin. Combining the familiar spices with herbs. Mixing pumpkin and apples in the same pie. Adding a wine/egg pudding.  Do you dare do a break with tradition and do a pumpkin-apple pie?

Note: I would love to give you pictures of what this pie looks like, but all the sites I reference below have copyrighted their images, so you’ll have to click through to see various takes on pumpion pie.

Pumpion Pie
The Compleat Cook London: printed for Nathaniel Brook, 1671

Take about half a pound of Pumpion and slice it, a handfull of tyme, a little rosemary,
parsley and sweet marjorum slipped off the stalks, and chop them small, then take the
cynamon, nutmeg, pepper and six cloves, and beat them, take ten eggs and beat them,
then mix them and beat them all together and put in as much sugar as you think fit, then fry them like a froize*, after it is fryed, let it stand till it be cold, then fill your pye, take sliced apples thinne round wayes, and lay a rowe of the froize, and layer the apples with currents betwixt the layer while your pye is fitted, and put in a good deal of sweet Butter before you close it, when pye is baked, take six yelks of eggs, some whitewine or vergis*, and make a caudle* of this, but not too thick, cut up the lid and put it in, stir them well together whilst the eggs and pumpions be not perceived and so serve it up.
*froize = a kind of pancake or omelet
*vergis = verjuice, juice from unripened grapes or from crab apples or other sour fruit [Note that the recipe says white wine OR vergris, so you can get along without the vergris.]

*caudle= a warm spiced and sugared drink

Every reference I found to pumpion pie on the Internet shared a different opinion on how to make it.  Some ignored putting it in a pastry (or coffin as pie crusts were intriguingly called back then).  Some gave up on translating the unfamiliar terms, and just skipped the part they didn’t understand. But each reference added something to my understanding of the sometimes puzzling language of the 17th century recipe.

For instance, if I get up my courage to bake a pumpkin-apple pie, I now know how to make Verjuice or even better, where to buy it ( search for verjuice or verjus). Since the point is to have a puckery sour fruity liquid, I’m tempted to try unsweetened cranberry juice. After all, our Pilgrim mothers had access to cranberries. (Ignoring for the moment that they had plenty of wild grapes as well.) But the easiest route would be to substitute a not-sweet white wine.

After making up some pie dough (probably a tougher one than my flaky Perfect Pie Crust recipe) I would dip the pumpkin slices in the egg and then roll in the herb/spice combination and fry them in a large skillet. When the pumpkin slices are tender, I would pour in the 10 (!) beaten eggs (having used a bit to dip the pumpkins).  That would give me a omelet-like bottom layer for the pie. [Note: I would NOT use extra large or even large eggs, assuming that in the Renaissance they had not yet developed super chickens, I would use small or medium eggs.]

I would roll out the pie dough and line a baking dish — a deep pie plate or even an iron skillet, place the “omelet” in the bottom, slice apples into rounds and cover the “omelet” then sprinkle on currants, cover with a thin layer of sugar and cover with another layer of apples.  Dot heavily with butter and cover with a pie crust that is not sealed to the edges.

While baking the pie, I would mix the six egg yolks and white wine (or vergris if feeling particularly adventurous),add a little sugar and warm gently on the stove. Having baked the pie until the apples are tender and the crust begins to brown, I might remove it from the oven and lift the top crust and pour in the wine/egg yolk mixture, replace the crust and return to the oven so that the “caudle” will become a custard. OR–maybe NOT replace the crust.

I continue to puzzle at the last clause in the recipe, after the pie is baked and the “caudle” warmed– ” cut up the lid and put it in, stir them well together whilst the eggs and pumpions be not perceived and so serve it up.” So it sounds like you break up the top crust of the pie into the wine/egg yolk mixture and stir it together, then pour over to cover the pumpkin omelet? In that case, you would not need to return it to the oven, having cooked the egg/wine mixture on the stove and then further thickened it with the broken up crust. What do you think? The more I think about it, the more sense this makes, since a caudle is a drink like a warm eggnog that would be heated before pouring, but it would not be thick enough to hold up in the pie.

Suggestions for baking the pumpion pie, that chooses to ignore some of the instructions.

Different method–this guy purees the pumpkin instead of frying, which strikes me as totally abandoning the main thrust of the recipe, but he has several other good ideas.

The reprinted ancient recipe for the pumpkin-apple pie comes from Pilgrim Hall Museum. If you’re feeling historic in the kitchen, you can find more early Thanksgiving recipes in this Thanksgiving Cookbook available in PDF at the Pilgrim Hall Museum site.

PLEASE let us know if you try a pumpkin-apple pie, aka pumpion pie! And I promise to do the same.

Deviled Eggs and Other Devilish Foods for Halloween

Looking for Halloween food? How about something Devilish? Deviled eggs, anyone?

deviled eggs

Take a bite of deviled eggs.

From what I’ve read, deviled foods were popular in the 1700s, when all kinds of things were highly spiced, particularly with mustard and pepper and labeled “deviled.” Things odd to us today like deviled mutton and deviled tongue might be on the menu. Deviled shrimp and crab became popular in the 1800s and early 1900s.


Deviled Eggs

Deviled Ham

Deviled Ham Advertisement from 1905

And then in 1871, Underwood started marketing Deviled Ham, which comes in a very similar can today. If you automatically associate deviled ham with blah white bread sandwiches, check out the Underwood website for their modern recipes.

Rector’s Restaurant, NYC

The Rector Cook Book 1928

The Rector Cook Book 1928

My vintage cookbook from Rector’s, a competitor to New York City’s Delmonico’s in the 1880s, has several devilish recipes, none of which are terribly spicy.

Deviled Oysters does not sound too extreme with its “pinch of cayenne in oyster liquor and hot milk and cream to sauce the oysters.

Stuffed Deviled Crab Rector uses one pound of crab meat with a cream sauce that is seasoned with a few grains of cayenne and a teaspoon of dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce. Again, not too devilish hot.

Deviled Virginia Ham á la Rector achieves devilishness by simply smearing mustard on the ham and sprinkling with breadcrumbs. The  ‘á la Rector’ comes in the presentation–surrounded by a ring of rissotto.

The Rector Stuffed Eggs sound a lot like our deviled eggs. The recipe calls for mixing the yolks with parsley, cream (instead of mayonnaise). The eggs are seasoned with salt and pepper and a few grains of cayenne. George Rector also presents a recipe for hard boiled eggs stuffed with a pate de fois gras mixture. He assures the homemaker that they will perfectly acceptable if you use liverwurst instead of fois gras.

See a common thread here?  Cayenne pepper.  Recipes commonly call for mustard in deviled foods.


1925 Cook Book

1925 Cook Book Cover

Let’s jump up to the 1920’s and look at my vintage Buffalo Cooking School Cook Book. This book, inherited from my great aunt Maud, lists Deviled Crabs, Deviled Eggs, Deviled Fowl, Deviled Oysters, Deviled Sandwiches, and Deviled Tomatoes.

Those last two intrigued me. But I don’t think I’ll be making deviled sandwiches any time soon. Here’s the description:

Deviled Sandwiches. On Boston Brown Bread, you spread a mixture of almonds, sweet pickles, Worcestershire sauce, chutney, and cottage cheese, seasoned with a little paprika. UGH!

Deviled Tomatoes sound a bit more promising. Cook slices of tomatoes in butter, sauce with butter, mustard, sugar, hard cooked egg yolk and a raw egg, seasoned with mustard and vinegar.

Deviled Eggs.  This book has a totally different take on deviled eggs. Instead of stuffed hard cooked eggs, they slice the hard cooked eggs. Then they warm them in a sauce of catsup (!), mustard, butter, a little paprika and Worcestershire sauce.

I’ll save a discussion of Devil’s Food Cake for next Halloween, but if you want to read even more about devilish foods, this Smithsonian article covers everything.


Deviled eggs with paprika

Deviled eggs with paprika

Now on to my favorite--Deviled Eggs, as they are generally made today– with mayonnaise and mustard added to the yolks.  According to the History channel, commercially made mayo didn’t come along until early in the 20th century. That may explain the Rector recipe that uses cream.

At any rate, the least devilish item I can think of, and one of my family’s favorites, Deviled Eggs.

Deviled Eggs

Serves 8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy Egg
Meal type Appetizer, Salad, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Deviled eggs are not as devilish as the title suggests. Easy to make and endlessly adaptable, a favorite of all.


  • 8 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (Miracle Whip or Kraft Salad Dressing)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard (prepared)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon relish (sweet or dill according to your preference)
  • paprika or dried parsley (for garnish)
  • salt (to taste)


1. Slice eggs in half and scoop out yolks into a small bowl. Places whites on a serving plate.
2. Mash yolks with fork.
3. Mix mustard, mayonnaise or salad dressing and relish into yolks.
4. Fill egg whites with yolk mixture with spoon, or by piping.
5. Top with sprinkle of dried parsley or paprika.


Everyone has their own way to hard boil eggs for deviled eggs. I will just hand on a couple of my tips:

  • Use eggs that are at LEAST a week old (two is better).
  • Let eggs come to room temperature in pan of water before starting to cook.
  • Plunge cooked eggs into ice water and gently crack all over. Let cool completely before peeling.

If you are cooking for company, cook a few extra in case a few don't crack open nicely.

The yolks of six large eggs will yield about a cup of cooked yolk. Measure your seasonings proportionately to the number of eggs you have cooked (or quantity of yolks.)

Feel free to up the spiciness in your deviled eggs.

Toppings can vary according to your tastes. Some suggestions--cocktail shrimp, sliced olives, pieces of pimento, diced pickle, pieces of carrot or other raw vegetable. Let your imagination fly.

By the way, the argument continues to rage at our house about which sandwich spread is best for all things–including deviled eggs–Miracle Whip or Kraft’s Mayonnaise.  Oh well, there are worse things for a family to fight over.  But this family split guarantees that I’m not taking sides on which you use in your deviled eggs.

Why is Miracle Whip not “mayo”? Because food standards call for 65% vegetable oil in mayonnaise, and Miracle Whip has something less than that. That makes some people like it because of its taste emphasis on sweet and spicy rather than oily. But, whatever works for you and your family is what should go into your deviled eggs.