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Mock Apple Pie
September 29, 2011 10:36 AM   Subscribe


 
Blasphemy!
posted by spaceman_spiff at 10:42 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Keeps fake doctors away.
posted by hypersloth at 10:43 AM on September 29, 2011 [14 favorites]


I remember seeing that recipe on the side of the Ritz Cracker box for years, never knew anyone who made it or what the point was.
posted by octothorpe at 10:43 AM on September 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


See also: sugar cream pie, a.k.a. too poor to afford apples pie, a.k.a. this will put you in a diabetic coma pie.
posted by phunniemee at 10:43 AM on September 29, 2011


That is fascinating. Cream of tartar is a byproduct of winemaking, not sure why it would taste like apples or if it even produces the apple flavor the way the author sugests. I've only ever used cream of tartar for making whipped cream, now I'm going to have to make this crazy recipe and figure it out.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:44 AM on September 29, 2011


i really did not need to look at that while eating. yak!
posted by sexyrobot at 10:45 AM on September 29, 2011


Now that I think about it, I am pretty convinced the cream of tartar only helps create apple pie filling like mouthfeel. But I gotta know!
posted by Ad hominem at 10:46 AM on September 29, 2011


I've often wanted to make one of these. But then my medication kicks in and I wander off humming.
posted by Splunge at 10:46 AM on September 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


I remember as a youngster reading the recipe on the side of the Ritz cracker box, but, living in apple country, I was more appalled than intrigued.
I look forward to her Mock Turtle Soup recipe, especially with the worldwide Mock Turtle shortage. Luckily Mock Turtle necks are readily available.
posted by Floydd at 10:47 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The article asks why this was done but doesn't answer it. Being born at the very end of the mock apple pie era I can postulate two possible reasons. First, apple-less apple pie is pure future food, one step closer to a magic pill ingested daily that contains all nutrients needed. Second apples are out of season and you are a crack head, but for apple pie. I know it seems crazy, but our grocery stores weren't always filled with Chinese apples in the middle of summer after the last fresh North American apple has been eaten.

Plus it's no dumber that 95% of what Grant Aschatz does.
posted by Keith Talent at 10:47 AM on September 29, 2011


I remember seeing that recipe on the side of the Ritz Cracker box for years...
Decades.
Many, many, many decades.

And I, too, have never known what the point was. Nor have I ever known anyone to actually make the horror.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:48 AM on September 29, 2011


The whole time I was reading this I was like "add a bit of lemon peel/juice", but I see that was already suggested by the San Francisco Exploratorium.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:49 AM on September 29, 2011


I made it once, when I was very bored.

I have never been that bored again.
posted by Wet Spot at 10:54 AM on September 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Had this every so often growing up, along with Postum and other wartime delicacies that made it into the family culinary arsenal. It's tasty and fun but it's not apple pie.
posted by chronkite at 10:54 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


The article asks why this was done but doesn't answer it.

Well, they do quote an 1852 book "The deception was most complete and readily accepted. Apples at this early date were a dollar a pound, and we young people all craved a piece of Mother's apple pie to appease our homesick feelings." The substance is a natural by-product of wine and grape juice, which smells vaguely of apples, so somebody probably added it to mush to verify that it did, indeed, taste kinda like apple.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:57 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


The original Ritz recipe calls for lemon zest and lemon juice.
Not that it would make it any better, mind you. Just different.
posted by Floydd at 10:59 AM on September 29, 2011


Had this every so often growing up, along with Postum

Postum was discontinued a few years ago, which has lead to the creation of Postum substitutes: a simulation of a simulation.
posted by jedicus at 10:59 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


And here is the exchange I had with my son and his friend:

Me: Do you smell apple pie?

Son: No.

Son's friend: No.


I can only imagine the band-camp scenario that immediately unfolded in their minds.
posted by DU at 11:02 AM on September 29, 2011


Sorry, 1894 book which attributes the event to 1852.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:03 AM on September 29, 2011


Growing up I remember my mom and grandmother would make pie crust from scratch and would take any surplus they had after assembling the apple pie, fold a sort of pocket of butter, sugar and cinnamon and bake it for a few minutes. That was often better than the actual pie but we all knew better than to say as much.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:03 AM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


As someone who loves apples to death but has developed a late in life allergy to them, this intrigues me.
posted by charred husk at 11:05 AM on September 29, 2011


It's really not bad, folks. My mom used to make one just for something different every now and again. If you like pies, this is one of them.
posted by echo target at 11:10 AM on September 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


Baudrillaud, call your office.
posted by goethean at 11:17 AM on September 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't do this because it sounds better or is necessarily easier than Apple pie, but because it's possible to do it. You can make something indistinguishable from apple pie from Ritz crackers and sugar. The novelty is definitely worth doing at least once.
posted by SpacemanStix at 11:26 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not many people know this, but if you combine bleach and ammonia you get a beverage that tastes just like Dr. Pepper! Serve it over ice!



*WARNING! Do not actually serve it over ice!*
posted by orme at 11:32 AM on September 29, 2011


Nothing fits like a ritz? gag.
posted by Cerulean at 11:36 AM on September 29, 2011


One day my curiosity took over, and I made a mock apple pie. It ended up being exactly like a pie made with Ritz crackers instead of apples.

The taste wasn't too bad. You take apple pie spices, add some sugar glop, and just about anything will taste like apple pie. The Ritz crackers added a dimension of saltiness that I found intriguing.

But the texture was absolutely disgusting.

If you do not like mushy damp Ritz crackers, then you will not like mock apple pie.
posted by ErikaB at 11:36 AM on September 29, 2011


Not only has Professor Allen Grubb studied the history of mock apple pies=, but he has the perfect name for doing so.

Grubb notes that the popularity of mock apple pie rises during war time, particularly the Civil War and WWII.

“[During the Civil War] There was mock apple pie made of crackers,” he said. “It doesn’t have any apples in it at all. You see that again in World War II with Ritz cracker ‘apple’ pies.”
posted by busillis at 11:40 AM on September 29, 2011


This vaguely reminded me of that scene from one of the Little House books where they have a bad year and have to harvest their pumpkins early, so they make green pumpkin pie that tastes exactly like apple pie. If only they had tartar sauce and Ritz Crackers on the prairie.
posted by muddgirl at 11:42 AM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


muddgirl: "If only they had tartar sauce and Ritz Crackers on the prairie."

NB: Tartar Sauce and Cream of Tartar are NOT the same thing. At all.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 11:48 AM on September 29, 2011 [13 favorites]


(cream of tartar != tartar sauce)

The best reason to eat stuff like this is in solidarity with people who went without in the past, and building your own make-do skills for the future.

Although in the upcoming downturn we'll probably be able to afford apples way before Ritz...
posted by chronkite at 11:53 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, we probably wouldn't be as perplexed at the idea of "mock apple pie" if we hadn't all grown up in a time when fresh apples are freely available all year round.

Before the days of industrial agricultural refrigeration, apples were (like everything else) a seasonal thing. Maybe you could extend the season a few extra months by keeping them in a root cellar, but they would certainly all be long gone by, say, March.

If you had a craving (or a hostess-ish need) for apple pie between March and late August, Ritz crackers were probably your best option.
posted by ErikaB at 11:55 AM on September 29, 2011 [4 favorites]


My apologies: I confess that I did not completely digest the list of ingredients, nor did I bother to refer back to it before making a comment. Did they have cream of tartar on the prairie?
posted by muddgirl at 11:56 AM on September 29, 2011


"You feel that, at this point, chemicals are actually more American than apples."

Quite true.
posted by hanoixan at 11:59 AM on September 29, 2011


I made mock apple pie once just to see. It's as good as any crappy frozen apple pie from the grocery store, and probably not much less apple-y.

I've also had mock apple pie made with zucchini (recipes on the Googles abound) and may I say, it is not a bad way to use up extra squash if you have a bumper crop. I strongly urge you to try it next summer. Amaze your friends!
posted by padraigin at 12:02 PM on September 29, 2011


I am finding it hard to believe that even during WW2 apples were hard to obtain, but pie crust materials and ritz crackers were readily available. Can that really be true? Maybe during the opposite of apple season -Spring? But even then, why not just make a pie out of some other fruit and wait for apple season again?

I've heard about this many times and I am simply puzzled by the whole issue.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:02 PM on September 29, 2011


"You feel that, at this point, chemicals are actually more American than apples."

I have it on good authority that many popular varieties of apple contain a chemical. Some have more than one!
posted by echo target at 12:08 PM on September 29, 2011 [12 favorites]


I am finding it hard to believe that even during WW2 apples were hard to obtain, but pie crust materials and ritz crackers were readily available.

Flour, I can see that being relatively easy to get -- neither fresh fruits nor flour was rationed during WWII. However, sugar was rationed, from May of 1942 until 1947. Fresh fruits may have been hard to find -- lots of canning for shipment to the front, and canned food was rationed -- but I'd think you'd want to spend what little sugar you had on the best thing you can make, not faux apple pie.
posted by eriko at 12:16 PM on September 29, 2011


Did they have cream of tartar on the prairie?

Probably, if they wanted it. It's great for anything made with meringue. I seem to remember it's a by-product of wine making, and doesn't really go bad, so people have had access to it for many a century, I'm guessing.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:18 PM on September 29, 2011


I've always found mock apple pie intriguing, but not intriguing enough to make. If I'm going to go through the effort of making a pie, there's going to be real fruit in it, dammit!
posted by usonian at 12:29 PM on September 29, 2011


Quote form fooducate:
3. Cream of tartar is natural, and is formed from the sediment left over in barrels after the winemaking process. They’ve found cream of tartar in ancient pottery dating back 7000 years!
posted by Cranberry at 12:32 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


but I'd think you'd want to spend what little sugar you had on the best thing you can make, not faux apple pie

Good point - this stuff takes comparably a lot of sugar (1-1/2 cups white sugar) - my tart apple pie recipe takes 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup brown. My pie recipe for sweeter fruits generally uses half that. And with rationing I could cut either of these pretty significantly and have a pretty nice pie.
posted by muddgirl at 12:34 PM on September 29, 2011


I guess what I'm saying is that cream of tartar/Ritz cracker pie is a sometimes food.
posted by muddgirl at 12:35 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am finding it hard to believe that even during WW2 apples were hard to obtain, but pie crust materials and ritz crackers were readily available.

Flour/lard (shortening)/sugar were rationed, but as they were considered staples, they were usually easy to find. Crackers store well, and don't go bad (they may go stale, but you can make this mock apple pie with stale crackers). Apples, especially out of season, or in locales far from where they grow, were harder to come by. Also realise that the grocery apples of even 1950 were quite different than they are now.

Having made this pie, and having made apple pie using (non Climate Controlled) stored apples, the mouthfeel is not horribly off. Cinnamon and cloves help a lot, and the cream of tartar is essential -- it somehow keeps the crackers from getting too soggy. Really.

And, like most recipes reformulated between 1960 and 2000, this one calls for waaaay too much sugar -- the older recipe we used called for about half that, and a mix of white & brown. Even a pecan pie doesn't use this much sugar!

Cream of tartar was once considered a kitchen staple, like cinnamon or pepper.
posted by jlkr at 12:47 PM on September 29, 2011


but our grocery stores weren't always filled with Chinese apples in the middle of summer after the last fresh North American apple has been eaten.

Keith Talent, the US apple crop has no problem lasting all year long in atmosphere controlled warehouses. Granted, the weird heirloom stuff always sells out (I'd kill for a Calville Blanc during the 51 weeks of the year that we can't get them), but all your standard domestic brands are available year round. Thinking about it, the only imported apples I can recall ever seeing are some weird NZ hybrids.

Back on topic, I could have sworn that the ritz box recipe had either some form of lemon, which would certainly help the tartness.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:47 PM on September 29, 2011


Not another anti-Apple thread.
posted by kmz at 12:50 PM on September 29, 2011 [12 favorites]


But the texture was absolutely disgusting.

Yeah, this is what keeps me from trying the recipe. I love the texture of apple pie, and I cannot imagine that mushy Ritz crackers could replicate the mouthfeel of baked apples. I briefly entertained the thought of making one of these as part of my annual Thanksgiving baking just to mess with my family, but I'm sure direct comparison with one of my usual apple pies would reveal the fake, and then no one would eat it.
posted by yasaman at 1:00 PM on September 29, 2011


man one thing i am not looking forward to in this depression is the awful fake food people will have to figure out how to make
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:07 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


rhubarb isn't a vegetable its a god damn weed god damn it
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:10 PM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've also had mock apple pie made with zucchini (recipes on the Googles abound) and may I say, it is not a bad way to use up extra squash if you have a bumper crop. I strongly urge you to try it next summer. Amaze your friends!

Pumpkin pie is a thing. So I am not that surprised that zucchini pie is a thing.
posted by madcaptenor at 1:12 PM on September 29, 2011


This seems more in the tradition of American making fake or "recombinant" (Neil Stephenson's term for it) dishes out of processed foods, a practice that had its heyday in the 1950s when processed food manufacturers promoted it extensively.

The good old frozen French string beans covered with cream of mushroom soup and topped with fried onion crisps is an example.

Casserole made entirely from convenience store fast foods (Vienna sausage, baked beans, Doritos, salsa) is another such (more recent, as the obituary of the inventor of Doritos shows).
posted by bad grammar at 1:57 PM on September 29, 2011


L's and G's, step right up! I bring you the Grāpple®: for all your synesthetic, come and get it, doctor-a-day, feeling just OK, eat it and weep needs.
::inhales::
Fun with syringes, will possibly cause cringes, eaten only on the fringes Grāpple®! ::inhales::
This Patented Process is complex and the ingredient mix primarily includes concentrated grape flavor and pure water (USPP #7,824,723).
Well, not everything has a ring to it.
posted by obscurator at 2:03 PM on September 29, 2011


I am reminded of a time in my youth when I was eating a McDonalds "apple" pie. I was told by a friend that it did not contain any apples. He explained that it was flavorings that made it taste like apples, and the texture was provided by potatoes. I thought he was full of shit.

But now I really wonder: If you can mask the flavor of the potato, can you make a more convincingly textured mock apple pie with them?
posted by chemoboy at 2:16 PM on September 29, 2011


Think I've heard that old adage: when life gives you potatoes, make "apple" pie.
posted by obscurator at 2:22 PM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


The recipe calls for a half teaspoon of cinnamon but the photo shows that he added maybe half a cup. Too much cinnamon does not taste good.

I saw a documentary somewhere that said that sweet apples (as opposed to cider apples) were not all that common before the end of the 19th Century. Maybe real apple pie was a scarce luxury in 1852.
posted by CCBC at 2:24 PM on September 29, 2011


Ok, I should prolly step away from the recombinatory-food thread while I'm sitting at my desk in a food company's R&D lab, but I've gotta mention that Grāpple®'s are way more natural than most of the prepared foods you'd buy in Whole Foods. The idea of floating apples in a bath of concentrated [natural] grape flavor is kind of odd, but the history of food is filled with infinitely weirder stuff, going back centuries.

Plus, they taste really good (it's like the ungodly offspring of a Fuji apple and Dimatapp/grape Popsicle).
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:28 PM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cream of Tartar is used for texture, yes (and it's used in Play-Doh), but, since it's an acid, it also adds tartness--mock lemonade, anyone?
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:30 PM on September 29, 2011


Mock apple pie: the original happy ending?
posted by treasure at 2:33 PM on September 29, 2011


> I am reminded of a time in my youth when I was eating a McDonalds "apple" pie. I was told by a friend that it did not contain any apples. He explained that it was flavorings that made it taste like apples, and the texture was provided by potatoes. I thought he was full of shit.

Never heard that one, but my father to this day insists that the blueberries in Lender's blueberry bagels are actually blueberry-flavored apple bits.
posted by davelog at 2:41 PM on September 29, 2011


If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first create an apple-less universe.
posted by extraheavymarcellus at 2:44 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


If anyone needs a recipe for Mock Finger Pie, I can let you have one that utilizes an mpeg of Paris Hilton and a kilo of raw liver.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:46 PM on September 29, 2011


Those blueberries are most likely "blueberry flavor bits", aka sugar, binder, artificial color, and flavor (maybe blueberry puree, if they're particularly posh baked goods. You'll find these in most grocery store blueberry muffins also, as well as blueberry pancake mix. Dehydrated blueberries don't have enough time to properly re-hydrate in the mix without fucking up the leavening.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 2:47 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Potatos and apples go strangely well together and I don't even like apples in savory dishes.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:48 PM on September 29, 2011


I can remember my chemistry teacher at school telling us that during the second world war, strawberry jam in Britain was sometimes made from turnips. He said that they added wood chips so that it looked like there were tiny pips in it.

I'm sure it was just nonsense, but I've always wanted to taste that jam.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:53 PM on September 29, 2011


Sugar pie is a delicious, delicious dessert to have right before you die from your diabetic coma. (See also pouding chomeur, which is like sugar pie but sweeter.)

Also, doesn't everyone sprinkle excess crust with cinnamon and sugar and bake it next to the pie? (I've never heard of adding more butter to it. The pie crust is already half butter.) I might have been known to make an extra crust so that I can make my little pie crust cookies.

I already have plans to go apple picking on Sunday, so at least my sudden craving for apple pie has been saved by the knowledge that I will have pie in a mere 72 hours.
posted by jeather at 3:12 PM on September 29, 2011


sour cider or cooking apples are the best for making pies.

Also, even with tart apples, you only need a sprinkling of sugar. I don't add any sugar to the apples when making apple crumble; with the sugar in the crust the apples are sweet enough.
posted by jb at 3:14 PM on September 29, 2011


doesn't everyone sprinkle excess crust with cinnamon and sugar and bake it next to the pie?

I always go the slather-with-butter, cover with cinnamon/sugar, roll up, cut off little pinwheels and bake route. The extra butter helps the sugar stay a little gooey, as opposed to just brulee'ing itself into oblivion.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 3:18 PM on September 29, 2011


Well, I will just have to force myself to do a comparison test, making some little cookies with butter and some without. It will be difficult, but I will do it for science.
posted by jeather at 3:30 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sugar cream pie is one of Indiana's signature dishes
posted by brujita at 3:46 PM on September 29, 2011


Ok, I should prolly step away from the recombinatory-food thread while I'm sitting at my desk in a food company's R&D lab, but I've gotta mention that Grāpple®'s are way more natural than most of the prepared foods you'd buy in Whole Foods. The idea of floating apples in a bath of concentrated [natural] grape flavor is kind of odd, but the history of food is filled with infinitely weirder stuff, going back centuries.

Plus, they taste really good (it's like the ungodly offspring of a Fuji apple and Dimatapp/grape Popsicle).


They also smell so powerfully of "grape" flavoring that even nearby non-grape-flavored apples take on the flavor.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:55 PM on September 29, 2011


Keith Talent, the US apple crop has no problem lasting all year long in atmosphere controlled warehouses....

Perhaps today, yes, but this wasn't part of the agricultural system 50 years ago. Apples were seasonal and only "keeper" varieties lasted long enough to store over the winter for fresh use.

all your standard domestic brands are available year round.

Perhaps today, yes, but these aren't the varieties people were eating 50 years ago. Some of currently most popular varities, like Braeburn and Gala weren't even available 50 years ago, and many others were around but not optimized for storage and transport yet.

It's very rare to find American apples in American grocery stores any more. It's generally a short-season thing to find New England, New York, or Washington apples.

This 1860 cookbook makes Mock Apple Pie with soda crackers or oyster crackers, as all did before the advent of Ritz, and says: "It is...very conveniently made in the spring, when apples are scarce." And this one of 1866 says "This is a good recipe for Spring use."

I searched a bunch of cookbooks from 1850-1900 and there are a goodly bunch of mock apple pie recipes. Most call for a "cupful" or "teacup" of sugar, which would be about 6 oz. or 3/4 cup in volume measures.

It's also clear that the pie existed under the simple name "Cracker Pie," with one book mentioning that it gives "a good imitation of apples," and another calling it out as "for dyspeptics."

It's fun to page through, but I read enough to be convinced that this was a recipe for when apples aren't around - pantry staples coming to the rescue.
posted by Miko at 4:22 PM on September 29, 2011 [6 favorites]


blueberry-flavored apple bits

That's what the "blueberries" in Blueberry Eggos are (or were, last time I checked).
posted by arcticwoman at 4:39 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been wanting to try this for the longest time. I suspect it will be un-delicious, but I have to try it for myself. My problem is usually an over-abundance of apples, though, not a shortage. My folks have a few apple trees in the backyard, and I get way more apples from them than I can possibly eat before they start rotting. I was foisting pies on casual acquaintances last year. I feel like I should not foist cracker pies on them.
posted by pemberkins at 4:47 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Happy Ending!
posted by squalor at 4:56 PM on September 29, 2011


Blueberry Eggos have some apple fiber, but those things are pretty far from apple chunks. I just took a look at their ingredient declaration, and that's exactly the sort of obscured but technically accurate dec that makes USDA compliance officers hate corporate nutrition depts.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:46 PM on September 29, 2011


Not kidding--I would add a Granny Smith to this recipe to make a cool variation of apple pie, which by itself kind of bores me. I would also prebake the crust pretty substantially and second Ritz's lemon zest/lemon juice recommendation. They would know, right?
posted by skbw at 6:36 PM on September 29, 2011


Plus, they taste really good (it's like the ungodly offspring of a Fuji apple and Dimetapp/grape Popsicle).

I must be missing a section of taste buds or smell receptors - I bought a clamshell of Grāpples® a few years ago and couldn't really differentiate them from any other red mass-market apple.
posted by pinky at 6:40 PM on September 29, 2011


My mom would make mock apple pie when I was little, I think mostly as a nostalgia thing (because her mother, an Army wife with little access to anything outside the PX, was the Queen Of The Back Of The Box cooking). I did not know what that word meant, I thought mock apples grew on trees, and then one day I suddenly put it together and was shocked, SHOCKED, that my mother could - or would - make an apple pie without apples. She tried to explain about not having apples any time you wanted (like in Omaha in March or Kaiserslautern in 1947), but I thought that was dumb.

To be fair, we were generally a meringue pie or cobbler family. Very possibly I'd never had apple pie. Still not a huge fan, and still can't look at Ritz crackers without feeling slightly betrayed.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:59 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Chunks of sweet potatoes and sliced apples make a fabulous sweet pie. FABULOUS.
posted by maudlin at 7:28 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have to jump in here with a few points.

1. Only people with no access to apples would ever make this pie. If you grow apples, or have a neighbor who grows apples, especially in the time period this recipe was developed, you're going to can those apples. Apples can extremely well. In fact, you don't even have to can them. A good cool root cellar, with the apple varieties grown then, could hold apples for many many months. You wouldn't want to eat that apple, but you could certainly pie it.

2. It's pie. Pie pie pie. Apple pie. If you're really poor, you've probably already converted your canned apples into mincemeat and have eaten that since about April. The taste of apple is not going to be welcome.

3. Did you know that Cream of Tartar is a wonderful way to clean your cast metal (iron or aluminum) pans? Boil water. Add cream of tartar. Boil some more. Rinse.

4. My neighbor had a "mock strawberry jam" recipe. Involved lots of tomatos. And strawberry jello. It was, in fact, very very good. If that is an 8 on a 1-10 scale, this recipe for mock apple pie is a -2. HOWEVER: if you don't call it "mock apple pie" and give it some other name, like "Aunt Susie's Sweet Mash Pie," then it can stand on its own two (crumbly) feet.
posted by yesster at 7:54 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Upon reflection: considering yesterday I ate a bag of Doritos for lunch, I guess I really don't have grounds to make fun of people in the 1800s for making fake pie.
posted by ErikaB at 8:20 PM on September 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


HOWEVER: if you don't call it "mock apple pie" and give it some other name, like "Aunt Susie's Sweet Mash Pie," then it can stand on its own two (crumbly) feet.

This is roughly how I feel about most fakemeat -- I like it as its own food but not as a substitute for meat.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:24 PM on September 29, 2011


For whatever its worth, according to Weight Watchers, home made apple pie from a recipe and this mock-apple pie are identical, points-wise -- both come out to be 11 points per serving.
posted by crunchland at 8:52 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


A propos of nothing but pie: my father has always told the story that, when he was a child, his grandmother made grape pie as a very special treat once a year. He claims that once, when he'd gotten a little older, he asked her why he'd never heard of anybody else making grape pie; she replied: "well, to make grape pie, first you have to peel the grapes."

I've never known if she was just putting him on or what.
posted by koeselitz at 9:38 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


koeselitz : "he asked her why he'd never heard of anybody else making grape pie; she replied: "well, to make grape pie, first you have to peel the grapes."

I've never known if she was just putting him on or what"

You inspired a Google. She may not have been putting him on: New York Folk Lore Society even says "Pop the skins off the grapes by pinching them at the ends opposite the stem".
posted by MuChao at 9:47 PM on September 29, 2011


The Wikipedia article on grape pie links to this newspaper article which says that:
"The pie-making is a "very long process" that includes skinning the grape, cooking the pulp and separating out the seeds.
But it might not be necessary to take off the peels. It might be like mashed potatoes, which are better if you leave the peels in.
posted by madcaptenor at 9:48 PM on September 29, 2011


I've made it, and it is good.

The point is, you want apple pie -- or maybe just fruit pie, period -- but you have no fruit, apples or otherwise. However, you have Ritz crackers.
posted by Chasuk at 10:04 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Small derail to yesster, relevant to fake fruit things: my mother makes, or let's say she can make, tomato jam as a thing of its own, not as fake strawberry. Is it a Texan thing? Knott's used to have one. It bears little resemblance to strawberry, apart from being red, but it's tasty.

By the same token, I bet in the right hands this pie is pretty darn good. Heck, I am going to perfect it now just to say that I did.
posted by skbw at 11:59 PM on September 29, 2011


I'm tempted to try this recipe, as my mother has developed an intolerance to apples late in life. I'm a bit apprehensive though, maybe the potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar) is the very thing from the apples she's intolerant to.

I'll have to hear with her if she's up to facing the consequences.
posted by Harald74 at 12:06 AM on September 30, 2011


What do you do with the tomato jam, skbw? Put it on pancakes or something? To my ears it sounds odd.
posted by Harald74 at 12:07 AM on September 30, 2011


Grape Pie (1901): "Make like any other fruit pie, using either green, ripe, or canned grapes. Be sure to sweeten well, as the heat 'brings out the acid.'"

Grape Pie (1917): "Take Concord grapes; press out the pulp, save the skins, put the pulp in a sauce-pan and boil for a few minutes, then strain through a course sieve to separate the seeds from the pulp. Put the skins with the pulp and take enough to fill a pie, sweeten well. Line a plate with pastry, put in the grapes, sprinkle over a little flour, dot with bits of butter, put on the cover and bake in a moderate oven."

Grape Pie (1913): Pop the pulps out of the skins into one dish and put the skins into another. Then simmer the pulp a little over the fire to soften it; remove it and rub it through a colander to separate the seeds. Then put the skins and pulp together and they are ready for pies...
posted by Miko at 4:05 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read enough to be convinced that this was a recipe for when apples aren't around - pantry staples coming to the rescue.

In thinking about this more I also realized that spring in the northern hemisphere in more agricultural economies was actually the time when basically nothing much else was around, either. It helps to understand why you might want to make a fake-apple pie when, in fact, there wasn't anything else fresh to make pie out of, either. Early spring used to be called the "starving time" or "hunger time" in the seventeenth century because you'd presumably eaten through most of your winter stores, but the earth wasn't yet warm enough for new produce. What would your pie options be? Molasses pie, fake apple pie, sugar pie, maybe some root vegetables from storage like sweet potatoes (which you'd be sick of by then).
posted by Miko at 4:08 AM on September 30, 2011


I made Mock Chicken a few times in my distant past and it went down surprisingly well (avoiding the use of the term 'Mock Chicken' probably helped).
posted by h00py at 4:31 AM on September 30, 2011


I was using my mother's computer last night and left this thread up and she sat down and saw it and got a real kick out of it. She was born in the 1930's and her mother (who also made the best real apple pie ever, with crust from scratch and little to no measuring of ingredients) made this for them regularly. This was partly because of WWII when some real ingredients were hard to come by and partly because that was before fresh fruits were available year round. My mother also made it for us a few times growing up and I remember it being pretty good (although at that age I thought canned ravioli were pretty good, too). She says that the recipe was better before Ritz got a hold of it; that back in the day it was a good use for stale soda crackers, which were a staple in WWII, at least where grew up in Oklahoma.

I also recall the mock apple pie as being a fairly common science fair project (see what we can do with CHEMISTRY!), along the lines of replica volcanoes and various things done with sprouting seeds.
posted by TedW at 5:52 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]




Harald74: just use it like regular jam. It does not taste like tomatoes at all. It is not in the least savory or even tangy. As a kid I ate it thinking it was strawberry...and there we have it!

The holy Mark Bittman's recipe does NOT produce the good ol' stuff, which is just jam.
posted by skbw at 8:31 AM on September 30, 2011


TedW: I don't have it here, but I think that Jane and Michael Stern's Square Meals has a recipe for the soda cracker/saltine version. If not, it is a great resource for other period recipes like this.
posted by skbw at 8:37 AM on September 30, 2011


There's a somewhat related cooking blog called Resurrected Recipes which was isted on MeFi Projects a while ago. The author compiles recipes from historic cookbooks and tries them out. If you're into Mock Apple Pie and the like you might be interested.
posted by Miko at 8:45 AM on September 30, 2011


I remember seeing that recipe on the side of the Ritz Cracker box for years, never knew anyone who made it or what the point was.

Luxury for the poor, octothorpe. An ex-GF's mother made it when she was growing up, as they couldn't afford things like apples and fresh milk.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:50 AM on September 30, 2011


There's no milk in your basic apple pie.
posted by Miko at 10:18 AM on September 30, 2011


...everything is cheap about pie except the butter for the crust, come to think. But in ye olden days, people had lard around, and rendered pork fat from cooking, and that was used instead, unless you were a farm person and butter was more abundant.

Lard crust is still the secret of an apple pie that makes people's knees buckle.
posted by Miko at 12:43 PM on September 30, 2011


It's a pity that it's so difficult to get actual (non-hydrogenated) lard now. I don't think it's commercially available anywhere in the United States, come to think of it.
posted by koeselitz at 1:15 PM on September 30, 2011


The Mexican markets are finally bringing lard back, though most of what's there is still the half lard, half partially hydrogenated stuff. If you find a Mexican market with a meat market, it's worth asking.

Our chic-chic butchers are starting to carry it, too, for way too much money.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:14 PM on September 30, 2011


If you need to peel some grapes, just get a robot to do it. (via reddit)

koeselitz: "It's a pity that it's so difficult to get actual (non-hydrogenated) lard now."

It is? I guess you could call that one of the pros of living Iowa, if you wanted to.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:23 PM on September 30, 2011


I mean, I see lots of lard in the stores – but it's invariably the partially-hydrogenated kind. Do they sell actual lard in Iowa, then ArgentCorvid? Like, leaf lard (which I've been looking for for a long time)?
posted by koeselitz at 2:27 PM on September 30, 2011


IAmBroom: An ex-GF's mother made it when she was growing up, as they couldn't afford things like apples and fresh milk.

Miko: There's no milk in your basic apple pie.

Sorry, my comment was a bit of a non sequitur. I remember her girlhood chore was to mix the milk every night from the welfare powdered box, for breakfast the next morning.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:35 PM on September 30, 2011


Ah, powdered milk. I've had that around a lot more this past few years, since I inherited a bread machine (a lot of the recipes use powdered milk...I dunno). ANyway, turns out it's kind of nice to have around, for when you run out of milk and don't want to do a store run because you're still in your jammies.

I feel like I've seen leaf lard in foodie stores recently. Not that foodie stores are where you want to buy stuff to make a cheap pie. You can always pick up pork fat at a butcher counter and render it yourself, but I warn you IT IS STINKY.
posted by Miko at 4:42 PM on September 30, 2011


As someone who loves apples to death but has developed a late in life allergy to them, this intrigues me.
posted by charred husk at 2:05 PM on September 29 [+] [!]


Can you eat cooked apples? I too love apples to death, but am only allergic to them raw. Got confirmed for my allergies to them (and more than a dozen other raw fruits, veggies, nuts), and that I'd probably never be able to comfortably eat raw apples again. The doc however, told me I could eat apple pie. So I must eat it. You know, for its great nutrients. Doctors orders.
posted by raztaj at 5:12 PM on September 30, 2011


Learned to make this in junior high home ec (around 1985), the older version with less sugar. I liked it a lot then, but I liked a lot of food as a kid I wouldn't put into my mouth now. However, the peanut brittle we learned to make in science class Had It Going On (and wasn't too spendy, either.)

Ah, powered milk. That stuff is so bad, my siblings & I tried to use that as little as possible. I wonder if Deseret brand is just worse than store brand- dunno, we didn't get to be picky about free food usually. IAmBroom - when did we date? :P
posted by _paegan_ at 11:39 PM on September 30, 2011


but it's invariably the partially-hydrogenated kind

hm. I looked at my normal grocery store last night, and it looks like you are right. I'll have to check the meat counter at Fareway.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:44 AM on October 1, 2011


I don't know if it's hydrogenated or not, but Tenderflake lard works just fine. Do they sell Tenderflake in the US?

I bought Mexican lard once, but it smelled so much of chicken fat I didn't dare use it.
posted by jb at 7:42 AM on October 1, 2011


I've never seen Tenderflake sold in the US, which is sad because I know it's non-hydrogenated.
posted by koeselitz at 12:00 PM on October 1, 2011


Tenderflake lard online.
posted by maudlin at 12:08 PM on October 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


IAmBroom - when did we date? :P

_paegan_ - I'm sorry, but my strictest Gallifreyan oaths prevent me from even hinting at the answer. Suffice it to say that good things will come along at the right times.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:50 PM on October 2, 2011


So it turns out tomato jam probably could pass as strawberry jam. I know this because I made some yesterday. But I don't like when foods try to be other foods, so I'll just call it tomato jam.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:11 PM on October 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


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