Wednesday, July 24, 2013

8/28 Cooking Challenge - The Pooh Cook Book

Sorry it has been so long since the last 8/28 Cooking Challenge post. But, as I had alluded to previously, I had to go to my parents' house to retrieve the next cookbook. We went down there over the Fourth of July, and then it took me until last weekend to find an excuse to make the dessert that I stumbled upon.

Sadly, the book only has just over 6 columns of index, spread over 4 pages, so I couldn't really do Page/Column/Item. In fact, I really couldn't even do Column/Item. So I went with Page 82. Which is a lovely dessert called a Honey Chocolate Pie.

Oh... Backstory... Sorry, I almost forgot... The Pooh Cook Book came into my possession sometime in the mid-1970s. Unfortunately, it's not inscribed, so I don't know exactly when or from whom. But the latest printing date in the book is 1974, so I'm guessing I got it not long after that. As you might be able to tell in the first picture, below, it's simply a paperback book - no fancy anything - but it does include drawings from the original Winnie the Pooh illustrator.

In answer to a question brought up by "Glenda in CO" (Hi, Glenda in CO!) after the Confetti Salad post, this is probably a good time to point out that my mom was born in Canada - half French-Canadian, half English-Canadian - so we grew up on Winnie the Pooh. But we didn't just have the TV specials, we also had the original books with the line drawings. (If you remember that I mentioned that my mom also made salsa when we were growing up, that's because her family moved to Southern California when she was in about junior high.)

So, anyway, The Pooh Cook Book was a natural thing for me to have. And it's great. It includes recipe groupings for "Smackerels, Elevenses, and Teas", as well as "Provisions for Picnics and Expotitions." The Honey Chocolate Pie recipe comes from the "Dessert and Party Recipes" section.

One of the really great things about this is that the book (which sold for $1.25) was a "Dell Yearling" book for all ages, so the recipe was pretty straightforward. All of the ingredients are in that picture. 

I'm hoping you can read that - please ignore my fingertips.

Here's where it can get a little weird for some of you, I'm sure. You see, unlike many modern households, we don't have a microwave oven. Or... well... we do, it's just that it's in the basement on a shelf that we can't easily get to. The "microwave-sized" space on our counter is filled with a convection toaster oven.

So, instead of melting chocolate chips and butter in the microwave, I do it old school with a make-shift double boiler. (Yes, I have an actual double boiler, but for small things that I'm going to need to stir, a bowl on top of a pan of hot water is *so* much more practical.)

I'm kind of frustrated with myself for not taking a picture of what was happening in the other bowl while the chocolate was melting. I was mixing together the honey, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. As the chocolate melted and I added in the evaporated milk, it started to look kind of splotchy, but at least you could tell it was doing something. On the other hand, the honey mixture kind of turned into a cross between Play-doh and gnocchi dough. I was ready to give up hope, but then I cracked in the two eggs and it became the amazing silky substance you see on the right, below.

(In case you're wondering why I'm not stirring in the above picture, it's because I couldn't figure out how to keep stirring while also pouring and taking the picture.)

When all was stirred and done, I had enough to fill a 9" crust (store-bought graham cracker, I admit), as well as two small baking dishes. I'm not gonna lie, I thought it was best to do the small dishes so that we could sample it, first, to make sure it wasn't going to be way too sweet or anything before serving it to Les Cousines.

The smaller portions (which had no crusts) puffed up and then collapsed a bit - they also had a firmer edge texture. The pie, unfortunately, puffed up and then stuck to the foil which was placed on it for the final 20 minutes of baking. So it wasn't the prettiest thing. But... hey... that's what whipped cream is for, right?

For the record, aside from the pie sticking to the foil, I'd say this was an unqualified, four-star success.

I'm very glad that we followed the recommendation of making this when we had "... friends in for lunch or supper or a dessert party", because it truly is pretty sweet (no surprise since a primary ingredient was honey). We served very small pieces, and still have some leftovers 3 days later.

Oh, and I do kind of wonder what it would be like with different types of honey. We used a local, non-flower-specific honey, but I think that something like an orange-blossom honey might add an interesting flavor, especially if you were to use a darker chocolate.


A sidenote to Irishred (Everyone wave hello to Irishred!), who also commented on the last 8/28 Cooking Challenge post: I always recommend those church cookbooks. But I almost always recommend them for other people. My shelves are way too full as they are.

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