Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries

It's childhood-memories week at the Carnival of the Recipes.

I don't think I had an unusual childhood, food-wise. We went through all the fads and phases of '60's, '70's and '80's food, including my mom's treks into wokking and Weight Watchers. It's hard to pin down one food or one recipe that evokes childhood for me, unless it's the smell of a just-opened can of evaporated milk--and I don't think a baby formula recipe will do, exactly, for a Carnival of Recipes.

Or maybe it's Jelly Tots, or Neilson Rosebuds, or Bottle Caps Candy, or those cookies my grandma used to buy that were cookie on the bottom and then pink marshmallow with coconut on top. Also not too practical for a recipe carnival.

But the one thing we used to have that I hardly ever see any more (unless we're at a restaurant offering farm-style desserts) is elderberry pie. Gritty and seedy--Edna Staebler says "gravelly"--a bit strong-tasting unless you were the kind of kid who liked mincemeat too...but delicious in its own way. This is the recipe from Staebler's classic cookbook Food That Really Schmecks.

Elderberry Pie

Pastry for a deep pie, double crust
3 cups elderberries (you have to pick them all off the stems)
4 tbsp. flour
1 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. butter

Mix the sugar and flour; sprinkle a third of the mixture on the pastry. Put in half the berries. Sprinkle with half the remaining sugar mixture. Put in remaining berries and sprinkle remaining sugar on top. Dot with butter, put on top crust with vents for steam. Bake for 45 minutes in a 350-degree oven (Edna's recipe says--but you could start it higher for 10 minutes if you prefer and then turn it down).

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