Saturday, March 14, 2015

Reposting for Pi (e) Day, 3.14.15

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pyrex Bowls and Pumpkin Pie

September marks the start of autumn, so to celebrate a few days early, I decided to make a pumpkin pie using sweetened condensed milk (the thick kind that comes in a can, containing added sugar) and an old recipe for pie crust.

To start, I needed mixing bowls.  I'd found this set of four stackable Pyrex mixing bowls at an estate sale.

I'd also found a copy of a 1951 women's magazine with an ad for this set of bowls at the estate sale: the original owner paid $2.95 for the set.

Next, I needed to decide which recipe to use for pie crust, so I consulted the Good and Easy Cookbook, first published in 1954 -- which I also found at an estate sale.

I selected a recipe, got out the largest, yellow, Pyrex mixing bowl, preheated my oven to 425 degrees, and set to work.

Recipe for Single Pie Crust (8 or 9 inches wide)

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
3 tablespoons water (I used ice water)

Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl; cut in the shortening.  Sprinkle with water and form into a ball.  Place the ball on a floured flat surface -- in this case, the cloth pastry frame I found at another estate sale.

Put some flour on the rolling pin and roll the dough flat from the center outwards (roll from the center to the top, then from the center to the bottom, center to right, center to left, and so on until the crust is the desired size and thickness).

Roll the dough until it's about an inch larger than the pie pan you're going to use.  Carefully lift the dough and place it in the pie pan, then cut off the jagged edges and flute the edges crust in the pan with your fingers.  

I used a pale yellow Fiesta Ware pie plate.

What to do with the extra pieces of pie crust?  Place them on a flat baking sheet and sprinkle them with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice and sugar.  You've already preheated the oven to 425 degrees, so while you are making the pie filling, bake the crust shards until they are golden brown.  Remove them from the oven and let them cool.  This gives over-eager pie aficionados something to snack on while the pie itself is being baked.

For the pumpkin pie filling, combine in a mixing bowl (your choice of colors, but one of the larger ones):

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
A pinch of black pepper

Beat the ingredients together thoroughly and pour into the prepared pie crust.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking the pie for another 30-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center of the pie filling (about an inch or so from the center) comes out clean.  Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool.  Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream.  Refrigerate any leftover pie.  (I'm told that pie is also good for breakfast.)

Food tradition: My grandmother always added a tiny amount of black pepper to recipes that called for cinnamon, ginger and/or nutmeg.  She said the pepper helped bring out the flavors of the other spices.

Food history lesson: Sweetened condensed milk was patented in 1856 by a Mr. Gail Borden, of dairy fame.  He (and others) developed canned milk in response to the fact that fresh milk didn't keep very long, back then.  Adding sugar inhibited bacterial growth.

And there it is: an old-school pumpkin pie, baked with love and some help from things I found at estate sales.

Here are some more food-related blog posts on The Estate Sale Chronicles:

A recipe for sugar cookies from the Good and Easy Cookbook:

The cloth pastry frame:

Here's a link to an article on the history of canned milk (regular and sweetened condensed):

And a website devoted to the love of Pyrex:

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