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Let's talk about pies. Vintage pies, that is.

While winding up a thread about RV cake, Ruthie and I segued off into a discussion of raisin pie, an old time one that her mom used to make.
It got me thinking about some of the old traditional or country pies that we don't see much these days.
One I have had a few times this year was a shoofly pie at an old Amish restaurant in Blackville SC. Sweet, sweet, sweet! And so delicious you'll just want to slap yo' mama! (as my pals here in Georgia say)

What old timers have you made, or do you want to make?

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  1. I was once curious enough to try a recipe I have for Vinegar Pie....recipes are available all over the web. It's clearly a recipe born of desperation, when you didn't get enough fruit put by to last the winter, but it's not bad. Think lemon pie, but with cider vinegar for the acid instead of lemon juice.

    1. Raisin pie was known as funeral pie, I've read. It was a fruit that people always had in their pantry, no matter what time of year.

      When I could eat wheat and dairy, I would make chess pie as a casual quick pie. It was so creamy and tasty. I've also made Ozark Apple pie, or how to make a pie when you only have one apple. It was actually more of a coffee cake style, still tasty.

      My "Pie" cookbook also has a recipe for watermelon rind pie. I never got to try it. However, it was an interesting read. It amazes me how resourceful people were with food.

      4 Replies
          1. re: Ruthie789

            Chess pie is the most delicious pie ever made by mankind. Except when it comes out too, TOO sweet. Then it can be gross. But when it's good, there is nothing else as good.

            1. re: StrandedYankee

              My daughter in law made combination chess, pumpkin and pecan pie for Thanksgiving that was quite good. Rich without being overly sweet.

              My favorite when growing up was a sour cream raisin pie, that kind that uses an egg and sour cream custard with lots of raisins.

        1. Chess Pie; Mincemeat pie; Green tomato pie.

          32 Replies
          1. re: mamachef

            When I was a kid, my father told me minces were little critters like weasels, and that's what the pie was made of.

            1. re: jmcarthur8

              My husband thought mincemeat was made from mice. As in the cartoon cat chasing the mouse shouting "I'll make mincemeat out of you!"

              1. re: sandylc

                I could not even find mincemeat this year, either the jar or the old-style blocks that are reconstituted. [Southern CA] Fortunately, I have several jars with expiration dates far in the future. I love mince pie.

                1. re: nikkihwood

                  Mincemeat fillings is still available in East Coast supermarkets, but I agree that the pie itself is rare to find these days, unlike in the UK where's there's mincemeat tarts just about everywhere you look at this time of year.

                  I've never cared for mincemeat pies but love the mincemeat tarts, which is odd I suppose.

                  1. re: Roland Parker

                    we make mincemeat pie every thanksgiving. I make the homemade mincemeat severalquarts at a time from apples, pears, raisins citrus and spices (Farm Journal Pie Cookbook recipe) and can it up - lasts for several years. (alternative, a jar of the nonesuch); wne baking, doctor it with a couple flavorful sliced ir chopped apples, some toasted and chopped walnuts, melted butter and rum or brandy, two crust pie shell done. loved by all my kids and inlaws. I agree that I prefer it in a tart - higher ratio of crust to mincemeat.

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      Someone who loved mincemeat pies once told me that they were originally made with chop meat, which considering the name sounds plausible. Does anyone know the story, probably some Depression era fad.

                      1. re: coll

                        No, it's waaaaaaay beyond that. "Mince" was indeed chopped meat, but was used in Medieval times as a way of preserving meat w/ spices and alcohol, and eventually found its way into pies. The first versions more than likely were not at all sweet.

                        1. re: coll

                          actually my fruit mincemeat is called "mock" mincemeat in the cookbook. They also have recipes for mincemeat with venison and beef. I dont think it was a fad at all but perhaps the original version of the dish. When you think of pies like tortiere, and british meat pies it is less strange.

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            It actually sounds good to me. That's why I was wondering if anyone still makes them like that. The guy who told me claimed they made them with meat in his family, not that I ever got to try.

                            1. re: coll

                              Did you want a recipe? I have a good one that starts w/ chuck (so it's actually braised and shredded, more than minced).

                              1. re: mamachef

                                I'd love to take a look. I make Shepherd's Pie often, with lamb of course and then other variations (turkey, beef, etc), so I think a mincemeat would be a nice addtion to my repertoire.

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  My grandmother always made mincemeat when she came into some venison. My aunt taught me to make it that way. The meat is chopped very fine and cooked until becomes the tiniest, fibrous shreds. It's definitely sweet, you almost wouldn't know there's meat in there.

                                  My aunt explained that a hundred years ago, it was a convenience food: A big batch was made in the fall, stored in crocks, and could be scooped into a crust for (relatively) quick tea-time offering.

                            2. re: coll

                              Mincemeat typically had meat in it when I was younger.

                              1. re: coll

                                Some mincemeat pies contain suet, which is a fat from the meat. I make a fruit only version but some commercial pies contain suet which is meat. The suet version does not taste like meat at all and is very delicious.
                                Plum puddings have suet in them as well so read your labels if you want to avoid this ingredient.

                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                  My aunt used to make the most delicious plum pudding every year, with a recipe from an Irish friend, but stopped making them because they were so darned unhealthy. At least to her! They were goooood!

                                  1. re: coll

                                    We have plum pudding every year for Christmas, its actual name is suet pudding, but no one will call it that. But that's what it is, and that's what's in it.

                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                      Yeah she told me that. But I figure once a year shouldn't be a problem...however she was sworn to secrecy with the recipe, so it's just a memory now.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        I'll get my mother in law's recipe for Plum Pudding and post it later. It's so good. She actually steams it in a crockpot now. The recipe is so old it came from England with my MIL's great great grandmother. It's very simple, but so delicious. Tastes like spice cake. She serves it with three optional toppings, hard sauce, whipped cream, or a lemon butter sauce.

                                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                          That sounds great, appreciate it and I love the crockpot angle. I remember my aunt complaining how much work it was. She never gave us toppings, but recommended hard sauce which I found a wonderful recipe for, so I'm good to go.

                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                              Trish, Do you have to start it a month in advance?

                                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                Trish, if you can describe your MIL's method for crockpot steaming when you get the recipe, that would be great. My mother makes a steamed fig pudding (recipe is from the Craig Claiborne NYT Cookbook), and she might be interested.

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  Coll, Ruthie, Thewat, Caitlin, because Plum Pudding isn't a vintage pie, I spun it off onto another thread:

                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/880466

                                      2. re: coll

                                        Wikipedia says mincemeat goes back to 16th century Britain. It, at least for us, was a time-honored New England tradition.

                                        And yes, there originally was meat in the mix. Suet seems to have replaced mince at some point. Here's the link:

                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mincemeat

                                        A British friend once sent me several jars of her homemade mix, which included suet. It was delicious - best pies Mom and I ever made.

                                        Oh, jen kalb, doctoring scratch or Nonesuch with rum is **the** way to go!

                                        1. re: nikkihwood

                                          That could explain it, the person I was talking about was borderline Berkshires.

                                          Doctoring anything with rum is always MY way to go! I keep Capt Morgans on hand if case spices are called for too. Otherwise Jamaican.

                                        2. re: coll

                                          Mincemeat recipes containing meat date back to the 15th century in England. I have made Jane Grigson's mincemeat from her English Food book, it's entitled Mrs Beeton's recipe which would put it somewhere in the 1860s - it calls for minced rump steak - it was very, very good.

                                        3. re: jen kalb

                                          Farm Journal Cookbook is the BEST source for most of the items mentioned in this thread so far...I have a collection of 9 of their wonderful books, carefully acquired over 40 years, with duplicates going to new brides in our circle-got my first FJ Cookbook, source of my wedding cake recipe, aged 19, on a visit to Shelbourne Village (?) an olde-time restored village.

                                      3. re: nikkihwood

                                        I make my own mincemeat from scratch -- it's surprisingly easy. Of course, I'm too lazy to source suet so I just use butter. Butter, brown sugar, apples, raisins, currants, orange peel, spice and brandy.

                                        1. re: Savour

                                          green tomato mincemeat - that's the best. plus what you've included above

                                        2. re: nikkihwood

                                          Do you have a Fresh and Easy near you, nikkihwood ? They have it in jars.

                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                            Thank you! I will check tomorrow, hopefully it's still in stock.

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        I have always wanted to try that one. Indiana, eh?