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Good Pie Crust

Here is another clipping that looks like it came from either Jessie Young’s Homemaker or Kitchen Klatter’s Newsletter. Perhaps this was worth considering because it uses pure leaf lard.  What’s that? It’s made from the fat lining the abdomen and kidneys in hogs. Well, in our house, we were probably working with the lard resulting from the last time we butchered hogs. In my day, we didn’t butcher at home any more, so the hog fat was likely rendered at the locker plant.  When we ran out, Mom bought lard and I’m remembering a green and white rectangular cardboard container that was on open shelves in the grocery store and not refrigerated. Whether it was “leaf lard” I don’t know, but Mom was probably on the look-out for it after clipping this recipe. 

Another interesting thing about this recipe is that the lard is not chilled.  In most recent pie recipes and advice that I find in cookbooks or the internet there is a lot of emphasis on having the fat and the liquids very cold.  Mom never told me that.  I wonder if it really makes a difference or not.

Good Pie Crust

For a one-crust pie
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup pure leaf lard
2 1/2 Tblsp water

For a Two-crust Pie
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup leaf lard
3 1/2 to 4 Tblsp water

Measure flour without sifting. Add salt and sift into mixing bowl.  Add lard (not chilled) and blend with pastry blender till mixture looks like coarse meal.  Sprinkle water over the surface of the flour and mix gently.  Dough will hold together, but will be dry enough to handle.

Shape portion to be tolled into a ball; place on lightly floured pastry cloth or board and roll lightly.  Fold and transfer to pan, pressing into place.  Bake single crusts at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

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Burnt Sugar Cake

Well, this recipe doesn’t have a title on it, but I know it’s a burnt sugar cake.  I think Mom liked a little bitterness with the sweet taste.  It’s interesting how this recipe describes doing the sugar until it’s black around the edges. In today’s cooking show world, I’ll bet they would describe that look in such a way that we imagine the most beautiful carmelized sugar, or maybe everyone should be cautioned to not actually char the sugar!

I don’t know why this recipe was published this way, either.  It’s hard to follow when I am accustomed to having the initial list of ingredients required.  But, a lot of the recipes in Mom’s cookbook look like they were part of a “conversation” the writer is having with Hope Needham, Jessie Young, or the Kitchen Klatter bunch.  Can’t you just picture someone having a conversation over coffee saying, “Sure, all you have to do is first melt some sugar in your skillet, then when it turns black around the edges, add some boiling water……?.”

Burnt Sugar Cake

Melt 1/2 cup of sugar in a skillet until it turns black around the edges.  Add 1/2 cup boiling water and let boil until the consistency of molasses.  Then cool.  For the cake batter blend 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup butter until creamy. Beat in two egg yolks, one at a time.  Sift before measuring one cup of cake flour and 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour.  Re-sift with 2 1/2 teaspoons any baking-powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Add ingredients in three parts to the creamed mixture alternately with one cup of water in thirds  Beat batter after each addition until smooth.  Stir in three tablespoons of the burnt sugar syrup and one teaspoon vanilla.  Beat until stiff, but not dry, two egg whites and fold into mixture.  bake in two greased 9-inch layer cake pans for about 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  The icing is made with powdered sugar, butter, burnt sugar syrup, cream and vanilla.  Mrs. Edwards doesn’t know the proportions of the icing, but says to just stir it up until it’s ready to spread assuming that any cake-baker should know how much to use.

Well, Mrs. Edwards sure wouldn’t baby anyone in the kitchen, would she?

On the other hand, I found another Burnt Sugar Cake recipe some pages back in the cookbook.  “Wishful Mother of Three” gives a list of ingredients for the cake up-front and goes into more detail in her directions.  She also gives the measurements and ingredients for the frosting which I, myself, would need.  It’s fun to imagine the personalities of these two recipe contributors.  

Burnt Sugar Cake

Two cups sugar
1/3 cup boiling water
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put 3/4 cup of the sugar in a heavy skillet and stir over low heat until melted and a deep brown color.  Remove from heat and add the water slowly, while stirring.  Return to heat and ocok another minute, stirring occasionally.  Cool.

Meanwhile, sift flour, measure, add baking powder and salt and sift again.  Cream butter, gradually add remaining sugar, cream till light and fluffy.  Separate egg yolks from whites.  Add yolks one at a time to butter-sugar mixture and beat after each addition.  Add 4 tablespoons of the cooled brown sugar mixture (the rest goes into the frosting), and bland.  Add dry ingredients alternately with milk.  Beat till smooth after each addition.  Add vanilla. Beat egg whites stiff, but not dry and fold into cake mixture.  Pour batter into two nine-inch layer pans and bake at 350 degrees about 30 minutes, or until done.

Burnt Sugar Frosting

1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons brown sugar syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, water, egg whites, syrup and salt in top of double boiler.  Cook seven minutes over boiling water.  Remove from heat, add vanilla, and beat until thick enough to spread. — Wishful Mother of Three, Kansas

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