lemon pie hawaiian

The Hawaiian Pie Of My Eye

This pie definitely tastes like it flew straight out of the 1950s or 60s and flashed forward into my mouth. And based on where this recipe was located in my Mom Betty’s cookbook, I’m likely not that far off on its origins. I’ll continue some research to see if I can determine the publication for this recipe because I recognize the size, format and paper.

The original recipe below claims this pie is a cross between lemon chiffon and lemon meringue. I had to Google the difference between both in order to put my stink eye at ease.

I love that this recipe calls for a pre-made pie crust vs. fresh (hey, this era was a time often about making fast meals which were often a combination of part scratch and part ready made). This has a definite sweet-sugary taste which is one of the reasons I recommend unsweetened coconut – you don’t need extra in this.

I’m not sure how Hawaiian this pie actually is but with coconut in it, the taste will likely remind you of soothing tropical sunsets and beautiful beaches. You can read more about my Texas family’s connection to Hawaii through a few more Hawaiian-inspired recipes. Enjoy!

Foodie Tips

❤  What’s a pie shield? It’s typically made of silicon and it can help prevent the top edges of your crust from burning. Here’s ours from Williams-Sonoma which is adjustable and its been a life saver! You can also make your own impromptu version by using foil and shaping it around the crust’s edge.

❤  A word about the filling. We had a lot of filling left over but we didn’t opt to make a second pie as we were on diets (yeah, that’s the ticket)! We poured the extra filling into some custard cups to devour on some weak moments after our initial pie festival.

i. Time

Total prep: Allow 1 hour for Hawaiian pie prep plus 4 hours for chilling. 

ii. Ingredients

8 ¼ ounce can  crushed pineapple, drained (I could only find an 8 ounce can of Libby’s)
¼ cup  brown sugar, packed
¼ cup  unsweetened flaked coconut
2 tablespoons  unsalted butter, softened (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
9-inch  pastry shell, unbaked
4-serving size  regular lemon pudding mix
½ cup  granulated sugar
1 ¾ cup  water
cage free egg yolks, slightly beaten (save the whites for below!)
2 tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon  more butter
cage free egg whites
¼ cup  more granulated sugar
to garnish  toasted coconut (optional but highly recommended)

iii. What To Do

0. PREP
Set out your butter to soften to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 425°F

1. MAKE THE PIE BASE
Combine the drained pineapple, brown sugar, ¼ cup of the coconut and 2 tablespoons butter. Spread it over the bottom of the pastry shell.

2. BAKE THE PIE’S BOTTOM
Cover the edge of the pastry with foil or a silicon pie shield. Bake in your preheated oven at 425°F for 15 minutes, removing the crust protector after the first 5 minutes of baking. When done, remove the pie from the oven and set it aside to cool.

3. LET’S MAKE CUSTARDY FILLING
In a  medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat combine the pudding mix with a ½ cup of the granulated sugar. Stir in the water and egg yolks and cook and stir until things are bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining butter. Cover with clear plastic wrap and let things cool, stirring occasionally.

4. LET’S PREP THE WHITES
In a bowl beat the egg whites on high speed with your mixer until you see soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining ¼ cup sugar until everything forms stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cooled filling. Pile everything on top of the baked pastry shell.

5. PREPARE FOR DISMOUNT
Place the pie in the fridge for at least 4 hours. When ready to serve garnish with some toasted coconut.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Recipe Clipping


pumpkin dump cake

Pumpkin Dump Cake Recipe by Betty's Cook NookA Bit Of Dump Cake History

The folks at Epicurious describe the dump cake as “the worst name in the history of desserts.” I, on the other hand, snickered when the name first graced my being. In fact it was more of a snortle of sorts.

The year was 2005 and my Cousin Julie had emailed me the dump cake recipe below that she was impressed with. Being one of the early bathroom humor pioneers (poo-oneers?) I simply replied: “you know I’ll try this because it has the word DUMP in it!” Well that email got filed away with good intentions and sadly forgotten. This year when I was missing my Cousin I went digital dumpster diving into my old email account and a few clicks later the recipe floated to the surface (pun intended).

Flashback: Dump Cake

Before we dive into this recipe I was curious the glorious origins of the dump cake. While some online posts said the first dump cake would send us to 1980, others threw me off track saying the dump cake actually went by other names, including “wacky cake.” For my purposes my culinary etymological research is purely of “dump cake.”

The Los Angeles Times Economy Cook Book No. 5 Dump CakeAs can be seen by the Google Books Ngram Viewer let’s have a peek at the usage of dump cake over time. There it was – nestled on page 50 of 1917’s The Los Angeles Times Economy Cook Book No. 5: Practical and Economical Recipes by Skilled Cooks – this nugget for Dump Cake. Albeit the recipe instructions read more like a conventional cake (think more effort), the origins of the name take us back to when my Grandmother “Nanny” was 17. You can click this link and see for yourself! I can’t wait to let this useless trivia factoid rip at my next party!

What’s even more interesting is I discovered I lived at the trifecta of perfection – when word usage of dump cake and two sidekicks near and dear to my heart – “pac man” and “bean roll” – were in pure alignment. The year was 1979 and little did I know I was living the glory days. Who knows if this moment in time will rise again?
Google Books Ngram Viewer Dump Cake Pac Man Bean RollFoodie Tips

❤  I have to admit I was leery that this cake would come together. But just as the name implies the magic of the dump cake took over once it was in the hot oven and things began to mingle.

❤  Striving to curtail holiday overeating (which later proved to be a farce) we split the recipe into three greased 9″ round foil pans. I was nervous if they would turn out OK and they did! We gave two cakes to unsuspecting neighbors who said they enjoyed it greatly.

i. Time

Total prep: About 60 minutes.

ii. Ingredients

29 ounce can  Libby’s 100% pure canned pumpkin
12 ounce can  evaporated milk
cage free eggs
1 cup  sugar
1 teaspoon  salt
3 teaspoons  cinnamon
1 box  Duncan Hines classic yellow cake mix
1 cup  Texas pecans, chopped
¾ cup  unsalted butter, melted (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
to serve  whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

iii. What To Do

1. Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.

2. Mix the first six ingredients until well blended and pour the batter into a 9″ X 13″ greased pan.

Making Pumpkin Dump Cake

3. Sprinkle cake mix on top and then sprinkle that with pecans.

Pumpkin Dump Cake

4. Pour melted butter or margarine over top. Bake for 50 minutes.



Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream. My Cousin Julie topped her cake with dulce de leche and said it was really good!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Let’s have a peek at some vintage Libby’s pumpkin ads:

October 1986 Great Pumpkin Cookie Recipe

Libby's 1964 Pumpkin Pie Ad Typo

Libby's Pumpkin Life Magazine Ad 1950


texas kolaches

How To Make Texas-Czech KolachesWhere Old Meets New

In the golden days of past my Mom “Betty” subscribed to Southern Living magazine and to this day, so do I. 

In SL’s most recent September 2020 issue they gave claim to the seven “Cooks of the Year” for their culinary innovations. I, too, love innovators for without them we’d be eating the same thing day after day… (fancy some porridge and toast?). But I will continue the foodie fight to honor those in the rear view mirror – the ones who fed our bellies when we were kids. Our Mothers, Grandmothers, and best of all – the ones likely before we can remember. These are the true culinary geniuses who made mealtime a favorite time without the aid of modern kitchen contraptions like microwaves, silicon utensils, immersion blenders, air fryers, and bluetooth ovens (I’m guilty of owning all these items)!

The Missing Piece

With more than 200 recipes here at BettysCookNook.com, the Southern Living kolache recipe fills a missing puzzle piece in my Mom’s culinary legacy; Mom’s kolache filling recipes (below) had been in her cookbook without their much needed pastry crust recipe until now! And since kolaches hold a near and dear place in the heart of Texans right up there with queso, big hair, and cowboy boots you have plenty of recipe ideas thanks to my Mom’s 3 filling recipes below – apricot, prune, and cottage cheese. In addition, there’s a streusel recipe to top things off!

Thanks to Southern Living Magazine I’m gratefully able to connect the past with the present. I hope you try and enjoy this recipe! Thank you, Lydia Faust, for sharing a slice of the great days with the rest of us! #HatsOff

While I usually veer off the I-35 interstate in the city of West, Texas for some of the world famous savory Czech Stop kolaches (bless you, jalapeño, sausage and cheese) let’s not forget their sweet kolache friends! I didn’t make all 3 fillings but the apricot filling was my first pick and it was dy-no-mite! I’d suggest starting with that one first.

This is a recipe for those with a little kitchen grit. I found kolaches much easier to make than homemade tamales (which had me sore for 2 days) or puffy tacos (Joe does most of that work) and you’ll have plenty of leftovers to share with friends and family. I’ll never bat an eye at how much these cost as I found hand making these to be a labor of pure love.

Foodie Tips

❤  This kolache recipe made 53 of the yeasty delights and ironically Mom’s apricot filling recipe filled them all to the last scoop!

❤  It’s customary for the kolaches to touch while baking; they often come out of the oven square-ish. I had giant stainless baking sheet pans so my kolaches came out round. Despite the tweaked shape they tasted the same!

❤  To form the hole we wrapped a spice jar with saran wrap to prevent the dough from sticking and pressed away (shown).

❤  I remember growing-up my Mom’s friend “Miss Joyce” called some savory pigs in a blankey “koblasniky.” Turns out she wasn’t kidding – the sweet treats are kolaches and the savory friends koblasniky. I was happy to confirm in this article. My Moravian ancestors would be proud I stand corrected! Here in Texas folks just refer to anything wrapped in the billowy dough kolaches and we all know what’s involved.

How To Make Kolaches

i. Time

Total prep: Your entire morning. (includes 60 minutes for baking)

ii. Ingredients

for the kolache pastry:
1 ½ tablespoons  active dry yeast
½ cup  warm water (105°F115°F)
¼ cup  unsalted butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias)
¼ cup  vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 ½ cups  lukewarm whole milk (100°F105°F)
6 cups  all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for the prep surface
¾ cup  evaporated milk
⅓ cup  granulated sugar
1 tablespoon  kosher salt
2 large  cage free eggs
1 large  cage free egg yolk
5 tablespoons (or more)  unsalted butter, melted

for the apricot filling:
1 pound  dried apricots
¾ cup  granulated sugar
3 tablespoons  unsalted butter

for the streusel:
½ cup   granulated sugar
½ cup   flour
½ cup   butter, melted

iii. What To Do

1.
Sprinkle the yeast over warm water and stir to combine. Set aside. Place the butter and shortening in a large microwavable bowl, and microwave on high until melted, about 1 minute. Stir well to combine. Whisk in the lukewarm whole milk and yeast mixture.

2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Sift 3 cups of the flour over mixture. Add the evaporated milk, sugar, salt, eggs, and egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the whisk attachment and replace it with a dough hook. Gradually add the remaining 3 cups flour; beat on medium speed until dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 5 minutes; then beat it on medium-high speed until the dough is elastic and very smooth, about 10 minutes.

Kolache Dough Rising3. Brush the top of dough with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and cover it again and let the dough rise until doubled, about 30 more minutes.

Making Kolaches

4. Generously flour a work surface. Gently roll dough out to a 1-inch-thick rectangle (about 18 x 14 inches). Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and place them 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Brush the tops with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk, about 20 minutes.

How To Make A Kolache

Texas Kolache
Apricot Kolache Filling5. While the dough rises, let’s make the apricot kolache filling. Prepare the apricots according to the package directions (I boiled mine in water for about 10 minutes then drained the water). Add the sugar and butter. I used an immersion blender to get things soft but I was careful not to over process it; you still want it a bit thick (not like apple sauce) and a few chunks here and there are OK. Set the filling aside.

6. Let’s continue on by making the posypka (streusel topping): Use a pastry cutter (suggested) or your fingers to combine the sugar, flour, and butter to form a crumbly texture. Store this in the refrigerator until ready to use.

7. Back to the kolaches! Make one small indentation in the center of each dough circle (see tip above or you can use your fingers), and fill each with about 1 tablespoon of the filling. Sprinkle each kolache with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the posypka. Let the kolaches rise until they’ve doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes.
Kolache with Apricot Filling
8. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Position racks in top third and lower third of oven. Bake the kolaches until golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through the baking time. Remove from oven. Brush the kolaches with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter and transfer them to wire racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Apricot Kolaches

You may be tired by this point so sit back and enjoy a few bites of the sweet life!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Apricot Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Original Apricot Kolache Filling Recipe

Prune Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Prune Kolache Filling Recipe

Cottage Cheese Filling Recipe For Kolaches

A Scan Of Mom’s Cottage Cheese Kolache Filling Recipe

Streusel Topping Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Streusel Topping Recipe


mrs. copple’s banana bread

Mrs. Copples Banana Bread RecipeBreadwinners

Back in 2012 I posted this banana nut loaf cake recipe (which is really just banana bread, disguised with the “loaf” part). It has remained a family favorite to this day and I look forward to making muffins out of my Aunt’s recipe on our next go.

My friend Suzanne will be delighted to hear that Mrs. Copple’s banana bread recipe doesn’t call for nuts (shorthand for pecans, here in Texas). She and I continuously arm wrestle over whether banana bread should or should not have nuts and since I’m the fingers behind this post we know that “with nuts” wins. Yay me! But I will admit – this banana bread packs a great taste. Even if the nuts were forgotten! 🤠

Regardless of nuts and butter (or no nuts and margarine), I think we can agree we’re “breadwinners” when we enjoy a baked banana slice of home sweet home.

Foodie Tips

❤  You won’t see a bread picture in this post. Why? We decided to gift some of this sweetness to neighbors and thought muffins would be more portable than slices of bread. This recipe yielded 6 large (jumbo) muffins and 12 mini muffins (yielding 18 in total). For the large muffins you’ll cook about 25 minutes at 350°F; the minis were ready in 15 minutes.

❤  In addition to arm wrestling over nuts or no nuts, you can add butter vs. margarine to the list! We used butter in this recipe vs. margarine. Sorry, Mrs. Copple! During the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown all we stock is unsalted butter so that’s what we used. There are some culinary differences between butter and margarine that you might want to read more about in this post.

❤  I thought it interesting lemon juice was called for to prevent turning the bananas brown (the bananas wouldn’t be sitting out for a long period of time). But I’m not willing to risk a brown banana bread so in the lemon juice went!

❤  To serve, my favorite way to enjoy a bread or muffin is “toasty warm” with a smear of plain Philadelphia Whipped Cream Cheese on top! There’s nothing better!

banana bread mini muffins

i. Time

Total prep: About 40-75 minutes (depending on whether you make mini muffins or bread)

ii. Ingredients

1 stick  |  margarine or unsalted butter (my Grandmother “Nanny” always insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
1 cup  |  sugar
|  cage free eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon  |  baking soda
1 teaspoon  |  baking powder
1 teaspoon  |  salt
2 cups  |  flour, sifted
|  bananas
a tad  |  fresh lemon juice

the best banana bread muffins

iii. What To Do

1. In a mixing bowl cream the margarine (or butter) and sugar together.

2. Add the room temperature eggs and beat well.

3. In a separate bowl add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt to the flour.

4. Mash the bananas and sprinkle them lightly with a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.

5. Mix together the flour mixture and the creamed butter/sugar mixture.

6. With a spatula hand mix-in the bananas and your banana batter is ready!

7. Decide whether or not you’re making bread or muffins. Prepare your chosen baking pan (we used nonstick spray) and fill ¾ full.

8. Bake for 50-60 minutes for the bread; about 25 minutes for jumbo-sized muffins; or 15 minutes for the mini muffins… all until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of My Mom “Betty’s” Coveted Banana Bread Recipe (in her handwriting)


sour cream apple pie

Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

The Apple Pie Of My Eye

Hubba! Hubba! One bite into this apple pie sent me back on a flavor adventure into my childhood – a time when apple rocked my world.

My fondest apple memories weren’t necessarily of the fruit itself, but its fruit-inspired kissin’ Cousin – Jolly Rancher Apple Candy. Awe shucks – my eyes would grow wide with these little suckers and my fingers could barely fumble fast enough to frantically tear off the plastic wrapper so I could get down to business.

Jolly Rancher Apple Stix Vintage Print Ad

It Doesn’t Appear That Jolly Rancher Made Any Apple-Inspired Print Ads Back In The Day…
So I Modified A Fire Stix Ad To Represent!

Several years ago my tongue stumbled upon my first Caramel Apple Pop and these have since become my go-to candy for Halloween trick-or-treaters. These taste like a green apple Jolly Rancher that’s been dipped in rich, lux caramel. Boy howdy! These are way easier to enjoy and I don’t have to be reminded that when it comes to my ability to handmake a caramel apple on a stick I ought to just phone a friend for help (you can read all about that hilarious foodie fail here)!

Back To Pie Basics

This recipe – like others – unassumingly sat tucked away in my Mom’s cookbook. Then this October fall rushed in. This is when Texas temperatures drop into the 90s and we reach for blankets and sweaters to keep us alive. October is a time of year when the eyes and the appetite often turn to the wonderfully warm and woodsy flavors of fall. And sitting right in the middle of it all is the fall apple.

Enjoy the mash-up of apple graced with the south’s favorite sidekick – good ol’ sour cream! Topped with a cinnamon-sugar crumb topping, the remarkable taste is probably one of the earliest sweet ‘n sour ‘n tarty foods I can remember.

Sour cream apple pie – you’re welcome in my stomach any time!

Foodie Tips

❤  I may not be an apple connoisseur but I do recognize all apples are not created equal when it’s time to bake them. Avoid the ones that get “mushy” – nobody wants those in their pie! I got lucky and picked a granny smith apple which proved to be the perfect pucker-upper for the sour cream pairing! Here’s some southern wisdom about selecting baking apples.

❤  I have a gas oven and it browned my pie a little more than I would have preferred. I used a silicon pie crust shield which will help prevent the edges of your crust from burning.

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes

ii. Ingredients

for the pie:
|  pie crust
2 tablespoons  |  flour
⅛ teaspoon  |  salt
¾ cup  |  sugar
cage free egg
1 cup  |  sour cream
1 teaspoon  |  vanilla
¼ teaspoon  |  nutmeg
2 cups  |  apples, diced (I enjoyed this with the peel on)

for the crumb topping:
⅓ cup  |  sugar
⅓ cup  |  flour
1 teaspoon  |  cinnamon
¼ cup  |  unsalted butter, melted (tip: my Grandmother “Nanny” insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Meanwhile…

1. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the pastry.

2. In a medium-sized bowl sift together the flour, salt, and sugar.

3. Add the egg, sour cream, vanilla, and nutmeg to the flour mixture. Beat everything into a smooth, thin batter.

4. Stir in the diced apples and coat well.

Sour Cream Apple Pie Going Into The Oven

5. Pour your apple batter into the pastry-lined pie pan.

6. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes – be careful not to over-bake!

7. Remove the pie from the oven and let it rest while we make our crumb topping.

8. Coarsely mix the four topping ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle them over the top of the pie. Lumpy crumbs are good here – there’s no need to pulverize the topping.

Apple Pie Crumb Topping

9. Raise the oven to 400°F and return the pie to bake 10 minutes to brown.

10. Remove the pie and let it rest. Warm or cold this pie is delicious!

Sour Cream Apple Pie Guard

Yield: 8-12 slices of tasty pie

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

A Scan Of My Mom “Betty’s” Original Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe


pumpkin bread

Pumpking Bread

Fall Is In The Air

It’s hard to image Halloween without enjoying the time-tested taste of pumpkin.

Nowadays the season is ushered in with the arrival of anything pumpkin spice. Back in my younger days, however, pumpkin was simple, usually in the form of pie, flan, or bread.

Before we break into this bread recipe let’s have a look and some laughs at some vintage family Halloween pics from the good ol’ years! And before we watch the Hallo-slideshow, please click and listen to The Great Pumpkin Waltz by Vince Guaraldi. It sets the mood for pumpkin bread perfectly!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Foodie Tips

❤  I often get stumped on the material differences between baking powder and baking soda. This Bon Appetit article explores the yin and yang of these two essential baking ingredients.

❤  Fancy pumpkin? Take your tastebuds on a spin with my Mom’s other pumpkin bread that’s a kissing Cousin to this recipe… it includes raisins and pecans!

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nookii. Ingredients

4 | cage free eggs, beaten
3 cups | sugar
1 cup | salad oil
20-ounce can (2 ½ cups) | pumpkin
3 ½ cups | all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon | baking powder
2 teaspoons | baking soda
2 teaspoons | salt
½ teaspoon | ground cloves
1 teaspoon | ground allspice
1 teaspoon | ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon | ground nutmeg
⅔ cup | water
handful | pecans, chopped (optional)

iii. What to do

0. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

1. In a large bowl mix together well the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin.

2. In a separate medium-sized bowl combine the 8 dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mixture. Add the water and mix well.

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

3. Pour the batter into 3 greased 8-inch loaf pans. You may have noticed that I snuck in some nuts (a.k.a Texas pecans) on top of two of the loaves. Just to keep me an honest Texan.

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

4. Place the loaf pans in the oven and bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

A Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Yield: 3 loaves. Each loaf will yield about 8-10 slices each!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Vintage Witch And Moon BeistleFancy Retro Halloween Decorations?

You’re not alone! Revisiting some of my old family photos has me wishing we still had our old decorations! You can still find some online at Vintage Beistle. Great stuff!


prune cake

Prune Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Thanks To Prunes, The Wait Is Over

If you’ve made it this far into the recipe then you’re obviously open to prunes. I mean hey, they have a bad rap for being associated with senior folks… and for giving the gift of, ahem, “regularity.”

Regardless of prunes’ affiliation with the trots at least 4 generations of my family have loved knocks at bathroom humor even before it was vogue. So I’m not sure why it took me 8 years after recovering Mom’s cookbook to dive into this recipe just because of the word “prune;” I should have been drawn to it!

So in 2000 even though the FDA changed the name of prunes to “dried plums” which boosted sales I say bring on the prunes! They taste great no matter what they’re called and who doesn’t like a little regularity? Plus, it seems that California may have returned to their prune-y roots, making me want to just call this “prune-plumb cake” just to ensure I have all “loose ends” covered (pun intended).

A Prune By Any Other Name…

I smiled when I saw this came from the Fredericksburg cookbook of our family friend “Lela.” Fredericksburg, Texas holds a special place in the hearts of Texans and it’s where Texas-German charm and heritage runs as thick as our state’s love for silky queso. I had a gut instinct this cake had historical origins to our European roots and I was right! Whether it goes by spice cake, election cake or muster cake, this is a delightfully decadent and dense cake that tastes like a warm slice of sweet Christmas drizzled with butter.

What’s different about this cake is the twist of incorporating Texas pecans and vanilla, and commingling them with the fruity smash-up taste of prunes in both the cake and the icing! I think you’ll agree this cake will disappear in a jiffy!

I saw in a recent McCormick video (below): “It’s the recipes we pass on to the next generation that are the reason there’s really no flavor like home.” And I hope this recipe becomes a, ahem, “regular favorite” that hails from Fredericksburg, to Lela, to my Mom, to me, and now to you!

Foodie Tips

❤  You can enjoy prune cake tabletop warm or cold from the fridge… but my favorite is when it’s just a bit warmed from the toaster oven or the microwave.

❤  9″ x 13″ loaf pan? This threw me because I thought loaf pans were almost as tall as they were wide. A 9″ x 13″ pan is what I call a sheet cake pan. I’m wondering if I could make a couple of 5″ x 9″ loaf pan cakes out of this!

❤  Prunes’ super power? Fiber, sorbitol, and polyphenols. They act as antioxidants and help keep a clean house.

i. Time

Total prep: 1-2 hours (includes cooling the cake)

Prune Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

ii. Ingredients

for the cake:
3 | cage free eggs, well beaten
1 ½ cups | sugar
1 cup | salad oil
1 teaspoon | soda
1 cup | buttermilk
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
1 teaspoon | ground cloves
1 teaspoon | allspice
1 teaspoon | nutmeg
1 cup | mashed prunes, cooked
1 cup | pecans, chopped
2 cups | flour
1 teaspoon | baking power

for the icing:
2 tablespoons | butter (my Grandmother insisted on “Falfurrias” brand butter)
1 cup | sugar
2 | cage free eggs
½ cup | sour cream
1 cup | chopped prunes
1 cup | more chopped pecans
1 teaspoon | vanilla
a pinch | salt

iii. What to do

1. In a medium bowl beat the eggs and add the sugar. Beat everything together.

Prune Cake Recipe

Now Forming: A Blowout

2. In a measuring cup add the soda into the buttermilk, making sure to leave plenty of room as the soda will cause carbon dioxide bubbles to form, so use a larger measuring cup to prevent a “blowout,” (shown).

3. Add the salad oil, the buttermilk mixture and the the rest of the cake ingredients and mix well.

4. Bake everything in your choice of a greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan or three greased 8-inch cake pans at 350°F for about 25 minutes. When done remove the cake from the oven and let it cool on a cooling rack, if you have one.

Prune Cake Icing

5. After the cake has cooled a bit you can jumpstart your icing! Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs. Mix with the remaining icing ingredients, transfer into a medium pan and cook over medium-low or medium heat until thick. Spread on cooled cake.

Serves: About 20 (sheet cake style)

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

A Scan Of Mom's Prune Cake Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Prune Cake Recipe

 

Who is Lela?

When I was growing up Lela Swinny lived at 3006 Northridge in San Antonio just 2 doors around the corner from my family’s home at 2927 Trailend.

The Swinny family was a delightful bunch of folks and my family spent almost as much time at their house as our own so naturally “fooding” was a part of the times our two families shared.

American Revolution Bicentennial LogoMom’s dear friend “Lela” taught me many things ~ the joy of laughing, how to swim in their awesome pool, and how to cook a memorable breakfast treat called “Egg In A Nest,” which is also posted here at Betty’s Cook Nook.

True family fact: Back in the 1970s Lela was throwing out an old desk that caught my Mom’s eye. A coat of red paint later and it was a cornerstone in my brother Tim’s red white and blue bedroom (it was around the time of our Country’s Bicentennial celebration so red white and blue was hot). In the 1990s I painted the desk black and it’s the desk where I author this blog to this day, proving that Lela is still with us, heart and soul!

You’ll find a picture of Lela and me in the “old family photos” tab and you can search for her by name to connect with more of her spirited recipes.

Cheers to two great friends – Mom and Lela!



pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook NookThe Best Of Fall

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when wearing flannel and smelling like patchouli is top of mind. Also top of mind? PUMPKINS!  🎃 There’s no better way to ring in fall’s greatness other than watching the fall favorite It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

The Peanuts gang were probably my best friends growing up. In a time before you could record TV I never missed a show. I remember sketching Snoopy on top of his doghouse… and funny, I never thought it was odd that Snoopy slept *on top* of his doghouse rather than in it. Childhood innocence.

While your pumpkin bread is baking, come back and watch the movie below – share it with your family and friends and celebrate the way we were… and the way we are with the best of fall!

Foodie Tips

  I halved this recipe and made 2 medium-sized loaves. If you’re gift-giving or a lover of loaves, go all the way!

  One small can pumpkin? I presumed it was a 15 ounce can.

  The recipe didn’t note it but I greased my loaf pans before adding the batter.

  This bread is most great served sliced and toasted with a schmear of Phildelphia Whipped Cream Cheese.

i. Time

Total prep: About 75 minutes (minus resting)

ii. Ingredients

3-⅓ cups | flour
3 cups | sugar
1 teaspoon | cinnamon
2 teaspoons | nutmeg
2 teaspoons | baking soda
1 teaspoon | salt
| cage free eggs, beaten
1 cup | oil
⅔ cup | water
15 ounces | canned pumpkin
¾ cup (2 small boxes) | raisins
¾ cup | chopped nuts (a.k.a. “pecans,” here in Texas)
to top | more pecans (optional)

Pumpkin Bread In The Works

iii. What to do

1. Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl.

2. Add the eggs, oil, water, and pumpkin. Mix everything well.

3. Fold in the raisins and the pecans.

4. Pour the batter into two large or four small loaf pans and bake at 325°F until the bread tests done.

ENJOY

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Pumpkin Bread Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Peanuts Cook Book Circa 1970One of my most cherished childhood items is this Peanuts cookbook. Originally printed in 1970 it still remains in my kitchen today, almost 50 years later!

This cookbook was not mine, originally… but at the magical age of 10 I was such a fanatic about The Peanuts Gang I was able to smooth talk this cookbook out of my neighborhood friend’s kitchen and into mine!

Pumpkin Bread

A Scan Of Mom’s Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Sous Chef Note: While acquainting myself with this recipe I noticed a credit to “Barbara Harris” and took to the internet to see if I could find out who she was. Turns out Barbara was a San Antonio restauranteur who ran some popular food establishments in San Antonio and Dallas.

I found reference to Barbara’s Pecan Pie Muffins in Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite “Good Taste” Recipes – these muffins are surely a culinary cousin to the Pumpkin Bread recipe above. Karen was a food author for the San Antonio Express-News for more than 30 years so you know these recipes have gotta be tasty… I have Karen’s Good Taste cookbook printed out for my culinary archives and you can score a digital copy of her fifty favorites here > Karen Haram’s 50 Favorite Recipes.


lemon springtime cake

 

Springtime Cake Recipe
Debuting in my kitchen on Mother’s Day 2018,

this springtime cake recipe is dedicated to all you Moms out there!
Thank you for everything you do…

and for ensuring we never go to bed hungry!
~   ♥   ~

Pucker Up, Cake Lovers

Just before jettisoning to my first official family vacation in over 5 years (insert glad face here) I made this cake. Before I dive into why you should make it, too, I want to share a crazy family story connection with this recipe!

Before leaving for the Texas Coast I was reminded of a list I recalled that was tucked away in my Mom “Betty’s” cookbook. For 7 years I had thought it was a list Mom wrote in preparation for an October trip to the coast to enjoy the temperatures of the beachy, breezy 70s and 80s which is quite delightful after the typical blazing Texas summer.

Since I was reminded of the beachtime list I snapped a few pics of the list (below) and texted them to my Dear Cousin Alison, who is as much a fellow Foodie as one could hope for. She and I texted back and forth while Joe drove me and the Dogs to Port Aransas… somewhere around Refugio, Texas, I had a huge revelation – the list wasn’t for a family vacation, it was preparing for an e-vacuation!

What Chew Talking About, Willis?

I stumbled across the date “10-22-62” that was written off to the side of my Mom’s list and after seeing my Googled search results my heart started beating faster. My family wasn’t about to to go on a joyride trip – they were preparing for the Cuban Missile Crisis! I had heard about the Cuban Missile Crisis before, but I didn’t realize its potential for devastation here on U.S. soil.

Aggressively searching on Google for more clues about this date and it’s significance to San Antonio I stumbled upon a passage from the book A Tale of Three Cities (authored by R. Douglas Brackenridge and published by Trinity University).

“During the Cuban missile crisis in the fall of 1962, students monitored events closely, aware that because of its military bases, San Antonio was a prime target in case of enemy attack. One student wrote, ‘We live in an age in which we have five minutes to rush to a bomb shelter to live. For that is how long it would take for a nuclear missile launched from Cuba to reach San Antonio.’ … The university was preparing shelter areas with minimum provisions in case an emergency should arise.”

Sobering. As a alum of Trinity University, there’s no doubt Mom’s ties to her alma mater rang loud during this scary time. Even more so, I was amazed how – once again – a simple recipe from Mom’s cookbook could unearth so much history and relevancy to my family.

Um, Did You Forget About The Cake?

Of course not! As a self-proclaimed extreme foodie, culinary consumables are always on my mind. So let’s get to it! What I think you’ll love about this cake:

  • The checkerboard cake pattern. 50+ years ago alternating yellow and white cake was surely quite a surprise, cleverly “hidden” beneath the lemony frosting.
  • Layered pudding cake. Need I say more?
  • The tart and sweet taste of the lemon frosting. You can peel off the frosting recipe and make it for cupcakes or any other cake where you want a citrusy lemon appeal.Springtime Cake

Foodie Tips

  Mom’s Options For The Frosting: 1) Mix lemon juice into 2 packages (7 ounces each) butter-cream style frosting mix or; 2) Make your own delicious Lemon-Butter Frosting compliments of Mom’s recipe that pairs wonderfully with this cake! The instructions below presume we will be making scratch frosting, since that’s how I enjoyed it. The scratch frosting was super-simple to make and the taste was excellent!

  Tube pan vs. bundt pan. I didn’t know the difference until I was already into baking this recipe! Luckily my bundt wasn’t extremely fluted and the cake popped right out. But I was panicking that the batter was going to ooze all over my oven as the tube pan holds a little more batter than the typical bundt.

i. Time

Total prep: About 2 hours, including baking, cooling and chilling.

ii. Ingredients

for the cake:
1 package | angel food cake mix
6-8 or so | drops of yellow food coloring
1 package | lemon instant pudding
varies | milk or water (read directions on the pudding package)

for the frosting: (yields 2 ½ cups)
½ cup (1 stick) | butter, softened (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias)
| cage free egg yolks
4 cups (1 pound) | confectioner’s sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons | lemon juice

iii. What to do

for the cake:

0.
Preheat your oven to 375°F.

1. While that’s prepping, in a large bowl prepare the cake mix. Spoon half the batter into a second bowl and add about 6-8 drops of yellow food color and stir well; leave the other batter original “white.”

2. Fill an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with alternating spoonfuls of yellow and white batters. Do not stir! I wound up with 3 layers of alternating colored batters in total; yours may vary.

3. Bake your cake mix in your preheated oven about 1 hour, or until done.

4. Remove the cake from the oven, turn the pan upside down onto a wire rack and cool completely.

5. Prepare the instant pudding mix and chill it about 10 minutes to allow it to thicken.
Springtime Cake Recipe Layer 1

6. Loosen and turn out the cake (mine literally fell out of the pan). Using a  large serrated knife to slice the cake into 3 horizontal layers. Spread the pudding between layers leaving the top of the cake plain.

7. Frost the top and sides of the cake (frosting recipe below).

Springtime Cake Recipe

for the frosting:

1.
With a hand mixer cream the butter until soft.

2. Blend in the egg yolks.

3. Add sugar a little at a time and alternate with the lemon juice.

4. Blend until everything is thick and creamy-smooth. The suspense is killing me! Let’s frost the cake and get to it!

Despite my excitement to devour this I was able to wait and chill my cake for 15 minutes or so. This step is totally optional but I like my citrusy cakes chilled and refreshing.

Yields 12-16 servings!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Scans Of My Mom “Betty’s” Original Springtime Cake + Frosting Recipes

Springtime Cake Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Springtime Cake From Betty's Cook Nook

Hats Off To You, Springtime Cake

Ready for my Mom’s Cuban Missile evacuation lists?
Here they are followed by a few comments from the “me” of today to yesterday.

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 1

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 2

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 3

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 4

What To Pack For The Cuban Missile Crisis List 5

  • Pink Baby Quilt – Since Mom and Dad only had two boys I thought this one was interesting. Then I was reminded that ultrasounds didn’t become popular until the 1980s so undoubtedly they received a pink blanket for what turned out to be baby boys. Surprise!
  • Snowsuits, Coveralls, and Flannel Shirts? In San Antonio? Alison noted a passage in the “Fallout Protection” book below that explained the wintry coverups: “Young people might be injured more by nuclear radiation than older people. This is because young people are more apt to absorb radioactive elements into their bones and internal organs than are older people.”
  • Water (5 Gallons) and Toilet Paper (4 rolls): I found these quantities disproportionate to what I would insist upon – more like 80 rolls of toilet paper and 5 boxes of wine… to get me through the weekend.
  • Bonus Reading Below: My Cousin Alison gave me links to so many awesome references about nuclear fallout. I know it’s weird to be posting about them here, but they are a blast from the past, so I’m sharing them.

President JFK’s Cuban Missle Crisis 10-22-62 Address:

A Fallout Shelter Audio Clip:

Fallout Protection: What to Know and Do

Family Shelter Designs

New Homeowner Opens Shelter Sealed Since 1961

A Special Treat: Something From the 80s


lemon light drop cookies

Lemon Light Drop Cookies From Betty's Cook Nookthe power of lemon

Those who know me well know my love for lemons.

I’ve grown a few lemon trees from seed, I make my own limoncello, and anytime I incorporate the bright, citrusy flavor into food or drink, I’m reminded of its amazing power.

puttin’ on the spritz

After mastering the simple art of the drop cookie, I was ready to raise the bar by trying my hand with my cookie press, which I recently discovered due to this cheese straws recipe.

My Mom “Betty” had a metal cookie press that I remember well, but where do pressed cookies come from? I wasn’t too surprised to learn they originate from Germany… all the way back to the 16th century. Spritzgebäck or “Spritz” cookies are pressed butter cookies that are made by squirting dough through disks that make a variety of cool-shaped cookies. The cookie press is like a baker’s version of everyone’s favorite childhood toy – Play-Doh!

Lemon Light Drop Cookie RecipeHungry for more cookie history? You can learn a lot of interesting facts about the origins of cookies at this website.

foodie tips

  If using self-rising flour, decrease the soda to ¼ teaspoon and omit the baking powder and salt.

  The original recipe (below) makes about 70 2 ½” cookies. That’s right, 70! Since we weren’t having a party I decided to cut the recipe in half, which still yielded over 30 cookies.

  For the second half of my dough I experimented with my cookie press and was able to churn out some fun-shaped cookies*. Whether you try this or go the simple “drop” route, I wouldn’t suggest hand-rolling the dough into balls; these lost some of their charm and looked more like mini biscuits than cookies. So drop or cookie press all the way!

* Note: To get my cookie press to best form the dough, I chilled the dough-filled press in the freezer for a few minutes to stiffen the dough. I clicked the cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet and voilà!

i. ingredients

to grease cookie sheet | shortening or cooking spray
1 ½ cups | sugar
1 cup | shortening, at room temperature
1 tablespoon | lemon peel, freshly grated
| cage free eggs
1 cup | sour cream or lemon yogurt (I used sour cream, my childhood BFF)
1 teaspoon | lemon extract
3 ½ cups | Pillsbury brand all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons | baking powder
½ teaspoon | baking soda
½ teaspoon | salt
to sprinkle | sugar

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lemon Light Cookie Dough

1. Let’s make the dough! In a large bowl, cream the sugar, shortening, and lemon peel until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the sour cream (or yogurt) and lemon extract mix well. Lightly spoon the flour into a measuring cup; level off. To the batter add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend well.

Lemon Light Cookies Going Into The Oven

2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar before placing them into the oven.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a light golden brown around the edges.

Enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Lemon Light Drop Cookie Recipe from Betty's Cook Nook

Lemon Light Drop Cookie Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s Recipe Clipping

Here are some vintage Play-Doh commercials from me to you!