Saturday, January 26, 2013

Angel Pie I from Ruthy's Historic Bedford Collection

I've talked about how I love old cookbooks.... I even published a roasted possum recipe last year just to make youse cringe!!!

It was kind of fun in a sick, twisted way.

And there was cringing going on.

Well, this old cookbook is from the well-to-do area north of New York City. Put out by the Bedford Garden Club in 1953 (yes, before we were born!!!), these ladies earned money from the sale of the book to plant pretty flowers in their historic town.  I love flowers and old recipes, so this book was a double-win for me!

I found it at an antique cooperative while researching His Mistletoe Family (yes, that's a live link to Amazon, they have His Mistletoe Family in paperback and on Kindle!!!) and had to buy it. It was $4.

FOUR DOLLARS for a gem like this!!!!!

Anyway, I've been leafing through the recipes and today we're doing the "Angel Pie I" from Mrs. Robert Grosjean. Most of the ladies signed in appropriate Miss Manners style, using their husband's names after the "Mrs."... In her notes for this recipe, however, she writes "Stolen from a Norwegian cook."

Clearly she and I think alike!!! I did some research on the ladies involved in this endeavor, but none of the ones I searched for online are still living... and the Garden Club itself is gone, although a new one has been started.

And if you've never been to the areas north of New York City, the sprawling hills, streams and mountains that climb northward, it is a beautiful and historic trip. Just gorgeous! Think "Last of the Mohicans" kind of gorgeous. "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" kind of beautiful. Wonderful towns and villages.... Anyway, this book is filled with gems to share, recipe ideas you just don't see in today's cookbooks. And that's what makes it so delightfully special!

Angel Pie I

Stolen from a Norwegian cook (I love this line every time I see it!!!!)


4 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup sugar

Beat 4 egg whites with 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar and 1 cup sugar. Beat stiff. pour into 9" pie plate and bake in slow 300 degree oven for one hour. Light oven as you put in shell. Let cool.

This is the raw meringue in the pie pan...

Baked for 1 hour at 300 degrees....

And it falls a little as it sits to cool:

Filling: Original recipe (This is not the one I used... Mine is below)

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons lemon rind

Combine egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, salt, lemon rind (grated very fine). Cook in double boiler until thick. Let cool.

Ruthy note:  I'm making this now, and I'm changing the filling to a more traditional lemon pie filling. This original filling is more like a "lemon curd" and I thought hmmm.... a filling for ANGELS should be splendorific. So here's what I did instead:

Lemon filling:

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
4 egg yolks, mixed with fork in medium sized bowl
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons butter

Mix and cook until boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly. Then slowly add this mixture to 4 beaten egg yolks.... (Do this slowly so you don't "cook" the egg yolks).

 Return to pan. Bring back to a boil for one minute, stirring like crazy. Do not start Virginia Carmichael's delightful book "Season of Joy" it will DISTRACT you and you'll burn this wonderful filling. So don't do that.

Remove from heat. Whisk in the lemon juice and the butter. Chill.

Whipped cream:

 16 oz. heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar

Whip 16 oz. of heavy cream and 1/2 cup sugar until stiff peaks form.

Cover cooled meringue pie shell with whipped cream.

Add lemon filling and top with more whipped cream. (Already this could be nothing but GOOD, right????)  Place in refrigerator for 6 hours before serving.  Heavenly company dessert after a fairly light meal.  (Note that it's a heavenly STOLEN dessert... :)

This is the pie shell filled with whipped cream....

And now the lemon filling....

And here is the final product:

Now we must chill this thing.... but that's okay, we need to eat something nutritious like CHILI!!!!


I love winter foods!

Next week we're going to do Angel Pie II that adds other fruit to the lemon custard mixture. And Angel Pie II DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE STOLEN.... Not admittedly, anyway!


  1. As I read through the recipe, my first thought was - I've GOT to get a double boiler. How have I survived for thirty years without one?

    I love the thought of some society garden-club lady sitting in the kitchen with her friend's Norwegian cook after a party and prying the recipe out of the poor woman's head.

    And I've never been to New York (the state, not the city), but when I think of all the books I've read that have been set there, I feel like I should know the place. From the upper reaches of the Hudson to the North Country...I'm sure it can't come close to my imagination.

    By the way, Ruthy, I finished Winter's End last night. Beautiful story. Beautiful.

    1. Oh, how fun, Ruthy!! A stolen recipe! I'm already imagining the story. :)

      I love that cookbook! Love cookbooks in general and collect them. Thanks for sharing!

    2. I'm hoping to actually make this tomorrow... Today was busy and I had THE MOST DELIGHTFUL 3x20 MINUTE conversation with Jeanne T!!!! She's wonderful!!!!! Anyway, I want to make this because it's just so old-fashioned European and I remember doing a meringue crusted pie for something a generation ago.... But I don't remember what... And Jan, can't you just SEE IT?????? High society ladies, sharing recipes to raise money for flowers and they're living in a very affluent town. And Jan, you can either cook this over low heat (remember their stoves weren't as sophisticated as ours) or... to make a double boiler use a smallish saucepan, 2 quarts or so, fill about 1/2 or more of the way with water, use a Pyrex bowl that sits in the top and mix the yolk custard in the top while the water boils below. Works like a charm.

      And I'm so glad you liked Winter's End!!!! Thank you for reading it! Now I'll smile all night, but it might have something to do with getting a $10 dress at Penneys for FREE with my rewards.... and it was a $50 American Living side-ruched dress (Embrace your curves style!!!) that's completely washable... FREE is a wonderful thing.

    3. Free IS a wonderful thing!

      And Jeanne is such a sweetie! We were roomies in Dallas (along with Melissa J and Valerie C)...I think we helped keep each other sane!

  2. BTW, does that "light oven as you put shell in" mean to put it in a cool over, then turn it on??

    1. Missy, that's another problem with old recipes. I'd still preheat the oven because our new ovens heat faster at a higher temp and then back off. So I'd get the oven to 275 or 300 (we always did meringue shells at 275, but I'm not going to argue with Mrs. Robert Grosjean.... Uh, uh. ) So you don't want to darken a delicate meringue, right? I can't wait to try it. I've got all the ingredients here except the lemon zest and my family will not miss that. They don't like "Zest" in their fruit sauces. Silly them!

  3. Yum -- this sounds delish. I love the idea of a meringue pie crust and I love lemon! Lighting the oven has me a little worried though. Do I have to use a stone and a piece of flint? :-)

    I'm enamoured with north New York state -- ever since reading Trixie Belden! I've driven through a few times and I always marvel at how the scenery changes so drastically from Canada to the U.S. You'd think it would be similar.

    1. Kav, I agree on how fun and delish this sounds! Yes, a flint for the oven!!! Perfect!!!!

      You know, I see that change when I travel up in Michigan (toward the Upper Peninsula) or upwards in Minnesota. Being on the south-east side of the lakes (these lakes are HUMONGOUS) gives us a more temperate climate. More snow, but higher temps at a lower elevation and a high latitude. So we've got kind of our own Lake-induced micro-climate here. It's a huge difference, isn't it? Amazing. And I loved Trixie Belden! I owned all of her books and she was over in the area where this cookbook was written, the upper Hudson valley (I think that's the geographic name for the region.) Very pretty there, and the mountains are gorgeous and have lots of affluent and famous peeps....

      I love exploring all these pretty mountainous regions!

    2. I grew up in that same kind of micro-climate in SW Michigan - lots of lake effect snow, hills and sandy soil. Not so many mountains, though :)

  4. You know, I'm wondering if the filling here would be too eggy???? Should we just use a normal lemon filling?

    What do you guys think?

    1. I think we should try both and do a taste test!

    2. Jan, I love how you think! Okay, this more standard modern filling came out perfect. I was worried that the original (with just 4 egg yolks and less than a quarter cup of lemon juice) would be like a thin, yellow line in the middle of a ton of whipped cream. This worked better, it's actually amazing. This is the kind of "ladies" pie, Mindy, that would be a hit at showers... and you could do it with a dark chocolate filling or a strawberry/lemon filling which is the second Angel Pie recipe in the book.... This should get a 4-star rating for inspiring smiles factor!

    3. I think I'm going to have to try this one. It sounds fabulous and decadent.

      And a little bit vintage New York.

      Lovin' it!