I was thinking about mother/daughter relationships the other day and a thought popped into my mind. Instead of thinking about MY relationship with my mother and grandmother, I began thinking about my grandmother, Elizabeth, and the loving relationship she had with her mother, Anna.
Elizabeth loved telling stories about her life and had such vivid memories of her childhood. As a naïve German girl growing up on a farm in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, she was accustomed to the ethnic foods made by her German-Hungarian mother. Anna came to America from "the old country" and raised her family on the foods they ate over there. There were lots of dumpling and noodle recipes as well as potatoes and vegetables in season. They never had much meat, once or twice a week and of course on Sundays.
Elizabeth was absolutely enchanted when she went to school and discovered "all of the wonderful things" her girlfriends brought in their lunches! She would tell her mother about them and from this they got new ideas. One such new idea was a pie! They had never heard of pies before as they were not made in the old country. Elizabeth and Anna tried their hand at their first pie – Butterscotch. Everything was baked in the old coal/wood stove which created a unique flavor. They were so pleased with themselves! This was around 1918 when Elizabeth was eight years old. And this was just the beginning of her life long love affair with cooking and baking.
For Mother's Day this year I would like to honor Elizabeth and Anna, my grandmother and great-grandmother by sharing two of their favorite and very old recipes with you – Hungarian Cheese Noodles and Butterscotch Pie. Enjoy! And Happy Mother's Day!
Hungarian Cheese Noodles
You can use store bought noodles or make your own. To make your own take 2 cups flour and make a well in the center. Add 2 eggs, pinch of salt and enough cold water to make a stiff dough. Mix until you have a stiff dough. Roll into 2 balls. Flour tabletop or cutting board and roll out each ball to about 1/8" thick. Put flakes (rolled out dough) on a clean towel and leave them to dry about ½ hour. In the meantime, mix 1 pound cottage cheese, pinch salt, dash of pepper and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside. When flakes are dry sprinkle with flour. Cut into 3" strips. Lay one on top of another and cut 1/2" to make noodles. Boil water with ½ tablespoon of salt. Drop noodles into the boiling water. Boil about 5 minutes. Drain. Place noodles into a bowl with the cottage cheese mixture. Combine. Using 2 or 3 slices of bread make crispies by tearing off small pieces and frying in 1 tablespoon oil or butter until golden brown. Sprinkle crispies over noodles. You may also sprinkle with some more sugar on top to bring out the flavor. A surprisingly delicious dish!
1 ¾ cups milk
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon corn starch
butter the size of a walnut (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put 1 ½ cups milk in a pan and heat. Mix brown sugar, egg yolks, flour, corn starch and salt with ¼ cup milk. Slowly pour hot milk over this mixture. Bring to a boil. Stir until thick. Add lump of butter and vanilla. Pour into a baked pie crust.
To make meringue: Beat 2 egg whites until stiff. Slowly add 4 tablespoons sugar. Spread meringue evenly over pie filling. Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees until meringue is light brown.
Pie Crust: Take 1/4 cup butter, 2 tablespoons boiling water and a pinch of salt and beat with a wire whisk until it is the consistency of heavy cream. Add 1 cup flour. Mix with a fork until crumbly. If too soft add more flour. Form a ball and roll out making a round crust to fit into pie plate. Trim edges to make them even and flute by pressing between your fingers. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until pale brown.