Monthly Archives: July 2020

Chocolate Mallow Pie

I’m not sure what it is about this summer, but we are eating a bunch of marshmallows. We have been enjoying s’mores several times a week, last week we tried the ice recipe with marshmallows in it, and I didn’t realize until just now that today’s recipe also has marshmallows in it.

Marshmallows have quite a long history. The first known marshmallows were eaten by the Ancient Egyptians. Over the years they have been used as both a sweet treat and for medicinal purposes. By the early 1900s, they were being sold as candy and used in a variety of recipes. A home front housewife would have used marshmallows frequently in her cooking, especially when making desserts.

This chocolate pie uses marshmallows both in the pie filling mixture and as a decorative topping. The recipe is from the 1941 251 Superb Pies and Pastries cookbook published by the Culinary Arts Institute.

Chocolate Mallow Pie

  • 1/2 c cocoa
  • 3/4 c water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c milk
  • 3/4 lb marshmallows
  • 1 baked pastry shell
  • 2 bananas, sliced lengthwise
  • 6 marshmallows, cut into halves

Mix cocoa and water to a smooth paste and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Cool, then add vanilla and salt. Heat milk, and add marshmallows. Fold over and over until marshmallows are about half melted. Remove from heat and continue folding marshmallows until smooth and fluffy. Chill about 15 minutes, then combine with cocoa mixture and chill about 25 minutes longer, stirring twice. Pour chocolate marshmallow mixture into pastry shell and chill until firm. Arrange slices of banana on top of pie in criss-cross pattern and decorate with halves of marshmallows. Makes one 9 inch pie. You can use pineapple strips in place of the bananas.

Results

My daughter and I decided to decorate the pie a little differently than the recipe called for. I wish I would have thought to buy or make whipped cream for it because I think that would have looked nice on top, as well. The pie was very bitter. My husband likes bitter chocolate, but even he thought this pie was too bitter to enjoy. Unless you enjoy your chocolate pie this way, I’d keep looking if you are in the mood for a new chocolate pie recipe.

I hope you are safe and well. See you in August.

Lemon Marshmallow Ice

It’s been so hot here. I wanted to try to find a cold treat to keep us cool in the triple-digit heat. There are many ice recipes, but I had never seen one with marshmallows before. I decided to try it out. This recipe is from the 1941 Montgomery Ward Cold Cooking: It’s Easy cookbook.

Lemon Marshmallow Ice

  • 24 marshmallows
  • 5/8 c water
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp grated lemon peel
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 egg whites, beaten stiff

Melt marshmallows with water in a double broiler. Add lemon juice, grated rind, and salt. Let partially freeze. Fold egg whites into mushy fruit mixture. Freeze. Stir again when the mixture is partially frozen. Serves 6.

Results

This didn’t turn out like I expected. There definitely wasn’t enough for 6 modern sized servings. If I make this again, I’ll probably double or triple the recipe. There were at most 4 servings with the recipe as it is.

The consistency was somewhere between melted ice cream and marshmallow fluff. It wasn’t bad, it just was different than I thought it would be. The mixture never froze–it stayed the texture of melting ice cream. It was in the freezer for more than a day, so freezing time was not a factor.

The ice was very lemony. In fact, if you are not a fan of strong lemon flavors, you might consider making adjustments to the amount of lemon juice needed. I thought the strong lemon was fine, and I enjoyed the combination of lemon and marshmallow. A couple of my testers felt the lemon was way too strong. The ice is also very sweet, almost to the point where it isn’t refreshing.

I think my quest for a cool treat will continue. August temperatures usually show no mercy here, so I’ll keep looking. Do you have an ice recipe that you love? Let me know.

Until next time, stay safe and cool.

Canning: How Much Do You Need?

My family has been canning this past week. My husband has been canning different things with my kids. I love that this has turned into a family affair. He made several kinds of jelly with my second oldest daughter, and salsa with my youngest son. Canning, and cooking, are things that the entire family can enjoy. My two youngest daughters, ages 3 and 6, help cook almost every day.

I’ve been doing research on canning in the war years, and I came across this page in the July 1943 issue of McCall’s. This is what they say a family of four will need “from now until next summer”. We are a family of nine. I can’t imagine how much my family would need!

Below the image, I’ve included the amounts listed in case the print in the photo is difficult to read. Many of the fruits and vegetables listed here would come from a Victory Garden. Housewives would also can onions, carrots, pickles, jams, and a variety of other things. I remember my grandma’s basement storage pantry being filled with an enormous variety of different canned foods.

You can look forward to more about canning in the coming weeks. To round out this month, I’ll have a recipe for a cold treat later this week, and we’ll look at advice from the July 1943 issue of Woman’s Day aimed at helping the home front housewife conserve fabric.

Vegetables: 10 pints peas, 4 pints greens, 12 pints beets, 8 pints corn, 12 pints string beans, 14 pints lima beans, and 28 quarts tomatoes.

Fruits: 10 quarts sour red cherries, 5 quarts raspberries, 5 quarts blueberries, 5 quarts blackberries, 15 quarts peaches, and 5 quarts pears.

Sand Plum Jelly

Sand plums grow wild on our ranch, and almost every year, we make wild plum jelly. Some years we have a large plum harvest, and other years we barely have enough to can a few jars. The weather plays a big part in how many plums we harvest, and we have to compete with the animals who live on the ranch that enjoy the ripe plums, too.

The plums vary in size and color. The best ones are the size of a small cherry and are a deep red. Those are the ones that are sweet and juicy. The smaller and more yellow plums are quite tart. The sweet ones are great eaten fresh off the tree, but the tart ones still are amazing in jelly.

Picking sand plums is an uncomfortable chore. The trees are bushy and packed closely together, often with the best plums hidden in the middle of the thicket. Picking season is usually hot with temperatures reaching well over 100°F during the day, and the spiders, snakes, and insects that use the trees as shelter are usually not thrilled to have human company. Wild plum jelly is such a treat, though, that we brave all of that for another batch that will hopefully last us until the following year.

This year, most of the plums were too small to work with. We were able to pick enough to make 10 jars of jelly. Considering that during drought years we sometimes don’t have any plums at all, this is enough to make us happy.

Canning is something I want to explore in depth later on. I’ve done a lot of research about canning during WWII. I want to include some of that research here, but today I want to just share our most recent canning project.

I collect WWII propaganda posters, and this is one of my favorites. I like how canning ties us to generations of people who canned before us. I remember spending days at my grandma’s house when I was young while my mom, aunts, and grandma canned vegetables they grew in their gardens. My grandma had a closet in her basement that was lined with cans of all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Women in World War II canned foods from their Victory Gardens, often with the help of other women in their communities. These threads that tie us all together are important parts of who we are today.

Do you can? What foods do you can? We enjoy jelly and salsa, and are branching out to include more things in the future. I’ll round up some canning recipes for later in the year when many folks are harvesting their garden crops and preparing to can them for the months that follow.

I’ll see you here Monday. Right now, I am off to eat some more of this delicious jelly.

First Monday Menu: July 4 Porch Supper

Happy Independence Day!

Here is a menu from the 1941 edition of The New American Cook Book. This will be my First Monday Menu for the month, just a couple days early.

Note:

We chose to make the potatoes and the strawberry shortcake from this menu. I’m including the tomato aspic recipe so you can have all three.

Tomato Aspic

Potatoes Au Gratin

These potatoes take longer than 25 minutes to bake. At 25 minutes the dish is still very runny. We left it in the oven and watched it carefully until it solidified. Even then, when we served the potatoes, there was still a lot of liquid left in the bottom of the casserole dish.

Strawberry Shortcake

You’ll note that the recipe number on the menu and this recipe are different. Number 2999 sends you to recipe 964. There are suggestions for orange, strawberry, banana, currant, grapefruit, and huckleberry shortcakes, and they all refer back to this shortcake recipe.

Results

Even though the potatoes seemed to be sitting on top of a layer of liquid, they were easy to serve without being runny. You could lift the potatoes away and leave the liquid in the dish. They were cheesy, but I think you could easily add more cheese if you like your potatoes to be super cheesy.

The strawberry shortcake was tasty, but it was like eating strawberries on a biscuit with whipped cream. The shortcake was soft and crumbly. I think they would have been excellent spread with honey or jam. I prefer my strawberry shortcake with a softer cake like sponge cake, pound cake, or angel food cake. We add sweetened strawberry juice and the softer cakes soak the liquid up better. I know that this shortcake is a much more traditional shortcake than what I usually eat, and it was still very good. I’m glad we tried it.

One of my teenage sons kept the shortcake intact and made a strawberry shortcake sandwich with the strawberries and whipped cream as a filling. Another son ate his with the shortcake in one piece, but most of us broke the shortcake up as instructed in the recipe. It’s a versatile recipe that can be served a variety of ways.

I hope you all have a happy holiday today. Stay safe!