Crisco: Good Pies & How To Make ThemHere are pages 19 and 20 (also lower part of page 18 and upper part of page 20) of the vintage recipe booklet “Good Pies & How To Make Them” that was published in 1928 by Crisco.

To review all pages in this booklet, simply visit the Crisco: Good Pies & How To Make Them Category and click on a page title to review that section.

There are scans available of each page, just click the images to view a full size copy.


Cornstarch: High-grade cornstarch is probably the most used thickener for pie-fillings.

Thickeners - Good Pies & How To Make ThemThe starch itself is contained in tiny cells with a hard coating. When the cornstarch is stirred into liquids heated nearly to their boiling points, the cells expand and break. The starch absorbs a large amount of water. After the cells break, the hot starch is acted upon quite rapidly by weak acids. Part of the starch becomes changed to corn sugar; the thickened liquid then liquefies (becomes thinner).

Pie bakers should take into consideration this liquefication of starch, for it accounts for the thinning of some fillings that are prepared and stored for a time before use. It also accounts for the fact that to bring fruit juices to the desired consistency you must use more starch than you would an equal amount of water. It explains why the juices of different fruits vary in the amount of starch needed to thicken them.

Generally from 2 1/2 to 3 oz. of cornstarch will be sufficient to give proper stiffness to a quart of fruit juice.

Tapioca Starch (Tapioca Flour): Tapioca starch has the general characteristics of cornstarch with this exception: a very vigorous boiling takes place before the starch cells break. This tends to make a pie boil over in the oven before it is thoroughly baked.

Granular Tapioca: Granular tapioca makes a very clear filling–quite different from the opaque thickener made from cornstarch. This point is one of the reasons for the popularity of granular tapioca as a thickener.

Most grades of granular tapioca should be soaked in either water or fruit juice for 12 hours before use and then brought gradually to a simmering temperature until the juice becomes clear. Thus the granules are softened so that they will absorb the maximum amount of moisture and not leave traces of thickener throughout the finished pie.

Thickeners - Good Pies & How To Make ThemGum Tragacanth: When using starches for thickening, it is necessary to “gelatinize” part of the cells by heat. This is to thicken the mass sufficiently and to suspend the remainder of the cells throughout the mixture until these cells are broken down in the actual baking. This makes it necessary to heat the fruit juices and the fruit; and naturally, that hurts the flavor.

There are good prepared thickeners on the market that will give you a very satisfactory filling without the need to boil the juice. These thickeners are savers of time and labor. While they are more costly than the starches, you will sometimes find that they will not increase the real cost of the pie.

Gum tragacanth may be used as a quick cold thickener. Its price varies from 50 cents to $1.70 per pound. Naturally, with this wide price range goes a corresponding difference in the characteristics of the gum. High-grade edible gum tragacanth is pleasant to taste and will absorb considerable moisture; the cheaper varieties will not absorb as much moisture and they have a distinctly disagreeable flavor.

1 oz. of the high-grade gum will thicken 1 qt. of juice to proper consistency. Mix it thoroughly with the necessary sugar; add this gradually to the juice while stirring.

1 oz. of the cheaper grade gum would spoil the flavor of the fruit. However, in smaller quantities the cheaper gum will thicken the juice sufficiently so that it will hold cornstarch in suspension. This method of using both gum and starch makes a good cold filler at a reasonable cost: Mix 1/4 oz. gum tragacanth and 2 oz. cornstarch with 1 lb. sugar and stir into 1 qt. of fruit juice. (Either of the following proportions will give you practically the same results: 1/2 oz. gum and 1 1/2 oz. cornstarch; 3/4 oz. gum and 1 oz. cornstarch.)

Gum tragacanth does not dissolve readily. Mixing with the sugar aids its dissolving and prevents lumping.

Flavor or Seasoning: Of course, most of the fruits used in pies are tasty in themselves. Nevertheless, a small amount of salt (say, 1/8 oz. to a No. 10 can of fruit) will accentuate the fruit’s flavor and show noticeable improvement.

Canning or drying affects the flavors of some fruits more than others. These fruits lack acidity. To gain the desired tartness to the pie fruit, add citric or tartaric acid (these acids are derived from the fruits themselves). Two parts of acid crystals and one part warm water makes a good solution. Use as much of it as you need. You will find either citric or tartaric acid, or a mixture of the two, satisfactory.

Spice plays an important part in the flavoring of custard and pumpkin pies. Mace, nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice are a few of the common spices used in both fruit and soft pies. Maple flavor, too, is useful in raisin fillings (to give an elusive aroma that is hard to identify).

While not in itself a flavor, Crisco deserves mention here. In lemon, cream, fresh apple, and other pies that need a small amount of fat for smooth texture and tenderness, Crisco’s absolute lack of flavor makes it ideal. For soft pies, melt the Crisco and stir it in; for fresh apple pies, dot the fruit with small pieces of Crisco.

The 2 Week Diet

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