Baked Beans

Here’s a bit of a mystery – a baked beans recipe with no beans in it.I suggest from the small quantities that this is for a standard can of beans (15 oz) or possibly a 33 oz can. I remember seeing some recipes that said things like “1 #10 can…” A long while ago my sister had to find out what exactly a #10 can was. That is a monster can – 6 pounds 6 ounces. The #10 can is 7″ high by 6 1/4″ diameter. Way back in the late 1890s or early 1900s, can sizes became standardized, and they were numbered 1 through 10. So great! But, modern cans don’t tend to follow the old standardization. You may notice a recipe will call for 16 oz of something, but your can is 14 oz – this may be due to “hidden price increases” by manufacturers. A hidden price increase happens when they keep the item price the same but reduce the quantity of the product you get for your money.

Baked Beans (sauce only)

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tbsp molasses

1/4 tsp dried mustard

1/4 cup brown sugar

Upside Down Ginger Pear Pudding

This is one of those “pudding that is really a cake” recipes. Upside down cakes were tremendously popular in the mid 20th century as they look so fancy once turned out for serving. But, they are pretty simple really! Slice your fruits and arrange them in a pattern in the bottom of your baking pan, then pour the batter over top and bake according to the cake instructions. The fruits & sugars at the bottom form a syrup or glaze that when turned out makes the cake moist and sweet. This particular combination of ginger & pear is delicious and sounds like something you would have in winter. Pear harvest begins in August and continues until all the fruit is removed from the tree. Certain high-end orchards grow or import fancy pears at the Christmas season as well. Gingerbread combined with the ginger-pear topping sounds very “holiday” to me.

Upside-Down Ginger-Pear Pudding

Arrange in rows in bottom of well greased square pan (9x9x2) about 2 pears, peeled and sliced thin (in 16ths or less)

Pour over the pear slices 1/2 cup corn syrup & gingerbread batter

Bake about 40 minutes in moderate oven (350º)

When done, turn pan upside-down on serving plate. Do not remove from pan for a minute to allow syrup to run down over cake instead of clinging to pan. Serve warm with whipped cream or your favorite hot pudding sauce (vanilla, lemon, etc).

Serves 8 to 9 generously

Gingerbread Batter

Sift together:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together and stir into dry ingredients:

1 egg

3/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup hot water

Blend in 1/4 cups shortening, melted

Cherry or Berry Pie

Cherry pie is my favorite pie, hands down. I usually use a can of pie filling, but for the very best cherry pie, fresh cherries are a must. This recipe, like many other fruit pie recipes, can be adapted to other fruits such as strawberry, blackberry, blueberry, or even a mix of fresh berries. I do find it interesting that the pie is a single crust pie, only the top. Usually a fruit pie is a two-crust pie, both the bottom and the top. I think you can read pretty well the recipe for the pastry, or use a premade one (which is what I do).

Fresh Berry Pie (with variations)

Mix together:

7/8 to 1 cup sugar * use smaller or larger amount depending on sweetness of the berries

4 tbsp flour

dash of salt

Sprinkle lightly over: 4 cups ripe, cleaned berries in mixing bowl

Gently spoon into 8 1/2″ baking dish (1 3/4″ deep) or deep 9″ dish

Sprinkle with: 1/2 tsp cinnamon * lemon juice is often used with blueberries 1 1/2 tbsp for 9″ pie

Dot with: 1 tbsp butter

Sprinkle over mixture: 2 tbsp water or juice from berries

Cover with chilled pastry

Form a fluted edge if desired (inside dish if deep dish is used). For a shiny crust, brush lightly with milk just before baking. Bake about 40 minutes using a hot oven (450º) for first 10 minutes, reducing heat to moderate oven (350º) to finish baking. Serve while slightly warm. (Cut in wedge shaped pieces and then serve with a spoon)

Fresh Cherry Pie

Make same as Fresh Berry Pie except use pitted sour cherries in place of berries; use about 1 1/2 cups sugar for the 9″ pie; leave out the cinnamon and add a drop of almond extract.

Fresh Peach (or Apricot) Pie

Make same as Fresh Berry Pie except use sliced peaches (or apricots) in place of berries. Use the smaller amount of sugar.

Al Pearce’s Honeymoon Cake

This recipe shares some post-Depression era history. Al Pearce was a popular comedian, musician, and radio personality with several hit radio programs from 1928- 1947. He also made some appearances in movies guesting as himself. He was on the radio in Southern California in the 1940s at least as I found a reference to his show in an old San Bernardino newspaper. I wasn’t able to find any reference to a cake promoted by his show or by him, but that’s only because it may not have been printed in a newspaper that has been scanned & cataloged.

Next, Formay might have been a sponsor of his show. Formay was a shortening brand in at least the late 1920s to late 1930s. There was a Formay factory in Los Angeles and you can see a photo of factory girls packaging the 3 pound tins of shortening if you click here. So this recipe uses shortening in place of butter. You can use either shortening or butter – your preference – but shortening may be nice if you want the cake to be completely white.

Al Pearce’s Honeymoon Cake

3/4 c Formay

1/2 teas salt

2 c sugar

1 c milk

3 c flour (sifted before measuring)

6 egg whites (stiffly beaten)

1 teas vanilla

Cream Formay & sugar together. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk, beating after each addition. Fold in egg whites, add flavoring, & pour into 3 oiled layer pans. Bake in moderate oven 375 degrees about 30 minutes. (Makes 3 large layers)


2 egg whites

1/2 c water

1 3/4 c sugar

1 c raisins

1/8 teas cream of tartar

1/2 c chopped walnuts

1/2 teas vanilla

Place egg whites, cream of tartar, sugar and water in top of double boiler over boiling water. Beat with rotary beater over heat 7 minutes, or until frosting drops by spoonfuls from the beater. Add raisins, nut meats and flavoring & spread between layers & on top of cake.

Sea Food Hollandaise

I have been able to glean that the lady who wrote the current batch of recipes was from the Long Beach, CA vicinity, based on some business references on the backs of scratch papers she used. While it’s not difficult today to get fresh fish nearly everywhere, there is nothing like fresh caught fish from the ocean. Both sole and halibut are available at local markets, although at the time this lady was making & writing this recipe, fish markets were much more interesting than they are today.

As a child in the 1970s, I visited with my family the dorey fishermen, which were a long traditional fishing fleet in Southern California. These fishermen went out in their boats before the sun rose, fished, and then came back in to beach their boats and sell their catch right off the bow. They always had a wide selection, from halibut and sole to red snapper and varieties of sea bass. It was incredibly noisy with the gulls screaming for their tribute & people milling all around on the sand. I like to imagine the lady who wrote these recipes purchased her fish at a place like this. These dorey fishermen are effectively gone – especially the selling of their catch on the boats brought up on the beach – as developers have decided that housing is more valuable on the Southern California coast than industry or fishing.

Sea Food Hollandaise

First – clean, skin & bone (trout, sole or halibut). Cut in individual pieces, season – salt & pepper. Melt 4 tablespoons of Crisco in hot skillet and brown fish quickly on one side. Turn fish, cover skillet and cook slowly 10 or 15 min, until done. Serve with following sauce.

3 T Crisco

2 T lemon juice

2 egg yolks

2 T flour

12 fresh shrimp or 1 can

Cup hot water

1/2 cup cooked mushrooms

1/2 t salt

Melt Crisco in saucepan, stir in flour, add 1 cup hot water slowly cook over slow heat (or hot water) stirring frequently, when mixture thickens add seasonings & lemon juice, stir in well beaten egg yolks before removing from fire. Warm mushrooms and shrimps & add just before serving.

Note, I think you can sub butter for Crisco if you like. It may change the flavor a bit, but traditional Hollandaise sauce is made with butter.

Oatmeal Crisps

These are similar to oatmeal cookies, but the chilling of the dough and thin slicing will give you a nice, crispy cookie.

Oatmeal Crisps 

1 c shortening

1 c Brown sugar

1 c granulated sugar

2 beaten eggs

1 teas vanilla

1 1/2 c flour

1 teas salt

1 teas soda

3 c quick cooking oats

1/2 c chopped nuts

Thoroughly cream shortening & sugar; add eggs & vanilla; beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients, oats & nuts; mix. Form in long rolls; chill thoroughly. Slice 1/4 inch thick. Bake on uncreased cookie sheet in moderate (350) oven 10 min. Makes 5 dozen.

Velvet Freeze

This sounds like a delicious recipe that can be eaten as a fancy dessert. The use of evaporated milk will give this recipe a more dense consistency than if it were to use cream. Evaporated milk is simply milk with 60% of the water removed. It can be reconstituted by adding water, or used as is. It is not to be confused with sweetened condensed milk – which is milk with water removed and sugar added. In some parts of the world, evaporated milk is used in place of creamer or milk in coffee and tea as it’s shelf stable for 15 months, and in some of these places cow’s milk is more scarce than in the US for instance. I imagine the evaporated milk is what gives this recipe it’s name. The milk would be thick and creamy, when whipped it is probably velvety.

My grandmother had a recipe called a Velvet Hammer, but that one was loaded with alcohol – it was sweet but hit you like a hammer, lol. This recipe doesn’t have any alcohol in it.

Velvet Freeze

1 4 1/2 oz can evaporated milk

1/3 c lemon juice

2 1/2 tbs orange juice

1 teas grated orange peel

1/4 teas salt

1 c sugar

Chill milk in freezing tray (maybe put it into a freezer safe, metal dish?) til it’s icy mush. Chill mixing bowl & beater. Turn chilled milk into bowl (return tray to freezing compartment). Whip til it begins to stiffen. Combine lemon & orange juice & orange peel, add gradually to whipped cream & continue whipping til mixture is very stiff. Add salt; sift in sugar 2 to 3 tbs at a time. Beat til thoroughly blended. Turn into tray. Freeze firm. Serve in chilled sherbets. Serves 6-7