Growing up, traditions were not something me or my brother were a customed to when it came to holidays. Well, maybe there were traditions……
New step-parent every year
Weeks of arguing where we would be for Christmas Day
Traveling to at least five places all day long
I am not griping at all. At the time, we thought that was normal. We didn’t know. And we have had lots of laughter talking about the memories. I like to say my family put the Fun in Dysfunctional. There were a few things that were always present no matter what. One was my grandma’s chocolate pie and my grandma’s sugar cookies. They were a staple no matter what. I grew up extremely close with my Grandma Lindemann. I still say today if it had not been for her, there is no telling how I would have turned out. She was my rock. She is the one thing I knew would always be there. She lived in the same house, went to the same grocery store on Thursdays, woke up at the same time every morning and watched the same shows everyday. I grew up in Winnie with my mom but during the summer I would go stay quite a while with my dad and he would take me to stay with my grandma Lindemann or Grandma Harbes every day while him and my step mom were at work. I loved going both places. They were my favorite people in the world.
As my grandma Lindemann got older, she started taking short cuts with her baking and cooking. I never said a word and ate with a smile and listened to her latest “change” and acted as though it was just the same. Heck, she was 70 years old. Good Lord. Her specialty was desserts. Her meringue was always perfect. It was at least 3 inches high. Of course, I didn’t appreciate this “talent” at all. I feel bad admitting it but I took the meringue off every pie she put it on. Of course, seeing it all the time did give me a “standard” . When I would visit other’s holidays and I would see their “attempt” at a meringue I would think in the back of my mind how they so desperately had no clue obviously.
When my grandma died, my mom pretty much took over the roll of reproducing my grandma’s sugar cookies and her chocolate pies. She would arrive and be so proud and want us all to gawk over her beautiful dessert and then tell a story about grandma. I will admit, it was quite annoying at times. I was thinking what is the big deal??? Grandma did it every year and never asked for a trophy. I think some of it was also jealousy. Mom would make a point to say how the chocolate pie was specifically for my brother. So, I assume the cookies were just for me??? Okay, I know they weren’t but can I pretend please? I would get a little jealous since every holiday grandma would make me a special dessert. She always made me a cottage cheese pie every Christmas and every Birthday. But, I also understand that cottage cheese is not everyone’s “thing”. That was between my grandma and I.
When my mom passed away, the only thing my brother mentioned he would like is one of grandma’s old pie plates. Well, unfortunately, none of my grandma’s stuff much less my mom’s stuff has become available to me or him. I am just crossing my fingers hoping my step dad has not given everything away.
Okay, I will shut up before I get on that rage. Happy Thoughts!!!!
A couple of months ago, I came across an old pie plate Tracy was talking about. At that moment, I decided I was going to ATTEMPT a chocolate pie for him for Christmas. I mean, we didn’t have
many traditions coming up but if there was something I could do about keeping one thing somewhat normal, I was going try.
I asked my aunt if she had grandma’s pie crust recipe and she said no. Of course, my mom probably has it since she kind of took the pie thing over but it isn’t like my step dad wants me going through any of her stuff. So, I had to improvise. I have a copy of the “Walkins Cook Book ” from the 1930s. I figure that would be the best place to start.
Here is the pie crust recipe:
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp Watkins baking powder (don’t think this exists anymore.LOL)
1/2 c. shortening
1/4 c. butter (no cheap stuff)
1/4 c. or less ice water
Sift dry ingredients together and work in chilled shortening lightly. Add ice water slowly and roll on lightly floured board. Line pie tin, have dough well over edge of pan. Roll dough outwards from center, keep in circular form.
Hints from the Hint section in the Watkins cook book :
You can use lard
Use only enough water to hold dough together. Chill for several hours or overnight
Do not grease pie tin. Just dust with flour
Make circle 2″ bigger than pie pan upside down and cut so you will have hangover for the edges
Brush the edges with egg whites to brown and give a nice color
The border should stand up over the edge so nothing will fall out over edges
To bake with filling inside put in 350 deg. oven and bake 40 to 50 min.
To bake shell only, poke holes in shell with fork and bake for 12 to 15 min. at 400 deg.
My hint: I doubled the recipe just in case so I knew I would have enough for my shell to hang over like Grandma’s did.
As you can tell, I don’t do a very good “circle”. After four attempts and a few tears I finally got it. It still wasn’t big enough to make the beautiful waves I was so going for so I added extra dough onto the sides and tried to mimic the way that Carla Hall did it on the Chew one morning. She made it look so easy. Also, my crust was uneven so I got a wine cork and rubbed it vertically up the sides to try and smooth it out which would make lots more come over the top and it was an ongoing issue. My husband tried to come help but me being stubborn as I am told him to go upstairs and I would figure it out on my own.
Yep, ADHD moment……….. frustration and anxiety cause it isn’t perfect. Ugh!!! I will get this dangit!
So, yes it ended up with full fledged fingers instead of the pretty “waves” but I had to tell myself it would all be okay. I placed it in the oven to brown and one of the fingers fell off when I took it out. Trying not to break down in tears and start bauling, I told myself one finger gone would be okay.
While that was cooking I had started on the filling. I was really stressed about this since I am very picky about my pies. Ever go somewhere and you are so excited to see the chocolate pie but of course you wait til the first slice is gone. An hour later you go back and it is cut into but the filling is all spread through the entire plate, looking more like a melting pudding pop then a cake? Yea, totally ruins my appetite. I was very worried this would happen. So, I told myself since my crust wasn’t beautiful the filling had to make up for it.
For the filling, I turned to my favorite Texas Food blogger, The Homesick Texan.e only thing I did differently was use Hershey’s DARK cocoa. I just love it more. It gives everything more richness. And, I like to say I am fighting cancer while eating my dark chocolate. And, it is less calories so of course it is healthy right?
Homesick Texans Chocolate Pie
Now don’t quote me but I am almost positive I doubled the filling. I knew this was a deeper than normal pie plate and I wanted it to be full.
Another one of my pet peeves………. more crust than filling
I know I stood there stirring for about half an hour. I wanted it so thick my wisk wouldn’t move anymore. When reviewing her recipe, she had said that you have to get it as thick as you want before putting it in the fridge cause it does not thicken up once it gets cold. Awesome that she put that note!!! I would not have thought that at all. I think that is why I love her so much. She does give little details like that that some people probably take for granted.
So, Christmas morning, I am so excited about my “gift” for my brother. It wasn’t really the pie. It was more about the pie plate. I wasn’t going to say anything and just decided to wait and see if he noticed. Of course, him being a man, he didn’t. He brought his piece and I said, “Did you notice what it was baked in? I found it so you get to keep it since that is all you asked about when mom died?”. His answer??? “I asked for that?”. Typical man…….
Ten minutes later, my step mom goes to the pie and says, “Thats’ where my pie plate was. I have been looking for that. I must’ve left it there at your house last Christmas”. I told her how I thought it was grandma Lindemanns and she said it was hers. I told her the story and she laughed and told my brother he could still keep it anyway. I felt bad. I was so disappointed It isn’t like I feel her plate wasn’t important. It is just we haven’t been able to get anything really from my mom’s. When I have gone through things, none of my grandma’s stuff that I know my mom had is there. I don’t know if other women have came and taken it or its’ been thrown away since it was “old”. All I know is I was so excited thinking we got at least one of my grandma’s memories and it ended up not being hers. Yes, I am bitter and angry. I admit it. Ha! If Gaylyn’s “church friends” are the ones who took the stuff, it is just stuff to them. They obviously have no respect for me nor care about what may be important.
Okay, on a rant again… I will shut up!
Over all, I was very proud of my first pie. I wasn’t impressed about my “finger” reaching over the top but I am sure that will get better with practice. I liked the dark chocolate flavor better than the regular chocolate flavor. The pie crust was awesome. It was flaky as heck. My brother asked how I got my grandma’s crust recipe and I told him I got it from a really old cook book. He said it was dead on. (patting my own shoulder).
Until next year……..
as far as chocolate pies go