Tag Archives: pie

Acorn Squash Pudding and Pie

acorn squash pudding

Acorn squash pudding serving with whipped cream.

Tired of Pumpkin Everything?

Thanksgiving is coming at us fast.  Along with all the traditional recipes, I like to find something new every year.  Here’s a dessert recipe that gives pumpkin a rest. And really, aren’t you about ready to scream if you hear pumpkin-flavored anything one more time?

Pssst!  Don’t tell the traditionalist, but I liked it BETTER than the very similar pumpkin dessert.

I love acorn squash. Spit them, take the seeds out, put honey and butter and nutmeg in the center–and maybe some sliced apples or applesauce, and bake them in a dish with some water in the bottom. But how about an acorn squash dessert?

Unfortunately, my husband does not share my appreciation of this long-lasting winter squash.  When I serve him a wedge of acorn squash, he scoops out a shallow spoonful, but leaves a good 1/2 inch in the shell.

And he does not have seconds.

LEFTOVERS

So if I bake acorn squash, I’m going to have leftovers.  And you know my opinion of leftovers, don’t you?  MAKE SOMETHING WITH THEM.

Which led to a quest for a good recipe for acorn squash pudding.  Along the way, I found the site, Historic Foodie, and this article on how early Americans used squash. Another article at the same site lists  all the squashes common in various parts of the country in the 17th and 18th century. (Acorn was known, but not common.)

Most recipe sites wanted me to make a pie out of the squash, but I was feeling lazy and just wanted to baked a pudding.  However, when I found a recipe for a streusel-topped acorn squash pie, I knew I had to try it — minus the pie crust. You can also just pour it into a pre-baked pie shell for a substitute for pumpkin pie. Simple and absolutely DELICIOUS!

My husband, the acorn-squash avoider is eating it up!

squash pudding

Acorn squash pudding in deep casserole

Note: I am switching to a new recipe  display, so bear with me as I experiment.  I welcome all comments on how the recipes look, or how to make them more useful for you,

squash pudding
Print

Acorn Squash Pudding

When you are tired of pumpkin everything, make a streusel-topped pudding or a pie filling from acorn squash.
Course Dessert
Keyword pudding
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked acorn squash
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp spices See Note
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk

Streusel Topping

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter chilled
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  • Scoop squash out of shell and remove seeds. Mash or process in food processor.
  • Mix all ingredients in large bowl and beat until smooth.
  • Pour into 7" wide, deep casserole and bake one-half hour at 350 degrees. (To ensure even cooking, put casserole in larger shallow pan with an inch of water.)

Streusel Topping

  • Mix flour and sugar. Cut butter in small pieces.  Work butter into flour/sugar mixture with your fingers.  When you have small crumbs, stir in nuts. Set aside until the first half-hour baking is finished.
  • After half hour, pull casserole out of oven and sprinkle the streusel on top of the pudding. Put casserole back and bake an additional half hour--or until knife inserted in center comes out almost clean. (With smaller diameter casserole, the streusel will be deep and the baking will take longer than for a shallow dish or in a pie.)

Notes

SPICES:  You can use pumpkin pie spices or blend cinnamon and nutmeg.  I used a lebkuchengewuerz spice recipe left over from making the German Christmas cookies.
PIE:  To use this recipe in a pie, put pudding into a pre-baked pie shell. Bake 25 minutes at 375 degrees, then add streusel and bake another 25 minutes, tenting the top with foil if necessary to keep it from getting too brown.

A Scrumptious Sweet Cherry Pie Recipe

Can She Bake a Cherry Pie?

A very young Burl Ives in Disney movie So Dear To My Heart sings “Billie Boy.”

Can she bake a cherry pie?  Finally, I can answer yes.  After all, I started baking and cooking when I was a young girl, so after 70 years in the kitchen, you’d think I’d learn something.  It took a combination of lessons to make this winning pie.

For many years, a cherry pie–the kind my mother always made to celebrate Washington’s birthday– meant opening a can of cherry pie filling and dumping it into a pie pan lined with pastry, then covering it with another layer of pastry.  I’m sure my grandmother and her mother and grandmother made use of the red sour cherries that grew in profusion in Holmes County, Ohio, but mother was a working woman and although she always made her pie crust from scratch, she took the modern canned short cut for the filling.

I hasten to say that I don’t usually brag on myself, as “it ain’t fittin’.” But my latest version of fresh cherry pie from scratch  definitely qualifies as the perfect pie.

Cherry pie

Cherry pie with streusel

Although I was the only one in the kitchen, I definitely did not do it all by myself–as you will see.

The Pie Crust

Of course, I use the “Perfect Pie Crust” Recipe. This post explains how many people helped me (some posthumously) to make a pie crust for the cherry pie. My Grandmother and Grandfather Anderson, my mother, and my brother’s mother-in-law all played a part.

Then, from somewhere, probably the King Arthur Flour website, I learned that putting a single crust in the refrigerator before filling and baking will help prevent shrinkage. I hesitate to tell you how many single crusts I have tossed because they wound up only covering part of the pan.

The Topping

From the Mennonite cookbook from Kidron Ohio–where my husband’s ancestors settled– I developed a love of streusel-topped desserts, so a twist on the normal streusel replaces the top crust of this pie. My thanks to Chef John at All Recipes for the suggestion of putting almonds in the topping.  I used flaked instead of slivered, and I liked the texture.  I also changed a few other things in his recipe, so compare the two before you decide which suits you.

Cherry pie served

Pie and served piece

Although brown sugar is suggested in Chef John’s recipe, and is standard in the Mennonite cookbook for streusel, I thought it might not be the best flavor fit in a sweet cherry pie, so I used white sugar. I believe that is the better choice.

The Filling

The big black Bing cherries that we in the West get from Washington State and Oregon State in mid summer, need very little sugar in comparison to the more standard sour pie cherries.  So taste your cherries and decide. There is so much flavor in this recipe, that I suggest using less sugar than you think you need, so that nothing distracts from the cherry flavor.

The extra flavor kick?  In comparing various recipes on line, I discovered this genius idea on The Spruce Eats site–add candied or crystallized ginger to your cherry pie filling. Just as almonds are supremely compatible with cherries, so is ginger.

  You may not have crystallized ginger on your shelf, but let me encourage you to try it out.  I keep it on hand to munch like candy, particularly when my stomach feels a little upset. Googling crystallized ginger will give you dozens and dozens of articles, some with different opinions, but to boil it down, there are some proven medical benefits to ginger. However, crystallized, or candied ginger does have a high amount of sugar, so you have to keep that in mind.  Substituting it for candy you might otherwise eat could help. Pigging out on candied ginger could cause problems.

The Spruce Eats site differs from other recipes in that they use instant tapioca instead of cornstarch as a thickener.  I already am sold on instant tapioca as a thickener, thanks to that Mennonite cookbook, and my late mother-in-law.  To me, cornstarch has a bit of taste that interferes with the main ingredients, and I just don’t like the texture.

And when that luscious cherry pie is baked–be sure to serve it with vanilla ice cream.

I hope that when Billie comes to call, you will be able to tell him “Yes, I can bake a cherry pie, quicker than a cat can wink its eye.” (Or in the version I learned, “in the twinkling of an eye.”)

The Perfect Cherry Pie

Fresh Sweet Cherry Pie With Streusel Topping

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 15 minutes
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold

Ingredients

Pie Crust

  • Single pie crust (Unbaked)

Topping

  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup almonds (Flaked or slivered)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butter (One stick/8 Tablespoons)

Filling

  • 2lb sweet cherries, pitted (About 4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (Cut in small pieces)

Filling (Optional)

  • 2 tablespoons candied/crystallized ginger (Finely chopped)

Fillling

  • 1/2 juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions

1. Make pie crust, or take from refrigerator. Roll out a single crust and fit it in 9" pan. Put pan with unbaked dough back in refrigerator until ready to fill.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheet with foil to put pie pan on when you bake the pie, and set aside.
3. Mix the Topping dry ingredients with a spoon. Stir in the vanilla. Add the pieces of butter and work in with your fingers until the topping resembles soft dough. Refrigerate.
4. Mix the tapioca, sugar and ginger and pour over cherries in large bowl. Pour over that the juice of 1/2 lemon, and stir in gently. Let this sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
5. Remove unbaked pie shell from refrigerator. Pour in cherries, scraping an accumulated juices from the bowl, spread evenly across crust.
6. Dot with small pieces of butter.
7. Crumble the topping with your fingers and scatter evenly across the top of the cherries, leaving holes in the topping for juices to rise.
8. Put pie on the aluminum lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until nicely browned.

Grandma’s Lemon Sponge Pie or Chess Pie?

Lemon pies

Grandma Vera’s Lemon Sponge pie squares off with Joy of Cooking’s Lemon Chess pie.

When a neighbor offered to let me pick as many lemons as I wanted from his lemon tree, I went a little crazy.  As I juiced those lemons on a 55-year-old electric  juicer, I pondered how I would use these lemons. I wanted to try something other than the standard custard lemon pie with meringue. The winners were: Lemon Bars, Lemon Chess pie, and Grandma Vera Anderson’s Lemon Sponge Pie. The two pies held a competition. By the way, I would have made my favorite lemon pie with whole slices of lemon rather than a custard filling. But these lemons were small, and seed-filled.  Not appropriate for that pie. So let the Bake-Off begin.

Read below the recipes what the taste-testers had to say.

electric juicer

Proctor-Silex electric juicer 1960

 

 

I got my electric juicer for a wedding present, and other than the fact that the strainer insert melted when it dropped onto the heating element in the dishwasher, the juicer is still kicking.  It is much easier than juicing by hand, and I have no need for those enormous juicers that are all the fashion now.

I wish I could find another one of these, just like the vintage version. (Gives me pause to realize something I have used personally all its life is now vintage.)

 

Perfect Pie Crust

Both these recipes were made with my not-so-secret recipe for perfect pie crust, but with the chess pie the crust turned cumbly and more like a cookie crust. All that butter and those eggs. However, the pie dough was as easy as ever to make and manipulate. So if you haven’t tried it, take a look at the most popular recipe on this site–perfect pie crust.

 

Lemon Chess Pie

In Joy of Cooking, I found a recipe for Chess Pie, followed by a version that makes it Lemon Chess Pie. It is described as having a “sparkling translucency and a smooth, soft, and melting texture.”   That wasn’t the way I saw it. It was translucent, but so sticky sweet I could only eat two bites. Others who ate it actually loved it, though.

Basic Chess Pie (without lemon) comes from the Southern states, where it is a staple. Although I searched and searched, I could find no definitive explanation of the name. Several theories, but no one knows for sure from whence came the name for this sweet Southern treat.  The Joy of Cooking recipe diverges from traditional Chess Pie recipes I found on line, particularly in the method of dotting butter on top instead of mixing it in.

Recipe follows.

Lemon Chess Pie

Serves 10
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
From book Joy of cooking.
This recipe for Chess Pie from Joy of cooking is very rich. You will want to serve it in small slices.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg (large)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pie crust, baked

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Warm pie crust in oven while you are mixing filling.
2. Mix egg, egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest in bowl and whisk (Joy of Cooking suggests setting the bowl in a skillet with simmering water as you whisk.)
3. Whisk in liquids
4. Lemon Chess Pie
Pour into pie shell and dot the butter over the top. (The dotted butter resulted in a freckled top for me. Alternately, you may follow the more traditional method of mixing softened butter into the sugar before step one.)
5. Bake at 350 degrees, until edges are firm and center quiers like Jell-o when shaken gently. ( Joy of Cooking called for 45 minutes at 250 degrees, but I don't think that is warm enough. My oven took over an hour and I raised the temperature to 350 for the last 15 minutes.)
6. Top with meringue if you wish.

Grandma Vera’s Lemon Sponge Pie

Unfortunately, I have far too few recipes from my grandmother, but I have had this recipe for lemon sponge pie in my recipe box for years, and just never got around to trying it out. In checking for other versions of this pie, I found an identical recipe on line labeled as a traditional Amish recipe. I do not know where Grandma got the recipe, but the probable Amish source did not surprise me.  Killbuck, Ohio, where Grandma lived, lies in an area of Ohio settled by German and Amish immigrants,and familiar foods there tend to come from either England or Germany.

I doubled the recipe for my larger pie pan and got a bonus of two dishes of custard. I also reduced the sugar a bit, knowing that grandma had an insatiable sweet tooth.  I prefer to emphasize the lemon in lemon desserts.

When I make a dish with egg whites folded in, I always want to call all my friends and relatives to see it the moment it comes out of the oven. Because they beautiful pillowy effect is going to disappear in a minute.

Lemon Sponge Pie

Serves 8-10
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
A vintage Lemon Sponge Pie from my grandmother's recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 pie shell, unbaked
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 heaped tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • lemon peel (from one lemon (lemon zest, grated fine))

Directions

1. Put pie shell in refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
2. Mix sugar and melted butter.
3. Whisk in egg yolks
4. .Stir in half the milk, add the flour, then stir in the rest of milk
5. In clean bowl with clean beaters on electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff.
6. Mix the lemon juice and peel into the batter. Then fold in the egg whites until there are no streaks of white.
7. Pour into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Raise temperature to 375 degrees for another 15 minutes.

Note

The recipe as Grandma wrote it looked a bit small for my 9" pie pans, so I doubled the recipe. That way it yielded one large pie and two dessert dishes of custard. The only thing I did not double was the sugar. I like the lemon to shine through, so I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar instead of the full 2 cups. Your call.

Grandmother's instructions for making the pie were simply, "Cream together like cake. Add milk and fold in egg whites beaten stiff." I went into more detail than Grandma, just in case readers needed more help.

Grandma calls for "lemon peel", which we nowadays call lemon zest. That's what she meant--just the yellow part of the lemon peel, grated fine. I don't recall ever hearing the word "zest" in Ohio when I was growing up--it was always "lemon peel" and everyone knew that didn't include the bitter white lining of the peeling.

Don't be alarmed when the pie raises very high and then quickly sinks. That's the nature of the beast with puddings with so much beaten egg white.

The Votes Are In

Male #1: The sponge pie doesn’t taste lemony enough. It is not nearly as good as the other pie. The crust on the other pie was delicious. [As I mentioned above, it was actually the same crust on both pies, but  the ingredients made the Chess Pie crust more sugary.]

Female #1: The Sponge Pie sort of had the texture of a cheesecake, but lighter. But the Chess Pie was more lemony. I liked the crust of the Chess Pie–it was crispier and thinner. Definitely preferred the Chess Pie. It was like a Lemon Bar cookie.

Male #2: Definitely preferred the Chess Pie.  The crust was better and it tasted more strongly of lemons.  The texture of the Sponge Pie looked nice, but it was a let down after the Chess Pie. There really was no comparison.

Female #2: Preferred the Chess Pie.  Both were good, but I liked the calories (ha,ha) in the Chess pie. [the sweetness] The Sponge Pie had a tangy, lemony aftertaste which I enjoyed. The Sponge Pie was kind of like eating cheesecake, with a lemon flavor.

So there you have it. Sorry, Grandma Vera, I’m the only person who actually preferred your pie. I thought the Chess pie was cloyingly sweet (you would have loved it!). I would have preferred a stronger lemon flavor in the Sponge Pie but it would take some experimenting to see how to get that without messing up the texture.