Oh, that’s not the right flour measurement. Not a chance.
C’mon, two pounds of flour in a custard pie recipe? That’s about seven cups. Enough to make twenty pie crusts. Nope, that can’t be right, especially since you don’t even really need flour to make a pineapple custard pie.
Consider this Boston Globe version, reprinted in the February 22, 1917 edition of the Blue River Gazette from Fredericksburg, Indiana:
Pineapple Custard Pie.
Won’t someone please try my pineapple custard pie? It is delicious. I used the pineapple that I canned. Shred thoroughly ripe pineapples until you have two cupfuls; add one cupful granulated sugar and the yolks of four eggs, well beaten. Stir in a pint of milk which has been scalded–not boiled–and which has been allowed to cool; then add the whites of eggs beaten stiff and stir all thoroughly. Put the pastry on tin plates and bake until the crusts are rich and brown. — Boston Globe.
For a meringue version, let’s talk to Mrs. Bryan Schiller, who shared her recipe in the April 3, 1966 edition of the San Antonio Light:
Pineapple Custard Pie
The “heirloom” dish is Pineapple Custard Pie. The recipe is as follows: Mix 1 cup sugar and 1 heaping Tablespoon flour. Add 1 cup milk and stir well. Cook until thick. Remove from fire and add 1 Tablespoon butter, 1 small can grated pineapple and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Fold in 1 stiffly beaten egg white.
Pour in cooked crust and top with meringue made of 3 egg whites and 3 heaping tablespoons sugar. Bake until light brown. Chill and serve.
Mrs. Schiller’s husband is a member of the Town Club which is readying for its spring formal at the Menger Hotel, held annually on Tuesday of Fiesta Week.
Ugh. “Mrs. Bryan Schiller.” Of all the old customs that show up in the process of Yesterdishery (trust me, talking about the site is easier if we use it as a verb), the most obnoxious is wives being known by their husband’s name. Just complicates the simple.
Anyhow, Mrs. Bryan Schiller started out life as Ms. Norrie Hart Brett. Here she is in the 1930 census at age 6, where she’s in the household of the grandmother and aunt who raised her, as well as her twin sister Polly:
In the 1930 and 1940 census, Bryan’s parents said both of Bryan’s grandmothers were born in Texas; if that’s the case, then Grandmother Schiller probably used canned pineapple in her recipe.
Why? Because Bryan was born in 1924. His mother was born in 1901; his father was born in 1896; and that means, either way, his grandmother was probably born 20 to 30 years before that. Hawaiian pineapples have to be picked ripe. So until air travel was invented and commercialized, fresh pineapple wasn’t readily available in Texas. The Wright Brothers took off in 1903, and it was more than a decade before commercial flights began.
Of course, South Asian pineapples–which can ripen after being picked–had been shipped to the U.S. by steamship from the 1880s onward. But Norrie said the recipe was over a century old in 1966. It’s possible she didn’t have the full story, but it’s equally possible that this was made with canned pineapple, the most likely candidate by quite a bit in 1866.
Well, anyhow, back too this recipe. The two pounds of flour can’t possibly be correct. Most likely, this was intended to be two Tablespoons flour to stabilize the custard.
From the box of Evia Marie Sands of Louisville, Kentucky.
“Pineapple Custard Pie”
2/3 cup sugar
3 cups milk
2 lbs. flour
I’m going with the 1917 non-meringue version (which we’d call a chiffon pie today, and we’d probably use gelatin today, too). Assume the flour measurement is two Tablespoons. You’ll also need a prepared pie crust.
- Separate eggs. Beat egg yolks, half the sugar, vanilla, and flour together. Stir into scalded milk.
- Beat egg whites and the other half of the sugar. Fold into yolk mixture.
- Pour into pre-baked pie crust. Bake in a 350 deg. oven till just browned.