Friday, April 26, 2013

Flashback Friday: Great-Aunt Eleanor's Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Flashback Friday: Revisiting a recipe from long ago

Old recipes rarely include detailed instructions for the modern day cook.  What was considered common sense in our great-grandmother's generation was passed on from mother to daughter by hands-on experience and not necessarily written down in recipe format.   Details, tips and tricks of the trade were learned at home, and written recipes were intended as guidelines or reminders, not do-it-yourself, fail-proof tutorials.

This sour cream raisin pie recipe from my great-aunt Eleanor is over 100 years old.  It left me guessing in a few places, causing me to look up some of the details I mentioned yesterday.  It would be interesting to go back and make this recipe with her.  I don't think my meringue turned out as intended, but I've no way of knowing what hers was like in the first place.

This rather unusual pie has a tangy, custard-like filling paired with sweet raisins and finished with a meringue topping.  Though it sounded odd to me, the combination is apparently quite common.  I've inherited the inability to make a recipe without comparing it to a half dozen other recipes.  Where most sour cream and raisin pies start with an egg custard cooked over the stovetop, Eleanor's filling is simply stirred together and poured into an unbaked pie crust.  Personally I prefer fruit pies over cream pies, but I had to try this at least once.  Though it's not one I would make over and over again, it deserves it's place in the line of family recipes.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie
recipe from my Great-Aunt Eleanor (recipe over 100 years old)

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust**
1 cup boiling water
1 cup raisins
2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
2/3 cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch salt
2 Tbsp vinegar (Eleanor didn't specify a type, I used apple cider vinegar)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out pie crust and ease into a 9-inch glass pie plate.  Flute edges; set aside on a baking tray.
* In a small bowl pour boiling water over raisins; let stand 5 minutes. Drain and chop raisins, discarding liquid.
* In a medium bowl beat egg yolks and 2/3 cup sugar.  Mix in sour cream.  Stir in flour, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Add vinegar and chopped raisins and stir to combine.  Pour mixture into prepared pie shell; bake 45 minutes or until set and knife inserted near center comes out almost clean.
*Meanwhile, in a glass bowl, beat egg whites, remaining 2 Tbsp sugar and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.
* Spread meringue over hot pie and return to oven for 10-15 minutes longer or until meringue is golden brown.  Let cool 1 hour on wire rack then chill 2-3 hours before serving.  Store leftovers in refrigerator.

**I try a different crust recipe every time I make pie, but I'll let you know when I find a keeper.

Food for Thought: "Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it for yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way." -Donald Miller

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