Monday, August 20, 2018

Tansey - 5th Annual Pieathalon

So a few weeks ago I am checking my email and what do I find? An invitation to participate in the 5th Annual Pieathalon! I played it all casual in my response, but I immediately ran downstairs to tell Farm Boy.  Well, "ran" is probably an exaggeration, but I did go downstairs and scream, "OMG! OMG! The cool kids are talking to me!"  He was very impressed.

The rules of Pieathalon are simple:
1) You choose a vintage recipe and send it in 
2) You receive a vintage recipe submitted by someone else
3) You make the recipe
4) You post about your experience

I looked through a lot of cookbooks for my submission and while I saw a lot of really nice sounding pie recipes, the one that really, truly spoke to me did not sound nice at all.  Heh heh heh.  I hope Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers who got stuck with Sweet Onion Pie (with raisins) can find it in her heart to forgive me.  Or at least never finds out where I live.

On the other end of the spectrum from a dessert with onions and raisins, the recipe I received - courtesy of Battenburgbelle - is full of heavy cream, eggs, ladyfinger cookies and sherry.  Oooh, promising!

The recipe is from Mary and Vincent Price’s Come Into The Kitchen Cook Book (1969). 

I happen to have a copy of this book (big surprise, I know).  It only has a few actual photos, but the whole book is full of cute illustrations like these. 

A cat!  You know that gets points from me.

I meant to take one of those "here are all my ingredients" photos, but I was distracted by The Oven of Regret.

It's actually a Knapp-Monarch Redi-Baker from the 1950s.  And it ended up in my kitchen because of a (possibly winey) evening of online shopping.  It has been sitting on the kitchen counter for about a week, just daring me to straighten out that old cloth cord and plug it in.  Since I had a little leftover pie crust and Farm Boy was away for the day (and thus I wouldn't kill both of us when it burst into flames), I decided to plug that bad boy in and make:

Pie crust cookies!

No sparks erupted when I plugged it in or turned it on.  There was a slight aroma of burning dust (with a piquant hint of musty old house) while it heated, but no flames or electrical shocks and the thermostat even seemed to work.  I was afraid that the heat would be uneven, given the small size of the oven space, but it worked like a champ.  Thank you for performing so well after 60+ years, Oven of Regret! I'm still not quite over my buyer's remorse, but I'm glad to know you aren't out to kill me.

Now, back to the pie.

Step 1 of the recipe called for cooking the egg yolks, cream, sugar, sherry, ladyfingers and nutmeg until thickened.  I wasn't sure how well to break the ladyfingers down, but they ended up cooking down into very small crumbs.

Step 2 was to add some green food coloring, if desired.  Normally I wouldn't bother with food coloring, but this is for the Pieathalon.  One simply does not commit half-assery during Pieathalon!

Ta-da!  It's green(ish)!
Step 3 calls for the egg whites to be beaten very stiff, then folded into the hot custard.  That mixture is then poured into the pie shell. 

I really wish I had taken a photo of the empty pie shell.  It was one of the better ones I have ever made.  Pastry is not my forte. 

Step 4 has us bake the pie at 450F for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 350F and bake for 30 more minutes. 

 chambers stove oven range

True to the description, the pie did puff up quite a bit and was nicely golden brown on top.  After cooling, it settled down to a normal pie height.

Now time for the tasting!

Farm Boy and my sister agreed to be taste testers for me, but the only one brave enough to be photographed was the queen of the house, Lily.

I am here to help



How could you?
Results: Disappointing.

We all thought, based on the ingredients, that this would be really good.  But it has hardly any flavor at all.  If you use your imagination, you can almost taste the sherry, but overall it has the flavor profile of a graham cracker, but not quite as sweet.  And to add to the sadness, instead of a nice, creamy pie, the crushed ladyfingers just end up giving it the texture of cooked and then cooled/ congealed steel cut oats. 

In the end, while I'm sad to not have a pie that I want to add to my repertoire, I am thrilled to have participated in the 5th Annual Pieathalon.  Thank you to Yinzerella at Dinner is Served 1972 for organizing this event and for inviting me to join in on the fun.  And to Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers, I'm sorry about the onion and raisin pie!  Okay, not very sorry! <cue maniacal laughter here>

To read about the adventures of the other Pieathletes, visit their blogs:

Yinzerella from Dinner is Served 1972 with Kate's Pie
Surly at Vintage Recipe Cards with Dutch Peaches and Cream Pie
Kelli at Kelli's Kitchen with Chocolate Mousse Pie
Dr. Bobb of Dr. Bobb's Kitschen with Ritz Cracker Mock Apple Pie
Kelly from Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en with Marguerite Patten's Cheese Pie
Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers with Sweet Onion Pie
Poppy Crocker at Grannie Pantries makes Strawberry Ginger Pie
The Battenburg Belle from Battenburg Belle serves up Frosty Vanilla Pie
Sally over at with Mock Pecan Pie
Taryn from RetroFoodForModerntimes makes Vincent Price Pineapple Meringue
Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla with Peaches and Cream Tart
Peter Fuller, Curator of the Vincent Price Legacy UK makes Puddin n'Pie
Renee Quintana from Tortillas and Honey dishes up French Raspberry Pie
The Unofficial Mad Men CookBook presents Aloha Meringue Pie
Retro Mimi of Once Upon a Salad gives us The Millionaire
Sue of Vintage Cookbookery makes Yul Brenner's Walnut Pie
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm presents Tyler Pie
Clara Silverstein of makes Olde English Egg Nog Pie
S.S. of A Book of Cookrye makes Cool Mint Cookie Pie
Debra of Eliot's Eats with Apricot Meringue Pie
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp from BookClub CookBook serve up Weight Watcher's "Almost a Pie"
Greg Swenson of Recipes4Rebels makes Seafoam Cantaloupe Pie
Kaci of Homicidal Homemaker creates Lemon Beer Sponge Pie


  1. Unbelievable! I've been looking at pie efforts for quite a while and it's far from clear that anyone received a decent recipe as her challenge. I keep asking: I wonder if it would be better to choose more mainstream cookbook recipes that are certain to have been tested in a real test kitchen, and leave the nostalgia cookbooks to just satisfy our curiosity.

    Your cat photos are wonderful, though. Another way to save the day.

    best... mae at

    1. Since this is a Mary and Vincent Price recipe, I was really surprised it wasn't better. But I have to say, I submitted a recipe that sounded pretty wonky, so I can't complain too much.

      Queen Lily says thank you for appreciating her photos. She always sits beside me on the arm of that chair while we eat. Not begging! Just waiting for me to do the right thing and share with her. :)

  2. Wow! A stunningly gorgeous pie, fresh from the oven (too bad the flavor didn't match)! Strange how green food coloring showed up in at least 3 Pieathalon pies this year! Mary and Vincent Price recipes are usually pretty flawless...what's up with this one Mary and Vincent? The 1950s Redi-Baker is fabulous! No regrets there! Good read, I enjoyed your posting!

    1. The pie smelled *really* good while baking, which made it all the more disappointing when it was just flavorless. I suppose even M&VP are allowed to have one flop of a recipe, but I really did expect it to be good.

      Thanks for stopping by! I am looking forward to reading your post!

  3. Yeah, bummer about a VP recipe not turning out FLAMAZING, but it's pretty. As is your cat.
    Thanks for joining in and for all of your hard work.

  4. Darn! I was looking forward to a great tasting pie based on the ingredients -- But it was a great time for all I think!Hope to see you next year!!

    1. I had a great time! I am already looking for next year's submission!

  5. I am just floored by the apparent suggestion that I may be one of the cool kids. I have never been mistaken for a cool kid before!

    It's always fun to pick the weirdest recipe you can find and then hope to get a decent one. Sorry this one wasn't as good as you hoped. Now pet Lily for me.

    1. Lily says you get three cat points. I just got -782 for not sharing my supper with her.

  6. Replies
    1. I will need to build up a lot of good karma between now and the next Pieathalon, so I can pick another "treasure". heehee!

  7. Replies
    1. I had such high hopes! Oh well, at least it was an easy recipe.

  8. The "blech" photo is priceless! (Or, should I say "pieless"?)

    1. She is a very comical (and opinionated) cat. I'm not sure I've ever had a pet that makes me laugh as much as she does.

  9. Your cat is so expressive! I'm amazed you got her to stay in place long enough to take not one but a series of photographs. And isn't it odd that Vincent Price has you coloring the pie the same green as pistachio pudding but not adding any pistachios?
    Also, don't regret the portable oven. I got a toaster oven a while ago because my... expressive... use of garlic was permanently stinking the whole house (stupid open-plan kitchen). Being able to put your oven outside or in the garage does wonders for keeping heat and smells out. For me, it opened a whole lot of possibilities that I never would have made earlier because every recipe I have to consider "Do I want the house to smell like [insert pungent ingredient here]"? Besides, yours is cute and adorable.
    After seeing those pictures, I am determined to with no explanation say "This is affording exquisite pleasure" as soon as the chance presents itself. :D

    1. Ironically, the next recipe in the book is for a pistachio custard. Maybe I should have combined the two recipes for more flavor!

      Cute and adorable is what made me notice the Redi-Baker and I justified it with how little it would heat up the kitchen if I wanted to bake just a few cookies or biscuits. I hadn't thought about putting it outside to bake smelly things - thanks for another check point on my justification list!

  10. I am now in love with your cat.

  11. Somehow I missed your comment, Denise. Lily says to tell you that you have most excellent taste!

  12. Loved it, amazing pictures and healthy discussion. Weight Loss after 60