The second challenge for the Historical Food Fortnightly was all about culinary vices. I went through a number of cookbooks trying to find something that was soaked in bad stuff. I found a lot of recipes that could have worked but I decided on this molasses pie recipe. Why? Because I love molasses cookies and I was really curious to see just how this recipe would cook up. Plus, New Orleans.
The Challenge: #2 – Culinary Vices
The Date/Year and Region: 1885, New Orleans
The Recipe: A Richer Molasses Pie, from La Cuisine Creole: A Collection of Culinary Recipes, From Leading Chefs and Noted Creole Housewives, Who Have Made New Orleans Famous for its Cuisine.
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
4 TBSP butter
Mix together the sugar, butter, and eggs, then stir in the molasses. Bake in a rich crust.
I cooked this at 425 degrees for ten minutes and then lowered the heat to 375 degrees for twenty more minutes. I went off the idea that it would be done when a toothpick in the center came out clean.
How Did You Make It: We had a jar of molasses at home, but we picked up some fresh blackstrap molasses from our local co-op. The smell between the two was pretty different, so we used the new blackstrap as a base for this pie.
We were pressure canning the day this was made, so I warmed the butter by sitting it on the stove in a bowl. I mashed it a few times and determined that it was soft enough… Here is where I made my first mistake. When I mixed it in with the egg, I couldn’t get the little bits of butter to mix. I pulled out as much as I could and put it back on the stove to melt. I was afraid to cook the egg or I would have put the entire mixture back on the stove. When I couldn’t get anymore of the small pieces out of the egg, I mixed in the sugar and mixed and mixed and mixed trying to get the rest of the butter to incorporate. When I gave up, I added the molasses.
Oh my gosh, molasses is hard to stir.
I set aside the mix and pressed a store made pie crust into a pie pan. Yes, I used a store bought crust. There was a recipe in the same cookbook for a crust, but well, I was tired.
I gave the molasses mix another good stir before pouring it into the raw pie crust. Then it was thrown into the oven.
Since the recipe didn’t say what temperature to cook the pie at, I looked a few modern recipes. The few I looked at all said to cook at a higher temperature for about ten minutes and then reduce heat for another twenty to thirty. So, that’s what I did. I cooked it at 425 degrees for ten minutes and then reduced the heat to 375. I left it in the oven for another twenty minutes. At that time, I stuck a toothpick into the bubble that formed and then stuck it in the center. It came out clean and Amon determined that it was done. It could have probably cooked for another ten minutes.
Time to Complete: Maybe ten minutes to mix and assemble. Forty minutes to bake.
Total Cost: $5 for the molasses and pie crust. I had everything else on hand.
How Successful Was It?: When I dished out the pie and it wiggled, I thought this was going to be a disaster. When I saw how dark the pie crust was, I thought it was going to be burnt. But this was pretty good. The texture was definitely not solid. It ended up more like flan or custard. Not molasses cookie good, but it was sweet and dark and oh my so rich. We all had a hard time finishing our pieces – not because we were full or disliked it, but just because there was only so much we could take.
Oh, and I actually liked the crust. It gave a much needed contrast to the molasses mixture.
How Accurate Is It?: This recipe is almost accurate. I did cheat in using store bought pie crust. There was a perfectly good recipe in the book, but I was quickly running out of motivation and time and so a store bought crust was used.
Black pie is hard to take pictures of….