Pioneer Potluck: About gooseberry pie and my dad

On the farm in Northern Colorado


1940’S to 1955


If you asked my Dad what kind of pie he wanted, he would say “gooseberry” or if we ask him what kind of ice cream he would like, he would say “gooseberry.” My Mother’s recipe for gooseberry pie follows.

I remember eating this sweet-and-sour pie but it was a lot of work to pick, cook, and prepare so Dad rarely got gooseberry pie. Actually he was happy to eat any kind of pie with ice cream on it. He loved Mom’s mincemeat pie in the wintertime, the way mom made it, with no citron. She made her mincemeat pie with deer meat and canned it for the holidays. She added lots of apples and more spices. I make my mincemeat with moose.

On the farm we had gooseberry bushes growing in the windbreak but they rarely got watered and picking the gooseberries was a labor of love. Sometimes one or 2 cups was all I could pick before I lost interest.

I think my love of rhubarb pie in Alaska has replaced the gooseberry pie. I am so happy to see my rhubarb up and almost ready to pick in about two weeks. Yum.. fresh rhubarb custard pie!

Mom made her own piecrust. I have been spoiled by the frozen type piecrust already in foil pie pans. How easy is that?? My Mom and my Grandma would just roll their eyes and tell me that was the lazy way. I have not mastered making pie crust from scratch, and I don’t intend too!


Graduation Time

I received a graduation announcement from my little niece Kaylee who lives in Colorado Springs. I cannot believe she’s all grown up and graduating from high school!

This led me to try and remember about my own graduation from Timnath High School in Tmnath. Colorado, in 1955. Try as I may, I cannot remember one thing about our graduation! The only thing I do know is that there were 13 or 15 in our graduation class. After 12 years of going to school through thick and thin, winter cold and spring weather, eating homemade lunches in grade school, riding a school bus to high school, going to football and basketball games, going to the prom, I cannot remember one thing about graduating from high school! Well that was a few years ago so I guess I will forgive myself for not remembering!!


Mothers Day Surprise!

I do hope you all have a nice Mother’s Day week end. I did! My grandson Michael Jordan, who lives in Washington, surprised his Mom and Dad, Susan and Porter and me, by showing up Sunday afternoon at the greenhouse. That was a wonderful Mother’s Day surprise for this Grandma!! Thank you Michael!! We get to keep him for a week!


This is a handwritten recipe in my Moms tiny handwriting.

I cherish this recipe!


1 quart or more prepared gooseberries-fresh

1 1/2 cups sugar

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons tapioca-3 tablespoons for a thicker pie

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/4 cup water

Cook 1 cup berries in 1/4 cup water with sugar and tapioca, until berries are soft, mash.

Add the remaining berries to the mashed mixture, add vinegar.

Pour into crust, cover with top crust. Bake 400° oven for about 40 min.

NOTE: What Mom did not write in this recipe is -Go pick the Gooseberries. Prepare the gooseberries, by handling everyone of the berries to get the stems off and pick out the leaves. Wash carefully. Make the pie crust. Get out the glass pie dish. Turn on the oven and then get out the recipe for gooseberry pie that she was making for my Dad. Oh.. we got a piece too, but mostly we liked the ice cream on top!!


This is the first pie I baked when I came to Alaska in 1967. It still is my favorite Alaska pie. Rhubarb grows in the warm parts of our state from Fairbanks to Juneau. The big red Ruby variety is my favorite.

1-9 inch pie shell unbaked

One piecrust for top-optional

3 eggs

3 tablespoons of milk

2 cups sugar-or 1 cup of white and 1 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

3/4 teaspoons nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoons salt

4 cups rhubarb cut in small diced pieces

Beat eggs, milk and sugar in bowl. Add flour and spices. Add rhubarb, stir to coat. Pour into pie shell. Dot with butter. Top with top piecrust-not necessary and I usually do not put on a top piecrust but use the crumb topping. (If using the top piecrust brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.) Bake at 400° for 50 to 60 min.

Variations for Crumb Topping:

Top with the crumb topping in place of the piecrust


1/4 cup each brown sugar and room temperature butter

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix into crumbs, sprinkle on top of pie. Bake as directed above.

Serve with vanilla ice cream!


Preheat oven to 350°

1 stick butter melted

2 eggs

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup flour

2 cups milk

3 cups shredded coconut

In a roomy bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Pour into an ungreased 9 inch pie plate and bake at 350° until Golden Brown on top, about 35 to 45 min. I turned mine around in the oven halfway through baking as it was browning on just one side.

Enjoy! Judy Platz.