Friday, May 25, 2018
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Old-school pie recipe gets 2014 update


Citron Tart With Fresh Strawberries is a fabulous tweak on a 1967 community cookbook recipe.


As I continue to unpack the mystery boxes that were in my mom’s attic, I keep coming across old community cookbooks. I love reading them, seeing the pattern of ingredients that were used, and noticing how the directions were written. Home cooks wrote these books to be used by other home cooks. So there is an expectation of basic cooking and baking skills inherent to the writing. It’s fascinating.

Here’s a recipe that was submitted by my mom to her church women’s 1967 cookbook:

Citron Pie

1 cup sugar

½ stick butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon lemon flavoring

Cream sugar, butter, flavoring. Add eggs; beat well. Use unbaked crust. Bake at 425 degrees.

The end. That’s it. I showed it to Mom and asked her to fill in the blanks of the recipe. Her response was, “Oh, you know what to do. It’s just pie.”

Granted, I do know what to do, but I am so accustomed to more direction and more description that I felt a little apprehensive as I headed into the kitchen to try it out.

Today’s recipe is the result of several tries. I changed few things, except the name and temperature, and clarified some missing details — I hope. Baking the pie at 425 degrees was too much heat too fast and caused the top to almost burn, so I lowered the temperature to 350 degrees and increased my baking time. Also, the ultra-thin finish is, in my opinion, more of a tart than a pie, and using the spring-form pan allows the sides to be vertical instead of slanted and fluted like a pie’s.

While the overall time it takes to make the pie is more than 2 hours, this is an easy dessert that I am thrilled I found. Citron Tart With Fresh Strawberries is a delicious springtime sweet.

Citron Tart With Fresh Strawberries

Start to finish: 15 minutes prep, 30 minutes bake, 30 minutes cooling, 1 hour refrigeration.

1 refrigerated rolled piecrust dough (such as Pillsbury)

1 cup sugar

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from ½ large lemon)

2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking oil. Unroll the crust dough and gently center over the pan (see Cook’s Note). Press the dough into the springform pan evenly. Using your fingertips, allow for a ¾-inch side and then form a ledge with the rest of the excess dough. Set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together on medium-high speed the sugar, butter, and lemon juice until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat well. Scrape down sides of the mixer bowl as necessary. Pour the egg mixture into the center of the prepared crust, avoiding the edges. Shake gently to distribute the batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until tart is light golden-brown. (Even if the tart darkens to more than a light golden-brown, the minimum cook time is 30 minutes.) Remove to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes. Then release pan and slide the tart onto a serving plate. Refrigerate for 1 hour or longer before serving. Top with fresh sliced strawberries if desired.

Cook’s Note: If you have a 9.5-inch tart pan with removable bottom, this may also be used. A 10.25- or 11-inch tart pan is too large, as is a 9-inch or larger pie plate.

Approximate values per serving: 236 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated), 83 mg cholesterol, 3 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, no dietary fiber, 102 mg sodium.

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