Making A Good Pie: Ingenuity, Good Judgement & Great Care

My mother collected cookbooks and I still have some of them.  They provide fascinating glimpses into times gone by.  I never know what I’m going to find when I start looking through one.     

I saw the following recipe while I was glancing through The Marion County Historical Society Heritage Cookbook published [I believe] in 1975.  The Heritage Cookbook had reprinted it from an earlier cookbook.      

This recipe, with its moralizing introduction and decided lack of measurements, was originally published in 1901 in a cookbook called, Recipes Tried and True by the Ladies’ Aid Society of the First Presbyterian Church.    

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“WHO DARES DENY THE TRUTH THERE IS POETRY IN PIE”

~ Longfellow

There are plenty of women capable of choosing good husbands, or if not good when chosen, or [sic] of making them good.  Yet these same women may be ignorant on the subject of making a good pie.

Ingenuity, good judgement, and great care should be used in making all kinds of pastry.  Use very cold water and just as little as possible.  Roll thin, and ALWAYS AWAY FROM YOU.  Prick the bottom with a fork, then brush with white of egg, and sprinkle with white sugar.  This will give you a firm rich crust.

For all fruit pies, prepare as above.  Stew the fruit, sweeten to taste;  if juicy, put a layer of cornstarch on top before putting on the top crust.

Be sure there are plenty of incisions in the top crust.  Then pinch the edges.

Sprinkle white sugar on top, and bake in a moderate oven.

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[After a bit of research I found this: Recipes Tried and True. On Kindle. For free.]

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

25 thoughts on “Making A Good Pie: Ingenuity, Good Judgement & Great Care”

  1. Good grief! This recipe certainly doesn’t tell you much does it? I have some old Farm Journal recipe books that I still love when I am inspired to bake. The pie book is wonderful.

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    1. kate, good grief is right. I saw it, read it, re-read it and then began to wonder how anyone could ever make a pie following this recipe. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the real point of this recipe was to tell some young wives that they were not up to Presbyterian Ladies’ Aid Society standards. 😉

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  2. I get get sweaty with nerves even thinking about making a pie. I’ve done it before but am woefully inept at the crust. My mom is good at it and keeps trying to teach me her method, but I prefer to have her make the pies. 🙂 I don’t like that many types of pie anyway!

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      1. Margaret, who would have thought that you’d become unnerved by the mere mention of making a pie! Perhaps you need to follow the instructions on this recipe– seeing as they’re so helpful and all.

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  3. I like to bake, but not pies. The only pie I’ve ever made was pumpkin–and it was in a store bought crust! And that was years ago for Thanksgiving when we first lived in SC and didn’t go home for the holiday. I think pie baking is a talent, and I think D is grateful for your talent!:)

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    1. Beth, I’ve always liked pie so I suppose I was extra enthusiastic about learning how to make them. I only bake a couple a year, and in the last few years I’ve gone to using the refrigerated pie crust because… well, why not?

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    1. Cheri, glad that you liked it. So odd to find it where I did, but worthy of note. I’m going to download the free version of it on Kindle and see what else is in it.

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  4. I can cook many things, including puff pastry which is tricky! But I just miserable at pie making, or at least crust making. But then, I have never successfully found or made a man either. I now suspect the two things are related.

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    1. Zazzy, wonderful observation! Apparently those Presbyterian Ladies knew a thing or two about the correlation between marriage and pies. And were more than happy to share it with all who would listen to them.

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    2. I used to be good at making pastry, but now I’m not. And I lost the talent before I got married. Hmm.

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  5. I’m a fan of Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, personally. Are they tender and flaky and perfect? No. But they’re better than anything I’ve ever made.

    I’ve been interested to read about how much food has changed over time, esp. chicken. So you can’t exactly follow directions on cooking chicken from recipes from the 60s or even 70s, because chickens are different now. What would once make a chicken tender will now make it tough, etc. Crazy.

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    1. J, I like those Pillsbury crusts, too. I use them most of the time.

      I didn’t know that about chicken, but I believe it. I know that in my mother’s lifetime she remarked on how different pork had become. The meat from her childhood was tougher and stronger-flavored than the pork she was eating in the 1990s. So, I can believe that chicken will change over our lifetimes. Still, kind of weird.

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  6. In other words: “Ladies! Get your priorities in order! What’s more important, picking a good husband or making a good pie? Now, get with it!”

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    1. nance, that’s my takeaway from this recipe. It had less to do with actually teaching you how to make a pie– and more to do with older, superior women telling you where your priorities should be. Young. wives. take. note. Love it.

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