Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Hump-Day Quickie: Gilt-Edged Potatoes

I can't argue with potatoes and cheese.

A Book of Selected Recipes, Mrs. George O. Thurn, 1934

Gilt-Edged Potatoes
    Amounts to taste:
Cooked, peeled potatoes
Shredded cheddar, colby jack, or any yellow cheese

Heat oven to 350°. Grease a sheet pan.
Put the potatoes through a ricer or a grinder. Spread in a layer on the pan, taking care not to compress them. Leave them nice and fluffy.
Sprinkle lightly with cheese, and (if desired) with salt. Bake until cheese is melted and slightly browned, about 30 minutes.

A Book of Selected Recipes, Mrs. George O. Thurn, 1934

It's gotten cold again, which means we're no longer insane to bake potatoes in an extra-hot oven for over two hours!

I tried to make the butter stand up like a stegosaurus spine, but it melted too fast.

British-style jacket potatoes only happen when it's cold out, which makes them a rare treat in this climate. I was more excited about the potatoes than the pot roast. However, they don't refrigerate well. When you reheat them in the microwave, they're just like any other microwave-baked potato. You lose the crispy-crackly skin and the almost unrealistically fluffy interior that you had when the potato came out of the oven. Look at that beautiful, almost caramelized layer of potato that lies just beneath the skin when you peel them!

While I do still pop the occasional potato in the microwave for a low-effort snack, these potatoes which were so perfect the first time seem like they deserve better. Fortunately, Mrs. George O. Thurn has a way to hopefully keep these spuds as magical as they were the first time. It involves one of my favorite kitchen devices: a meat grinder!

I would love to say that you can use a cheese shredder since more of us have one of those than a potato ricer or a meat grinder. But despite my most determined attempts, cheese shredders are useless on baked potatoes. 

Apparently Mrs. George O Thurn could direct her readers to get out a potato ricer without her entire audience telling her she was out of touch and that no one had one of those things at home. Maybe instant mashed potatoes rendered the spud ricer obsolete to everyone who didn't have passionate opinions about mashed potatoes.

I've noticed that recipes meant to creatively alter leftovers pervade cookbooks right until everyone got a microwave. After that, we abruptly stopped putting effort into making last night's dinner exciting again. That makes gilt-edged potatoes a true relic from a bygone culinary era. You rarely see "Your family won't recognize those leftovers!" in the note above a recipe published in the last thirty years.

I love how Mrs. George O Thurn just says to use "yellow cheese." Also, it occurs to me: we already have the potatoes, so does that make the cheese the gilding? If calling the cheesy spuds "gilt-edged" is Mrs. George O Thurn's way of saying cheese is as good as gold, we at A Book of Cookrye heartily endorse the message.

In full disclosure, this doesn't look particularly presentational when you drop a spatula-load of spuds on a plate. However, cheesy potatoes are so delicious that the presentation doesn't matter at all.

The potatoes didn't get as crisp as I expected, but I don't care. This is delicious. Also, leftover gilt-edged potatoes are better in the microwave than the leftover baked potatoes you started with.

As a final postscript, I told my grandmother that we were using an extravagance of oven heat to make baked potatoes. When I told her how we cut crosses in the tops and then bake them in an extra-hot oven for two hours, she said her mother used to do potatoes just like that! It's so neat to accidentally land on what would have been a family recipe had anyone written it down.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Happy Boxing Day Eve from A Book of Cookrye!

Is it just me, or has Christmas been more laid-back this year? It seems like fewer people are whipping themselves into a holiday frenzy. I haven't seen nearly as much desperation to create the perfect cheer this year. Despite retailers frantically waving doorbusters in our faces, Black Friday came and went like any other holiday-season weekday. The annual squawking about The War On Christmas just... faded into the background. I didn't even see a single sign of the traditional moral panic over Starbucks winter cups.

There wasn't a run on baking ingredients at the supermarket, which tells me that unlike previous years, few people were trying to cook an elaborate feast from scratch when they've never cooked before. I think we're collectively tired after the last couple of years. After everything came crashing down around us, I think a lot of us decided that the outside world was hard enough without inflicting bonus stress on ourselves.

Here at A Book of Cookrye, Christmas is merely the leadup to one of my favorite holidays: Boxing Day! It's the day when the background music on the supermarket PA stops drilling cheer into our ears, and (most crucially) the day when everyone calms back down! Though as aforesaid, it seems like the holiday is far quieter this year.

This year, someone up the street erected 12-foot skeleton in the yard for Halloween. When I saw it was still standing a couple of weeks into November, I sent over a note begging them to leave the skeleton in the yard until the end of Christmas. I wrote that we would bring cookies if they left the 12-foot skeleton proudly standing in the yard until the holiday was over. About a week later, they slipped this into the mailbox:

They also put little candies in the envelope.

Soon after, Al CaBone was repositioned so that he was hanging lights onto the house (he's tall enough to reach the eaves). Later, the house was fully trimmed with lights and Al CaBone was saluting everyone who drove past. We had to deliver on our promise.

Note that we did not use a container that someone would have to wash and bring back.

I swear, cookies can hear you saying they're for giving away. When you're just cooking at home, even the most notoriously finicky recipes come out unfailingly perfect. But if you're baking for someone else, the cookies decide to embarrass you. You end up saying that they're not a crunchy, they're snicker-biscotti.

When I delivered the cookies, the woman who answered the door was just too charming. She said that her husband had texted the note to her, and that she had initially feared that the neighbors (some of whom already had inflatable Santas staked to the yard) had started writing in complaints. But after she read our note, she gleefully showed it to everyone else at her office. 

She told me they purchased Al CaBone online in July. But with the world still discombobulated from the pandemic (whether people want to admit it's still ongoing or not), Al CaBone barely arrived in time for Halloween.

So that was our charming holiday! Whether you like Christmas, or whether you like just staying at home where it's quiet, we hope you have a lovely day.

Friday, December 23, 2022

Pumpkin Tarts: or, It's always pumpkin-spice season if you truly believe

As Christmas reaches its inevitable conclusion, we at A Book of Cookrye are savoring the joys of Halloween!
Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, October 28 1933 morning edition, p. 5

Those charming (if slightly passive-aggressive) quotes at the top of the clipping aren't from any adjacent articles on the page. I think the printing department kept a stash of pithy sentences for when they had small, odd-shaped blank spots in the page layout. 

Pumpkin Tarts
       Tart shells:
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 c lard (or beef fat or butter)
3 tbsp cold water

Mix flour and salt. Cut in lard with a knife. Slowly add water until a firm but non-crumbly dough forms. Roll the dough into 1½-inch balls, then pat each one a bit flat between your hands. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
When the dough has rested, heat oven to 350°.
Roll each dough ball into a thin circle, then place them into cupcake pans. Prick each one with a fork. Bake until slightly golden. If any large bubbles form at the beginning of the baking time, pop them with a fork.
Allow to cool before pouring in the filling.

       Pumpkin filling:
2 c cooked, mashed pumpkin (or 16 oz canned)
1 c white sugar
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ginger
3 eggs
2 c milk

Heat oven to 375°.
Whisk together sugars, spices, and eggs, beating until eggs are thoroughly mixed. Add remaining ingredients, whisk well.
Fill each tart shell to about a quarter-inch below the rim (about a quarter cup of filling per tart).
Bake 10 minutes. Then reduce oven to 325° and bake 25 minutes longer.
Cool completely in the pan, then use a knife and spatula to remove them (or scoop them out by getting a large spoon under them, like I did). The pies will firm up overnight.
Serve with whipped cream or chopped nuts on top.

"Helping the Homemaker" by Louise Bennett Weaver, Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram, October 28 1933 morning edition, p. 5

I'm going to be honest, I've never quite been able to make a decent pumpkin pie. Even when I follow the recipe to the letter, my pumpkin pies always come out bland and somewhat off-tasting. Perhaps Louise Bennett Weaver had a better pumpkin pie recipe than every other I've tried heretofore. 

At the very least, I couldn't credibly accuse Louise Bennett Weaver of under-spicing the pie. Have a look at the massive amounts of spices strewn on the sugar. Keep in mind that rather than adding extra-generous shakes of everything, I measured these precisely as written.

This is only the second recipe I've seen that uses just one carefully-measured small spoon of brown sugar to add a precisely-calibrated amount of flavor. (The first was a brownie recipe from our current favorite well-worn cookbook) However, this recipe's hesitant use of brown sugar worked out perfectly for us, because brown sugar has been exceptionally scarce these past few weeks. 

At this point, we hit a minor hiccup in our recipe. I was going to cut it in half, and was under the mistaken impression that it uses four eggs. However, Louise only cracked three eggs into her pumpkin pie recipe. And so, we once again had to perform what is quickly becoming a routine operation here at Our Kitchen of Cookrye: dividing an egg in half. I don't even get mad about halving eggs anymore. After doing enough times, it's become quick and almost easy. Also, even though it involves getting out extra cooking utensils, I don't have to hand-wash any of them because a dishwasher lives in this kitchen.

It's either subdivide an egg or make twice as many tarts.

After the short egg-splitting detour, this recipe practically flew together. You only have to put eggs and sugar into the bowl and, as Fanny Cradock would say, think of someone that you've never liked but you're too well-bred to say anything. In less than half a minute, your pie filling is ready to receive the pumpkin. 

Perhaps I thought a bit too well of someone I didn't like, because the pie got as whipped as cream. It later occurred to me- I'm pretty sure you could just put everything in a blender.

Barely a minute after we'd finished measuring the spices, we were ready to add half a can of autumn to our pie.

Every now and then I've thought myself lazy for always using canned pumpkin instead of an actual fresh one. After all, Louise Bennett Weaver doesn't tell us to use a can of pumpkin. But the last time I mentioned this to my mother, she told me that you can't tell the difference. 

Whether you stew your own pumpkin or let a cannery do it for you, Louise Bennett Weaver's recipe was very promising. This pie filling, while perhaps a bit too watery for me to know whether it would set while baking, tasted like autumn at Starbucks. It was even the perfect shade of autumnal orange.

This was the runniest pie filling I've made in a long time. I thought that perhaps Louise overestimated how much milk I should have added to it. I was going to dispense this with a ladle, but it proved easier to put the pie filling into a measuring cup with a pour spout and carefully fill each pie shell. 

We had just a smidge of extra pie filling after all our tart shells had been properly pumpkined. Perhaps I made my tart shells a bit thicker-sided than Louise did, meaning I didn't get as many of them out of a batch of dough. But then again, this was only about a half-tart's worth of pumpkin, so I couldn't have baked it even I did have one more tart shell.

The pumpkin tarts baked nicely. They didn't curdle or otherwise start to look like a mistake. In fact, towards the end of the baking time, they actually puffed up! I don't know if that's a good sign or not, but it certainly seems nice.

 I hoped they would stay puffy, but they fell back to their pre-baking height in less than five minutes. 

I have got to find a way to prevent my pies from sticking when I make them in a cupcake pan. Granted, I've never had any pies come out of the pan irreparably ruined. But it'd be nice to make cute mini-pies without leaving the pan looking like this:

Well, let's set aside the pie pan since it needs to soak for a while anyway. I figured out a wonderful way to repurpose the extra pumpkin filling: pour it into iced coffee!

I have to give Louise Bennett Weaver credit. These are some really good pumpkin tarts. I knew they'd be good when I sampled what remained in the mixing bowl, and I was right. I know I wasn't the only one who liked them because they kept disappearing when I wasn't looking. 

If I was to get a bit nitpicky, I would note that the crust didn't quite bake all the way through. Louise didn't tell us to bake our tart shells before filling them, but I recommend that you do.

The day we baked these pies, the filling was so soft and delicate-textured that it seemed like it would revert to liquid at any second. I've seen some east-coast food writers rhapsodize about crab cakes that seem like only an outside force field is holding them together, and we had that today in pumpkin form. But after leaving them out overnight, they firmed up to the density of a lighter-than-usual cheesecake. 

However, because the crust hadn't quite baked all the way through, it started to fall away from the tarts on all sides. It made the tarts look like the pumpkin was shrinking. Again, I recommend baking the empty tart shells before you give them the pumpkin.

In conclusion, these are some really good pumpkin pies! We topped them with a squirt of whipped cream, which made them perfect. You should also know that the pies perfectly matched the iron I got at the thrift store.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Mint-Chocolate Fudge: or, Revisiting my forgotten favorites

 When it gets cold, I want to make candy. If puddles crack under one's bicycle tire instead of splashing, you will find me traversing town in search of the last store that's open late and sells shelled raw peanuts to make peanut brittle. (I should note that I don't like peanut brittle if the temperature is above freezing.) But during the latest cold snap, I wanted to revisit one of the reasons I passed all my classes in high school:

Mint-Chocolate Fudge
⅓ c butter
2½ c sugar
½ tsp salt
1 (5-oz) can evaporated milk
1 (7-oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 (12-oz) package semisweet chocolate chips
1 (12-oz) package white chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp mint extract
3-5 drops green food coloring

Divide all ingredients in half except the mint extract, vanilla, marshmallow creme, and food coloring. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan.
In a small saucepan, cook half the butter, half the sugar, half the milk, and half the salt to the firm-ball stage over medium-high heat. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot constantly.
Remove from heat. Quickly scoop half the marshmallow creme into the pot (just eyeball it, no need to be precise). Dump in half the white chocolate chips, the mint extract, and the green food coloring. Beat well until thoroughly mixed and creamy. Add more food coloring if desired.
Drop splats of the fudge all over the pan, and then spread them even. (If you just pour the fudge into the center of the pan, it will be annoyingly tricky to coax it all the way to the edges.)
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the white chocolate by cooking it for 20 seconds at a time, stirring very well after each cooking interval. Drizzle and pour it all over the top of the fudge, and then spread it out to thoroughly cover. Set the pan aside.
Give the saucepan a quick rinse, then put the remaining milk, sugar, butter, and salt in it. Cook it to the firm-ball stage as before.
Add the remaining marshmallow creme, the vanilla, and half the semisweet chips. Beat until smooth and creamy.
Spoon the chocolate fudge all over the mint fudge in the pan (the white chocolate should still be melted). Spread the fudge as evenly as possible (don't bother with perfection, it's really hard).
Place the remaining semisweet chips into the bowl you used to melt the white chocolate. Cook it for 15 seconds at a time, stirring well after each interval. (You don't need to bother rinsing the bowl- just let any remaining white chocolate get mixed in.)
Spoon the melted chocolate all over the fudge. Then spread it to evenly cover. If you can't get the chocolate perfectly smooth on top, just make nice-looking swirls instead.
Let the pan cool for several hours at room temperature before cutting.

Adapted from the chocolate fudge recipe on the back of marshmallow cream jars

You may recognize this as a revision of Fantasy Fudge (also known as the recipe that's been on the back of marshmallow creme jars for decades- and also as my great-grandmother's recipe). This version of the original recipe involves a lot more pots and bowls than if one were to sensibly make single-layer chocolate fudge. But if you have a dishwasher, it's so worth it. 

When I was in high school and thought the height of classy restaurants was a bowl of Andes bars next to the "please wait to be seated" sign, I decided to let those little candies inspire this multilayered creation.  I easily figured out that by using white chocolate chips instead of semisweet, one can make fudge in any flavor you like. After years of only knowing fudge in one flavor, suddenly the entire supermarket shelf of flavorings and extracts lay before me. I still haven't worked up the nerve to venture beyond mint extract. 

It always feels... incorrect to make off-white fudge. Those two drops of artificial coloring make this seem so much more natural.

The first time I made this fudge, the two layers never stuck together. Imagine serving a layer cake with no icing in the middle to hold it together. This brings us to the big revision/correction I made to the recipe the second time I made this: melting the other half of the white chocolate chip bag and spreading it over everything. You don't need to worry about any crumbs marring the white appearance since you'll be covering it with more fudge anyway.

And so, with part one of the recipe finished, we can move on to part two: fudge as we all know it! You may think that we could make this more efficient by boiling up one big pot of fudge, and then putting white chips in one half of it and semisweet chips in the other. I tried that. The bottom layer turned out just fine. However, while the other half of the boiled mixture sat in the pot and waited, it turned gritty. I had to put it back on the stove to get rid of the sandy grains, all the while trying not to scorch it. No time was saved. You really do need to make each layer of fudge one at a time. Also, when the fudge is ready to put into the pan, drop it in little splats all over the surface. It's so much easier to coax the fudge into an even layer than if you dumped it all in the middle of the pan.

Yes, it's supposed to look like this. All will be well.

After I started putting white chocolate in the middle to hold the candy together, it only made sense to do the same with the extra semisweet chocolate. Looking at the recipe now, after such a long time since I last made it, the swirled chocolate topping is the most dated part of it. You see, in the pre-Pinterest days of cake decorating when long metal icing spatulas were still exotic kitchen items, we didn't have semiprofessional arsenals of icing art supplies. So, one of the most common ways to ice a cake was to just push the icing in swirls all over it. This had the advantage of being feasible with the cutlery you already had in the drawer, and also made the icing look enticingly creamy with those lovely swirly patterns. These days, it seems we all try to our damnedest to get the cake icing perfectly smooth on the top and sides. The icing is less a finishing touch and more of a blank canvas for you to try to follow along with an allegedly easy cake-decking tutorial. But when I first iced a batch of mint-chocolate fudge like the way everyone did cakes at the time, they still looked something like this.

Anyway, after making the first batch of this fudge in a long time, I realized that this makes a lot of fudge. I haven't made an entire 9x13 pan of fudge in ages. Back when I made this all the time, I gave it to my high schoolteachers to bribe up my grades, brought it to social gatherings, made it with friends, and basically never made this without people around to give it to. 

But since we're avoiding holiday obligations this year, we had an entire pan of fudge threatening our ability to fit into last winter's pants. Which brings me to my next point: this recipe is great for gift-giving! Look at how cute they are on a plate!

In a desperate bid to banish these delicious calories from the house, I attempted to bring a plate of candy to the neighbors on each side of the house. It's considered normal(ish) to bring surprise baked goods to your neighbors. The holiday is the perfect excuse to save the wreckage of my pre-pandemic figure from my own cooking. Note that I said I attempted to give these away. Only one neighbor was at home to receive my generosity, and we ate the other plate before I could get it out of the house.

One other person in the house, with a very large piece of fudge in one hand, said "Yeah I can see how you saved your grades with this." And I really did that in high school. After I accepted that I just couldn't choke down busywork night after night, I ended up passing multiple classes by bringing this very fudge with a hopeful look on my face and some unsubtle inquiries about whether my grade might get nudged up a bit. 

And so, in closing, this may be a bit more dish-demanding than a lot of other recipes, but it is so, so good.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Cream Onion Pie: or, Sabotage by typesetting error

I have half a mind to go to the address at the top of this recipe, bang on the door, and berate whoever answers. I want to graciously inform them that whoever lived here 90 years ago sent a terrible recipe to the newspaper and demand to know WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO ABOUT IT.

Philadelphia Inquirer, September 13 1935, p 12

Cream Onion Pie
3 slices bacon, diced
2 yellow onions, chopped
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 c milk
⅛ tsp white pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 egg, well-beaten
1 unbaked pie shell

Heat oven to 350°.
Fry bacon over medium heat until it is crisp and the fat has rendered off into the pan. Add the butter, stir until melted. Add onions, salt, sugar, and pepper. Mix well. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low, and let steam 8 minutes. Do not let onion brown. Then remove from heat and allow to cool.
While the onions are cooling, blend flour with 2 tablespoons of the milk. Then stir the in egg and remaining milk. Set aside.
Stir the egg-milk mixture into the pan. Pour into the pie crust until the filling is firm in the center and a very light brown, about 30-45 minutes.

Note: If making small individual pies instead of a big one, it's easier to spoon the onions into the miniature pie shells and then pour some of the egg-milk mixture into each one. Give the milk a quick stir after each time you pour some of it out-- otherwise, the flour will settle to the bottom.

Mrs. Leone P Kiefrider, 5644 Willows Ave, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Inquirer Recipe Exchange, September 13 1935, p 12

I like to start off with my thoughts as I went through a recipe, but this one disappointed me too hard- especially given how much I had looked forward to it. Onions are a rare treat for me these days. No one else in the house likes them. Whenever I add half a chopped onion to a batch of soup, discontented squawking is heard. I practically have to sneak them into the house lest I hear complaints while unpacking the groceries. Can you imagine having to excise onions from your food?

As you may imagine, when everyone else announced they would be out of town for the weekend, I loaded up the grocery cart with the forbidden delights. After a long deprivation, I was prepared for Mrs. Leone P Kiefrider and the Philadelphia Inquirer Recipe Exchange to lead me to a deliriously pungent onion bender.

Let's get right to where it went wrong. This recipe, for a single pie, calls for five onions. Unless onions were a lot smaller in 1935, you can't fit five onions into one pie. I cut the recipe in half, meaning that one full pie should allegedly should contain twice as much chopped onion as the skillet below. Please note that I cut the recipe in half. Does this look like half a pie's worth of onions to you?

The bacon looks pointless.

I ignored my intuition while it shouted to me that we would soon cry harder over the failed pies than we had while chopping all the onions. Every time I think I know better than a recipe, I was wrong and the recipe was right. But every time I ignore my intuition, I was right. 

I thought the onions would shrink as they cooked, just like spinach (or like the onions that went in the Belgian onion pie). Unfortunately, I kept an open mind in the face of dubious recipe instructions, and told myself that Mrs. Leone P Kiefrider must have known what she was doing. After all, she won the $2 basket of groceries and got her recipe published in the newspaper with her name and address on it. They even gave her recipe a special mention in extra-large type:

This recipe has got to be mistyped. Remember how the Inquirer's typesetters added 100 degrees to the baking temperature for the orange raisin squares? Apparently that recipe-ruining error was not a fluke because someone ruined the Cream Onion Pie. Did the newspaper have the apprentice typesetters do the Recipe Exchange because it was the 1930s and the women's page wasn't "real" news?

All right, let's say some nice things about the recipe. To begin with, one can easily get everything ready ahead of time. You can get your eggy milk all measured and mixed, your onions chopped, your bacon diced, and your butter and seasonings measured and placed in a tiny bowl, ready to dump into the pan at the right moment, and your pie crust ready to receive. Also, three slices of bacon yields exactly enough fat to cook the onions if you're not insane enough to cram five of them into one pie. Also, I like the choice to cut the bacon up before cooking it. The little pieces of bacon confetti couldn't curl away from the pan and avoid getting cooked.

As a side note, it was really hard to come up with three slices of bacon for this recipe. Like everyone else I know, we can't open a package of bacon and only cook part of it. As soon as the smell drifts out of the kitchen (and it always does), people start nonchalantly drifting toward the frying pan and asking if we're having pancakes with that.

Also, the onions cooked perfectly when we followed Mrs. Leone P Kiefrider's instructions. We put a lid on the pan as directed, and in eight minutes the onions were perfectly cooked and not at all browned. I don't know why it's so important that we prevent browning the onions, but the recipe's onion-cooking method makes it easy to prevent a golden-colored mistake.

The bacon just looks like a puny handful of confetti.

Let's ignore the excessive onions and take a brief look at where things went right. We measured out the butter and all the seasonings ahead of time because sometimes I have foresight. The recipe calls for white pepper, which I was not planning to purchase since I would never use it again. But this turned up in the back of the closet. You will note that it is from that era when everything was covered in "genuine simulated woodgrain."

I thought that by now the white pepper had surely degraded to tasteless dust. But purely for the heck of it, I shook the canister to break up the hardened brick of pepper inside, opened it, and shoved it right under my unprepared nose. After sneezing, gasping, dabbing my eyes with a wet cloth, and blowing my nose repeatedly, I decided that the white pepper was still fit for culinary use.

Now that we've run out of nice things to say, halving this recipe meant I had to divide an egg in half. In other words, I did all the tedious business of cracking an egg into a cup, whisking it until uniform(ish), and measuring out half of it for recipe use.

I did this for nothing.

The last nice thing I can say about this recipe: everything mixed together as claimed. Here are our, um, pies.

After baking, they looked pretty cute. But when you cut into one, you found a scoop of cooked onions piled into a pie case. It's like I put sandwich toppings into individual bread bowls instead of serving dishes.

I ended up scooping the alleged pie filling back out of the pie crusts and sporadically adding it to soups and small casseroles I made for myself. It was nothing more than precooked onions in an unconvincing pie disguise anyway.

I had to give the recipe another go. That's right, we're wasting no time before we do a Second-Stab Saturday for this recipe, we're facing the onions now

I guessed that perhaps someone switched put a number two in the typesetting drawer that should have contained fives, and that perhaps someone glancing down only briefly while hastily assembling Mrs. Leone P Kiefrider's recipe for print wouldn't have noticed that they pulled out a 2 that looked backwards.

Looking beyond the overuse of onions in an onion pie, you could tell that the seasonings wanted to be really good in this pie. I'm sure that the delicate mix of savory bacon and surprisingly fiery white pepper would have been perfect had Mrs. Leone P Kiefrider's recipe not (presumably) been sabotaged by poor typesetting at the newspaper printing plant. And so, we made this recipe again with just two onions instead of nearly half a dozen of them.

As we stated, everything about this recipe works if you don't put half a deli's worth of onions into it. And so, we cooked the bacon, which we cut up before putting it into the pan. If you follow Mrs. Leone P Kiefrider's directions, the bacon renders out just enough grease to cook the onions, and doesn't curl away from the pan while it becomes crisp. 

I had sneak these into a tiny container the last time we cooked bacon and hide them from everyone.

And so, we added a reasonable amount of onion to this recipe. I should also note that just like the first time, we are halving this recipe. This means I had enough faith to go through the bother of dividing an egg in half again.

That looks a lot more like half a pie to me.

I mostly wanted to remake this recipe because it really seemed like it wanted to work. If we cook the onions as Mrs. Leone P Kiefrider directs, they become perfectly tender but don't get browned at all. I know they look like we cooked them to a deep golden brown, but they are actually perfectly transparent but coated with a light blessing of reddish bacon residue.

Another change we made: we allowed the onions to cool off before adding the egged milk. The last time, when we just dumped it onto our steaming hot frying pan of failure, the egg and the flour started to firm up before the pies were even their shells. This simple change allowed the pies to wait until we baked them to coagulate.

As you can see, the filling actually looked like a savory custard loaded with onions instead of like onions lightly strewn with insufficient bacon. And if you cut one in half, the little onion pies actually acted like pies instead of just spilling out onto the plate like a too-heaping helping of lightly cooked onions.

I also took the empty pie shells, rerolled them, and shook salt and Italian seasonings over them to make little crackers. Had I cut them more neatly, they would have been as cute as they were tasty.

I definitely think this recipe works better as a batch of miniature pies instead of one big one. Like those dainty little quiches you sometimes see people baking in mini-muffin pans, the onion pies were delicious but very sating. If you make one big pie instead of a lot of little ones, you'd want to cut narrow triangles.

However, I have got to find a reliable way to get these to easily come out of the pan. I had to spoon-gouge most of them out, leaving a messy pan behind.

"Oh, that'll soak right out."

The reduced-onion pies were so perfect that Mrs. Leone P Kiefrider must have intended two (maybe three) onions instead of five of the dang things. The onions were mellow and sweet, the bacon salty and savory, and the pies have just enough white pepper to make them interesting. You may think this recipe is only for people who think onions are a personality trait, but these are just really good.