Jill Spencer has been an online writer for ten years. Her articles often focus on gardening.
Good Cooking From the Mountains
I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains surrounded by many remarkable women. One of the best of the bunch was Mrs. Eloise Pope.
In addition to being a great person, Mrs. Pope was an excellent cook. In fact, she was so skilled that in the 1990s, at 81 years of age, she could write with authority to Southern Living Magazine, taking the editors to task for their strict edicts regarding the making of pie crusts.
Ice water only? Careful handling required? "Not true!" she told them—and she knew what she was talking about! She made two, sometimes three dozen pies per week. (Oh my, were they good.)
To prove her point, Mrs. Pope submitted the recipe below.
It was published (in much fancier language) in the "From Our Kitchen to Yours" section of the magazine, and she became something of a local celebrity, at least among the Sunday School/Church Social/Mission Society/Garden Club set.
I still have a copy.
Southern Living called it "Water-Whipped Baked Pastry Shell." We just called it "Mrs. Pope's Hot Water Pie Crust."
Mrs. Pope's Hot Water Pie Crust
Tender, flaky and delicious
Rate Mrs. Pope's Pie Crust.
Practice Makes Perfect.
If your first attempts don't result in the perfect shell, keep trying. Homemade crust costs very little to make, and it doesn't take much time either, so ... keep at it! You'll eventually get it just right.
- 3/4 C. shortening
- 1 Tbsp. milk
- 1/4 C. boiling water
- 2 C. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
With a hand mixer, beat the first 3 ingredients on medium speed until fluffy. Add flour and salt. Beat on low until the dry bits become moist and the dough forms.
Divide the dough in half, shape both pieces into balls and wrap the balls in plastic wrap. Chill for 4 hours or more.
Roll out the dough between two pieces of wax paper to form two 12-inch circles. One circle at a time, peel off the top sheet and invert over a 9-inch pie pan. Pull away the remaining pieces of wax paper, fit the dough into the plates and flute the edges. Then prick the dough with a fork.
Use the shells immediately or store them in the refrigerator. They'll keep for about a week.
Bake the shells at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes until lightly browned.
A Vintage Version of Hot Water Pie Crust
No mixer required. This recipe is in a yellowed copy of The Milton Garden Club Cook Book that belonged to my grandmother. It was written at a time when most women were referred to by their husband's names, and the majority of recipes end with Mrs. Paul Harshbarger, Mrs. Raymond Smith, Mrs. William H. Blenko Jr., and similar appellations.
Read More From Delishably
Mrs. Pope used her own name. Here's what she wrote exactly as she wrote it. It appears right below her recipe for Raisin Pie:
Put 3/4 cup Crisco in mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup boiling water and 1 tablespoon milk. With fork, whip until smooth and thick. Sift two cups flour and 1 teaspoon salt onto mixture, stir into dough. Shape into two smooth balls. This will make two pie shells. Keeps well in refrigerator.
Mrs. Eloise Pope
Fluting? It's as easy as pie.
If you've never used gelatine before, don't be too weirded out by the clear gummy substance that you get when you mix it with water. When you stir it into the hot pumpkin mixture as you're making Gin's Chiffon Pumpkin Pie, it will dissolve thoroughly, giving the filling a silky texture.
Gin's Chiffon Pumpkin Pie
Good at Thanksgiving or anytime.
My paternal grandmother was born and raised in a small West Virginia town where she spent her entire life. The friends she had in elementary school were the same friends she had when she was in her nineties. Gin Crookshanks was one of those friends. My grandmother always bragged on her, saying she was "a beautiful housekeeper and a right fine cook." If you like pumpkin, you'll love Gin's Chiffon Pumpkin Pie. It's the best!
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 C. sugar
- 1 1/4 C. canned or cooked pumpkin
- 1/2 C. milk
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatine
- 1/4 C. cold water
- 3 stiff-beaten egg whites
- 1 baked pie shell
Beat egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar until thick. Add pumpkin, milk, salt and spices. Cook in double boiler until thick. Add gelatine, softened in cold water, and mix thoroughly. Add remaining sugar and allow to cool. Then fold in stiff-beaten egg whites.
Pour into baked pie shell and chill thoroughly. Top with sweetened whipped cream if desired.
How to Use a Double Boiler
A double boiler (also called a bain-marie or water bath) is easy to use! Just watch the video below from Mahalo Baking. Although the instructor makes a distinction between a double boiler and a bain-marie, they really perform the same function. And either one works well if you're making Gin's Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.
Pie Crust Making Equipment
Keep it simple. To make Hot Water Pie Crust, you'll definitely need a deep mixing bowl, wax paper and a rolling pin.
If you use the newer recipe, you'll also need a mixer that has two speeds. Or, you can follow the older version of Mrs. Pope's Hot Water Pie Crust and just use a fork.
Nine-Inch Pie Pans
A handy size to have in the kitchen. You can keep hot water pie crust in the refrigerator for about a week before using. Fit it into a pie pan, flute it and prick it with a fork. Then wrap it in plastic wrap. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Bonus Recipe: Mrs. Pope's Raisin Pie
It's goooood—and it's good for you! Like the vintage water-whipped pie crust recipe above, Raisin Pie appears in an old copy of the Milton Garden Club Cook Book.
- 2 C. sugar
- 1/2 C. margarine
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
- 3 eggs
- well beaten
- 3 Tbsp. vinegar
- 1 C. raisins
- 1 unbaked pie shell
Wash raisins in warm water and dry thoroughly. Cream sugar, margarine, cinnamon and allspice. Add well-beaten eggs, vinegar and raisins. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
More Tasty Pie Recipes
- Pie Crust Made with Vinegar
Vinegar Pie Crust is hard to ruin. You (or your children) can play with the dough as much as you like. It won't toughen up. If you make a mistake, you can wad it up and roll it out all over again. You can even patch it--no harm done.