My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Wray Dedmon, was a fine cook. She made wonderful pound cakes, sweet potato pies, and salmon croquettes. She was best know for her cornbread dressing at Thanksgiving and Christmas. You would think she collected many recipes and cookbooks during her 80 years, but surprisingly, she didn’t. She actually had only one cookbook that used on a regular basis.
Some years later, after she passed away, my aunt (who was my grandmother’s oldest daughter), was in the process of moving when she came across a huge load of recipes and cookbooks that she collected over the years. This included some of my grandmother’s recipes. Since my aunt didn’t cook much anymore, she gave this box to me…..and you would’ve thought I had found a treasure chest! I had the best fun going through this box of recipes, many of which were written in either my aunt’s or grandmother’s handwriting. I also found recipes cut from local newspapers, from the backs of food boxes and bags, and even booklets put out by major food companies. Even today, I occasionally go through the box and look through the recipes just for fun.
While going through this treasure trove, I came across a recipe that I thought I’d share in today’s column. This is a pie recipe, “Jello Pie”, that my father especially enjoyed. It’s a very economical recipe, using ingredients that you most likely already have on hand. You can use any flavor of gelatin you desire. It’s a lot like a chiffon pie and it’s light, airy texture would be just the dessert to top off a filling meal.
Notice that the recipe calls for a can of evaporated milk that is whipped. Here’s some basic rules about whipping the milk that will guarantee a successful pie or any recipe calling for whipped evaporated milk:
-Chill the milk thoroughly (at least overnight) along with the beating bowl and the beaters of the electric mixer. Cold milk plus cold utensils will improve the beating, enabling the milk to whip faster and hold its texture better.
-Let whipping the milk be the last step in preparing the recipe. Whipping the milk in advance and letting it sit will cause the milk to deflate.
-Don’t use skim or fat-free evaporated milk for whipping, as it won’t whip well. The fat in regular evaporated milk is necessary to help the milk whip and hold a peak.
This recipe makes two pies and you may even have some filling left. If so, turn into dessert dishes or a serving bowl and chill. This would make a good snack, especially for children, since it’s light and relatively healthy.
Enjoy this pie recipe that’s stood the test of time by a special grandmother!
2 Graham Cracker Pie Shells
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Pineapple Juice
1 (3 oz.) Pkg. Fruit-Flavored Gelatin, any flavor
1 (13 oz.) Can Evaporated Milk, thoroughly chilled (NOT the reduced fat or fat free versions)
Chill mixer beaters and a large bowl; beat together the eggs, sugar and pineapple juice; cook over medium heat until mixture thickens; remove from heat and add the dry gelatin, stirring to dissolve; set aside to cool; with a cold bowl and beaters, whip the evaporated milk until stiff; immediately add the cooled gelatin mixture and fold together completely; turn into pie shells and chill until firm. Makes 2 pies.