Preserve the past, safeguard the future with heirloom keeper recipes

For the holidays over the past few years, my friend, Lainey Smith, of Bluffton, has baked me a cheese pie made from a special passed-down recipe that came via her late grandmother Nana Sadie (Sadie Sharaf) and mother, Lillian (Sharaf) Smith, also deceased. As if the pie and the act of baking it weren’t enough, Lainey also shared with me with Sadie’s keeper recipe, which, of course, makes Lainey more a sister than a friend.

Passed-down recipes are typically hand-written on index cards or recipe cards specifically printed for that purpose, or on scraps of paper that are full of stains and all sorts of notes that have become harder and harder to read with time. It could be wear and tear that makes reading them so difficult, or failing eyesight, but in the days before computers and recipe blogs, this is the way we traded recipes with family and friends. Most of us kept the cards in metal file boxes, or tucked them away inside cookbooks. I didn’t have so many cookbooks then, so locating the cards wasn’t as hard as it sounds.

Nana Sadie’s recipe for cheese pie, deemed and named “great” by her family, also has pen and ink roots, but for sharing here (and on the Web) has been neatly typed, baked and photographed. In spite of being presented in this manner, the recipe is still a keeper, but holding a passed-on recipe card or note that was once held by a loved one who has also passed-on, is a lovely, back-in-time, experience.

In going through my own file box of hand-written recipes, I came across a special recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo. I make it only occasionally, because while the pasta dish is nothing short of scrumptious (and handy for using up a half block of leftover cream cheese), the dish is also over-the-top rich.

Don’t attempt to lighten up these recipes. Yes, they are chock-full of calories, but they are also bursting with “yumm.” So, when serving them, think small, think special – think Nana Sadie.

Nana Sadie's Great Cheese Pie

Yield: 1 (10- to 11-inch) pie

 

1 (11-inch) graham cracker crust, baked*

For the filling (Part I)

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

(for a creamier pie, add 1 to 2 ounces more cream cheese)

1 cup whole milk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 pinch of salt

For the filling (Part II)

Combine filling (Part I) in the container of a blender, blending well. Pour mixture into a large bowl; set aside.

 

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

(for a creamier pie, add 1 to 2 ounces more cream cheese)

1 cup whole milk

1 large egg

Combine filling (Part III)

In the container of a blender, blending well. Combine the Part II mixture to the Part I mixture in the bowl, mixing well. Pour mixture into the prepared pie shell.

For the topping

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

White (golden) raisins (optional)

(Says Lainey Smith, “Nana always dotted the top with white raisins. I do it without.”)

 

Combine sugar with cinnamon, blending well. Sprinkle mixture evenly over top of pie. If desired, sprinkle raisins over all.

 

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. (The best way to tell if the pie is done is to gently shake the pie. If it appears firm, it’s done!)

 

*Kitchen Ade notes: Lainey Smith uses a Keebler (9-ounce, “two-extra servings” size) graham cracker crust, plus six individual-size (4-ounce) crusts for making her grandmother’s cheese pie. (The large pie takes approximately 45 minutes to bake, the minis about 20 minutes.)

In addition, Lainey shares that the pie may be prepared in one large mixing bowl using a stand mixer instead of a blender, which eliminates the need for processing the ingredients in two separate batches. If using a mixer, be sure all the ingredients are first brought to room temperature, which helps ensure a velvety-smooth texture.

 

Fettucine Alfredo

Servings: 4

 

½ pound fresh fettuccine, cooked al dente

1 stick unsalted butter

2 cups heavy cream

4 ounces cream cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon salt

Few grinds fresh black pepper

Fresh minced parsley for garnish, optional

 

In a saucepan, over low heat, warm the butter with the cream and cream cheese. Whisk until mixture is well combined and smooth. Keep sauce warm, but do not allow mixture to boil.

In the meantime, cook the fettuccine al dente (firm to the bite – “to the tooth”). Fresh pasta cooks in a matter of minutes, so time carefully.

Place half of the grated cheese into a large serving bowl. Pour the warm cream mixture over the cheese. Drain the pasta and immediately place in the bowl, tossing a few times. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pasta, continuing to toss until the pasta is well coated.

This dish sets up fast, so serve at once with a few grinds of fresh black pepper and some minced fresh parsley, if you like.

Nice to own: Le Creuset's small Salt and Pepper Mill Set

If you didn’t get what you hoped for this past holiday season, consider gifting yourself with Le Creuset’s small Salt and Pepper Mill Set. The grinders are made of hardened ceramic, “strong enough to crack peppercorns and corrosion-resistant for grinding salt.” A turn of the knobs, adjusts the grind settings.

Available in 11 colors, including cerise (cherry) pictured above, view the mill set at www.lecreuset.com.

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Wed, 01/04/2017 - 09:23

Preserve the past, safeguard the future with heirloom keeper recipes

For the holidays over the past few years, my friend, Lainey Smith, of Bluffton, has baked me a cheese pie made from a special passed-down... Read more