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Gooseberry Meringue Pie

We had some gooseberry bushes down at the “80”, the pasture with the creek where we went fishing.  They were on the bluff above the creek.  I don’t remember us ever picking them and making something from them, but I wouldn’t have gone near anything made with gooseberries in it at that time in my life. However, as and adult I’ve tasted desserts with gooseberries in them and actually liked them.

Most people would be surprised to cut into a pie with meringue topping to find gooseberries under it. This Kitchen Klatter recipe uses canned gooseberries rather than fresh. It refers to the liquid drained from them as syrup, so if you used fresh gooseberries, I am assuming you would cook them first in maybe 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar, drain them and that’s your equivalent to the syrup from the can.  

Gooseberry Meringue Pie

We think that this is a scrumptious pie!  People who don’t like gooseberries or who say that they’re too sour and acid will ask for second helpings so if you’re tired of making the same old pies, we urge you to treat your family to this.

1 lb. can of gooseberries (2 cups)
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar (scant)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup flour
3 well-beaten egg yolks
2 Tbls. melted butter
1/4 tsp. Kitchen-Klatter vanilla flavoring

Drain syrup from gooseberries and add 1/2 cup water.  Mix together sugar, salt, flour and add to liquid.  Stir in well-beaten egg yolks and melted butter.  Cook until thick.  Add vanilla flavoring.  Gently fold in gooseberries. When cool, turn into bake 9-inch pie shell.  Cover with meringue made by beating 3 egg whites until stiff; add 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar to egg whites before beating.  Gradually add 6 Tbls. sugar.  Spread over pie and bake in a 415 degree oven until nicely browned.


Boiled Icing

This recipe must be well over 100 years old in “Swingin’ Along’s” family by now.  At that point in time the average homemaker didn’t have an electric mixer or rotary beater (invented 1884), so a wire whisk was probably used.  Mom had a whisk that was shaped like a spring in an oval shape attached to the handle.  I remember seeing her making a meringue using that whisk.  

Without a thermometer the cooked syrup had to be tested with a dish of water near by.  This clipping does a good job of describing when the syrup is at the “spinning a thread” stage.  When making divinity or fudge from scratch, you might cook the syrup to the soft ball stage by dropping a tiny bit from the cooking spoon into the water.   

I don’t think Swingin’ is referring to the density of the frosting itself when she says , “If you wanted an especially thick frosting….”  because the remedy would only make more frosting.  Instead, I think she’s referring to whether you want the frosting to be 1/4″ thick on the cake or 1/2″ thick.   She does advise about the perils of making frosting too thick on a stacked cake, though.  

Here is a boiled icing used by my mother over 60 years ago. The old rule was 1 cup sugar to each egg white used. If you wanted an especially thick frosting, add another cup sugar and another egg white.

She used to bake cakes for parties and weddings and would sometimes tint frosting a delicate pink, a feat that was rather hard to do before commercial fruit colorings were on the market, and when the layers were stacked up, lo, the frosting was as thick as the layers and the cake as tall as it was broad!  A little experience is all that is needed to get the knack; anyone who is adept with candies will know how.  The method of boiling the syrup is similar to that used when making fondant candy, and the finished product is like marshmallow creme or divinity.

For an average three-layer cake use 2 cups sugar, one-half cup water and 2 egg whites.  Beat whites to peaks in quite a large bowl, as they puff up when syrup is poured.  Combine sugar and water and stir cold to dissolve, then boil without stirring until syrup will spin a hair when dropped from spoon.  Watch closely; you can almost tell by the size of the bubbles when it is done.  Just dip in spoon, letting syrup drop off in a thin stream and when it is about ready the last few drops will spin a hair.

Lift immediately and pour in a thin stream over the beaten egg whites, beating quickly all the while to cook whites in hot syrup.  Continue beating until mixture looks glossy and is fairly thick, three or four minutes.  Add (1) teaspoon vanilla, stir, and it is (re)ady to spread.  Have layers cold or (coo)l, spread on all layers, let stand (a m)oment to be sure icing won’t roll (down, t)hen Stack. –Swingin’ Along, Iowa.

I’m guessing the words that are in the piece that’s missing.

Davis Pies

Three clippings appeared on one page for pies, but what’s a pie without a good recipe for the pastry.  One another page I found the pastry clipping in a similar font, so I’m thinking they all came from the same issue.  This print style may have come from the “Kansas Farmer” or “Grass and Grain”.   Wouldn’t it be great to end a Sunday dinner at Mrs. Davis’ house with a choice of either cherry pie or chocolate?  I think it would have been rude to ask, “Can I have some of both?”  What a decision to make! 

Davis Pastry

For a 2-crust pie, she always uses the following recipe.

2 cups sifted flour
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cool water

Combine flour and salt, but in shortening with pastry blender.Sprinkle in water, about 1 tablespoon at a time and mix with a fork.  Divide in half, pat into balls.  Roll out on floured cloth.

The Davis Cherry Pie

This sweepstakes prize winner is Mrs. Davis’ own recipe

2/3 cup cherry juice (sour, canned)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
3 cups well-drained canned cherries

Combine cherry juice, 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch and cook until thick.  Have ready 1 cup sugar and add it gradually to the cooked mixture, stirring constantly.  Continue cooking until thick.  Add butter and cherries, but do not cook.  Pour into unbaked 9-inch pie shell, add top crust and bake at 400 degrees until lightly browned, about 35 minutes.

Chocolate Cream Pie

2 cups milk
2 ounces bitter chocolate
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Scald milk in double boiler and add chocolate which has been cut fine.  Beat smooth.  Mix dry ingredients and add gradually to hot chocolate mixture  in double boiler.  Stir constantly and cook until thick, about 10 minutes.  Ad a small amount of it to beaten egg yolks, then stir egg yolk mixture into chocolate mixture.  Cook for 1 or 2 minutes longer.  Cool, add butter and vanilla.  Pour into 9-inch pie shell.  Add the following meringue.


3 egg whites
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar

Combine egg whites, salt and cream of tartar.  Beat until foamy.  Add a tablespoon of sugar at a time and continue beating until it forms stiff peaks.  Spread on pie until it touches the edge of crust at all points.  With a fork or spoon raise meringue in peaks before baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Butterscotch Pie

This clipping is probably from the Kansas Farmer for March 20 during the 1950’s.  I’m betting it was 1957 because March 20 was a Wednesday and I’m guessing the newspaper was a weekly, out on Wednesdays.  Anyway, there are two clippings in similar type for an Apple Pie and this one.  I’ve never made a butterscotch pie, but Thanksgiving is this week and this might be an option.  I think it’s interesting that they spelled syrup with an “i” and it passed the editors!  Also, with both cornstarch and flour in that amount, I’ll bet the pie slices pretty well.


Butterscotch Pie

This was her first pie and she has not altered the recipe since.

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packied
1/4 cup water
1/4 c butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 3/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Combine brown sugar, water, butter and corn syrup. Cook until temperature reaches 250⁰ on sugar thermometer.  Scald milk and add gradually to dry ingredients.  Cook 15 minutes in double boiler stirring constantly.  Add hot butterscotch mixture, stirring until smooth.  Pour over slightly-beaten egg yolks.  Cook 1 minute more.  Pour into baked pie shell.  Top with meringue or whipped cream.  See meringue recipe previous page.

Coconut Pie

After my dad died, Mom lived alone in her house for another 10 years.  Those first few years I lived close enough to take her on some outings.  Of course those outings included lunch and dessert.  When coconut cream pie was on the restaurant’s menu, you could just about bet that Mom would order a slice.  The kind of pie I’m talking about would have a real pie crust, a cooked coconut pudding, a high real meringue topping with coconut sprinkled on top which turned toasty brown, almost burnt.  Since that time, when I see a coconut cream pie on the menu I give it serious consideration.  My advice is to look around and see if someone else has already ordered one and what it looks like.  There are some meringue toppings that don’t look like they are made with real egg white… know what I mean?  Also, whipped topping definitely is not a worthy substitute for meringue.

This clipping looks like it came out of Grass & Grain, not Drover’s Telegram, mainly because of the typeface.  This recipe follows pretty closely the way I was taught to make pudding, except we didn’t fool around with any double boiler!  I can’t really remember Mom making any coconut pies at home.  A lot of people don’t like that texture, and it’s quite possible my “Meat and Potatoes, Apple Pie”  Dad and brothers were among those who didn’t care for those girly pies.  Can’t help it…..I still love a good coconut pie!

Coconut Pie

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups scalded milk
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
1 cup moist shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine cornstarch, sugar and salt in double boiler.  Gradually add scalded milk and cook over hot water about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add small amount of hot mixture to slightly beaten egg yolks and return to double boiler.  Cook about 2 minutes.  Cool and add coconut and vanilla.  Cover with meringue and bake at 350⁰ for 12 to 15 minutes.

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