. . . And a delicious time was had by all!
Thanks to Cathy2 and the board of the Highland Park Library, Sunday's pie talk and tasting was a highlight of my holiday season. Cathy certainly has some deep experience in this homey art, and easily conveys her enthusiasm for the topic. The chess pie I happily took home was, I believe, made with eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar and lemon. (Correct me if I am wrong, Cathy, about these ingredients.) The name shoofly pie also came up in connection with this type of filling.
Today I turned to my 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook and came across a chess pie that is a variation on a sour cream and raisin pie. It calls for the replacement of whole eggs with egg yolks only, and for the addition of a cup each of chopped dates and walnuts. So, perhaps I was mistaken to call the buttermilk and lemon filling a chess pie. The Joy of Cooking (1953 edition) offers a similar, raisin-and-nut-laden recipe for chess pie, with sweet, not sour cream. Rombauer and Becker's shoofly pie is a crumb pie made with raisins, egg, brown sugar or molasses, and cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a little flour. Their Jefferson Davis pie is closer to Betty Crocker's chess pie, with brown sugar, eggs, cream, dates, raisins, spices and pecans, though topped with meringue. (Kinda makes your teeth ache to think about it, doesn't it?) Camille Glenn's Heritage of Southern Cooking (1986) offers a chess tart with apples that involves butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla and nutmeg, as well as what she describes as a Civil War vintage Barbara Fritchie "chess" pie with brown and white sugar, butter, eggs, cream and vanilla.
Hmmm. Cathy, given the southern heritage of the chess-type pie, and the optional addition of nuts, do you suppose that the 1890's pecan pie you referred to in your talk is an adaptation of the Jeff Davis pie? I wonder what Mr. Rose would say. . .
This was my first-ever taste of mock apple pie, which, as noted by Louisa, actually bears a surprising resemblance to real apple pie. Perhaps it would also be fun to try Betty Crocker's 1950 mock cherry pie, with cranberries and raisins.
It was great fun to hear your talk, Cathy and great to meet you, too, Louisa. Happy Turkey Day, all.
Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.