Dream Dishes: Lex Chase’s Thanksgiving Desserts

December 4, 2015

My mother’s Yankee side of the family are huge fans of downhome New England comfort food. I didn’t know my grandmother until later in life, but my mom would tell stories about how she was always in the kitchen cooking round the clock. My grandmother in particular is known for her Graham Cracker Pie. As one of six children, my mom and her siblings in their adulthood struggle to master. With a custard filling, and a toasted meringue topping, this sweet dessert conjures memories of wintertime in Maine curled around the old black-and-white TV watching Miracle on 34th Street.

Lex_Graham_Cracker_Pie

Want to make your own? You can click to enbiggen the image to see the original (and print it if you so desire!) In case you can’t read it, here’s the directions!

Graham Cracker Pie

The crust:

  • 14 graham crackers (because 13 is too few and 15 is right out!) rolled fine (1/4 for the top)

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup melted butter

Directions: Mix and pack into pie plate.

Filling:

  • 2 cups milk, scalded

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Cook until thick and pour into crust.

  2. Top with merengue and graham cracker crumbs.

  3. Bake for 20 minutes.*

*Okay. Since my Grandma’s directions assume everyone knows what they’re doing, let’s break it down for folks that look at it like it’s voodoo.

First, you can find the technique on how to scald milk here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkSN7bH4M-4

Now, those egg yolks? You need to temper those or you’re going to have scrambled eggs.

To temper eggs you slowly add a little bit of the scalded milk while whisking the eggs. Keeping adding in small increments and keep whisking at the same time. If you add the milk too quickly, you’ll have scrambled eggs and have to start again. When you get that together, you can combine the sugar and cornstarch and you’re good to go with your custard mixture.

Okay. So that merengue. For those of you that have no idea how to create such a wondrous thing. You can find out here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPf7n2-KLfQ

A good tip is to only use a metal bowl. Plastic bowls retain imperceptible greasy film that will ruin the merengue.

Bake the pie according to directions. Enjoy!

Next up is a popular recipe among family and friends is my Aunt Bunny’s Peanut Butter Cups. They’re more of a bar than an actual cup. They’ve become a tradition during the holidays, because making them any other day of the year becomes a dangerous prospect for your waistline.

Again, click the image for a better view!

Lex_Peanut_Butter_Cups

Bunny’s Peanut Butter Cups

Mix:

  • 2 sticks melted margarine

  • 1 1/2 graham cracker crumbs

  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 2 1/2 cup confectioner sugar

Directions:

  1. Spread in bottom of greased 9×13 pan.

  2. Melt 1 cup of chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of butter.

  3. Spread over peanut butter and chill until firm.

Now, one recipe special to me is the Love Cookies. I grew up a Navy Brat and my father had been stationed in Okinawa, Japan. I was about four, and in preschool. My teacher, Ms. Love, made these delicious cookies as a treat for her students. For the holidays she also made them as gifts for the parents along with the recipe. You may be familiar with chocolate haystacks with coconut, but these are a peanut butter cookie made with cornflakes.

Again click the graphic to read an print for yourself!

Lex_Love_Cookies

Love Cookies

  • 1/2 cup light Karo Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 2 cups cornflakes

Directions:

  1. Bring syrup and sugar to boil.

  2. Add peanut butter and cereal.

  3. Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper and cool.

Love holiday sweets? Who doesn’t! (Except for you in the back. You can see yourself out.) I hope you try these and start your own traditions.

 

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