Sunday, June 06, 2010

Yankee Doodle Prune Pie in Victory Pie Crust

"The dearth of sugar made dessert a special problem of wartime dining.  This powerfully satisfying pie, listed as a 'Wartime Desert' in the May 1942 issue of American Cookery, substitutes unrationed honey.

Pie Filling
2 1/2 cups uncooked prunes
1 lemon, unpeeled
1 cup water, reserved from cooking prunes (oh boy)
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
Preheat oven to 450F.
Cover prunes with water, bring to a boil and cook 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup 'prune water' (Do you think that tastes as good as lemonade?). Drain, pit, and coarsely chop prunes.  Slice lemon, remove seeds, chop into small bits; return prunes, chopped lemon, 'prune water,' honey, and butter to saucepan.  Stir over low heat until butter melts. Add salt.  Add cornstarch that has been moistened with 1 tablespoon cold water, and stir until mixture thickens.  Pour filling into a 9-inch pastry lined pie plate.  Cover with strips of pastry.  Bake 30 - 40 minutes.
Drink any leftover prune water. Just kidding.

Victory Pie Crust:  "Because of its low rationing of shortening to flour (rationing), Victory Crust is an indelicate affair, thick and sturdy, for heavy fruit pies."
These recipes are from Square Meals, the book that started my Vintage Cookbook obsession. It sites a General Foods publication from 1943 as the source for the crust.
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 tablespoons cold shortening
8 tablespoons ice water
Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift again.  Cut shortening into small pieces; add to flour and cut in until mixture is almost as fine as cornmeal.  In food processor or by hand, add ice water tablespoon by tablespoon to dough until dough forms ball.  Divide into 2 parts, and dust lightly with flour.  Wrap in wax paper and chill 1 hour.  Roll each part out on floured pastry board.  Makes top and bottom crust.

So I've mentioned the upcoming Prune Off with Molly MacRae this summer. Readers here know my mystery writer friend Molly loves vintage foods like prunes and mincemeat and wants me to embrace them. I don't think she understand how many truly scary prune recipes exist in my collection. Seriously - crack open a vintage cookbook and try to go three pages w/o prunes - can't be done! We are trying to convince each other. So I send her prune recipes like this one every few weeks this summer, and she and her panel will taste them. She will send me some she thinks I will find delicious, and my panel and I will make and eat them. We will post results, and hopefully put our discussion on a podcast (as soon as I figure that one out).

In the meantime, I'm off on a prune-free vacation. Molly is going to guest blog for four whole days instead of her usual delightful first Monday of the month. Her alter ego Ms. Prune Whip is going cookbook shopping... You'll love these - I laughed out loud while loading them up. Have a great week!

No comments: