Sour Cream Raisin Pie

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Right before my 10th grade school year, our family moved from New York to Utah. At that time I don’t think I could have located Utah on a map, although geography has never been one of my strengths.

Salt Lake City was quite different to me, in so many ways. Regarding the food scene, well, there was none. Not that I was a modern foodie in 1970, but my mother certainly was.

There was no Chinatown, no German deli, not even a cheese shop. In fact, Salt Lake City remained in the culinary dead zone for a long time, until nearby ski resorts like Park City, where we lived, became popular to the world.

After graduating high school, I moved west for college, but when I went home for visits, there was one restaurant that my mother and I would lunch at when we shopped in Salt Lake City – it was our only choice – Marie Callender’s.

Because of having been raised and fed by my mother, who was a chef in her own right, I wasn’t a burger and sandwich eater. But there were a few things on the Marie Callender’s menu that I liked, especially the wilted bacon salad. Plus I always had sour cream raisin pie for dessert.

I remember it well – the creamy filling with the soft raisins and the meringue on top. And even back then I wasn’t much of a dessert eater.

So recently I was shocked to come across a sour cream raisin pie whilst browsing on Epicurious.com. It’s funny how food-related memories come rushing back.

I decided to go online and check the spelling of Marie Callender for the sake of this post, and discovered that her restaurants are still around. Sadly, neither my wilted bacon salad nor this pie is on their menu anymore.

But there is an interesting story about Marie Callender, who was a real person and a pie baker from California. I never thought about Marie possibly being a real person.

These days, if I were to pass by a Marie Callender’s restaurant, I’d turn my head and give a little chortle. Sorry Ms Callender. It’s just not my type of restaurant. But back in the days when I had no other choice, Ms. Callender satisfied my gastronomic needs.

I’m making this pie in her honor. Below, a young and older Marie Callender.

Here’s a sour cream raisin pie recipe, from Epicurious.com.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie
printable recipe below

1 cup raisins
Pastry dough
Pie weights
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a bowl soak raisins in water to cover by 2 inches at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. Drain raisins in a sieve. I also let them “dry” a bit on paper towels.


On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out dough into a 14-inch round (about 1/8″ thick) and fit into a 9-inch glass pie plate.

Trim dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and crimp edge decoratively. Chill shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork and line shell with foil. Fill foil with pie weights and bake shell in middle of oven for 15 minutes.

Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until golden, about 8 minutes more. Cool shell in pan on a rack.

Reduce temperature to 400 degrees F.

Separate eggs. Chill whites until ready to use.

In a bowl whisk together yolks and sour cream and whisk in 1/2 cup sugar, flour, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and raisins. Pour filling into shell and bake in middle of oven for 10 minutes.d


Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake pie 30-40 minutes more, or until filling is set.

Remove pie from the oven but keep temperature at 350 degrees F.

In another bowl with an electric mixer beat whites until they just hold soft peaks.

Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating until meringue just holds stiff peaks.

Spread meringue over warm pie, covering filling completely and making sure meringue touches shell all the way around.

Bake pie in middle of oven until meringue is golden, about 10 minutes. Cool pie on rack and serve at room temperature.

This is absolutely wonderful.

I had a piece of warm pie, but it was a bit too wobbly,

So I let the pie come to room temperature.

It was magnificent, and so much like what I remember. The only negative might be the amount of sugar. If I make this pie again, I would only add 1/2 cup of sugar to the pie filling.

Keep in mind how lovely this pie would be during the holidays, made with dried cranberries!

 

 

Forgotten Pudding

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This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson, but not from a cookbook that I know of… I printed it, so perhaps it’s from her blog?

The reason I wanted to make it again, and also post on it, because it’s so unique.

Here’s a quote:

“There is a wonderful poetry to the name of this dessert which, thankfully, once eaten could never be forgotten. It’s an old, old recipe popularly exhumed – I believe by the late, great Richard Sax. Think of it as a kind of marshmallow-based pavlova. That’s to say, you whip the egg whites as if making meringue, spread on a jelly roll pan, and put in an oven which you immediately switch off, leaving the pudding to cook overnight – hence, “forgotten.”

So that pretty much explains it. I own one book by Richard Sax; if I were more of a baker, I’d own more. His book is an incredible reference.

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I had ten egg whites leftover from when I made creme fraiche ice cream, which used only yolks. So I knew I couldn’t waste them.

Typically meringues or a pavlova come to mind when one has leftover egg whites, but I’m so glad I remembered this recipe, and you will be too, if you’ve never made it before!

Forgotten Pudding
adapted from Nigella Lawson

6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
Berries
White sugar

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Generously butter a jelly roll pan.
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Place the egg whites in a large bowl, and have your electric mixer handy, as well as the sugar and vanilla.
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Begin whipping the egg whites. Once they’re foamy, begin gradually adding the sugar. There are no pictures of me doing this, or adding the vanilla, as I don’t have three hands.
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The egg white will become more foamy.
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Then they will become more thick and opaque.
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Keep whipping on high speed until the whites are stiff and glossy.
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Pour the meringue into the jelly roll pan, and immediately spread it out evenly, filling the corners, and smoothing the top as best you can.

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Place the pan in the oven.
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Close the oven door, then immediately turn off the oven. Do not open the oven door until the next day. I prepared my forgotten pudding approximately 10 hours after putting it in the oven.
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Toss your choice of berries with a little sugar and let them macerate for a bit. I used superfine sugar.
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Right before serving, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Place the cake on a serving platter, and cover the cake with the whipped cream. I did mine individually.
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Then top with the berries. Slice the cake into 12 servings.

The forgotten pudding ends up like a meringue that you left out at room temperature for a few days. It’s sticky but soft. There’s no real crunch to it.

In the original recipe, Nigella also used passion fruit, but I couldn’t get my hands on any.
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By the way, I looked at Nigella’s blog, and there was the recipe. So here is the link for the original forgotten pudding!