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Mail call: Recipe edition

Jo Ott, a longtime reader, shared this photo of one of several recipes written on the inside of kitchen cabinet doors in an old northern York County farmhouse. You might consider using this basic recipe – 3 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 cup of shortening and 3/4 cup of water – as a crust for Montgomery pie!

Today’s attempts to sort through some of the mailed letters I’ve received turned up several that include some tasty-sounding recipes. Since writing this column is allowing me to postpone cooking dinner, I figured that was appropriate! I hope you’ll enjoy these ideas about apple pan dowdy, Montgomery pie and another kind of pie memory.

I last talked about both apple pan dowdy and Montgomery pie in August of last year. Recipes had been requested by readers for each of them, and we shared a few. Now I have even more!

Apple pan dowdy

Reader Phyllis (Gerber) Wolgamuth, a 1953 graduate of Dover Area High School, wrote, “I was the winner of the Apple Pan Dowdy contest at Dover High School in 1952-53. There was a county high school contest; a girl with the last name of Kraft from Manchester High School won that contest. Enclosed is the recipe we used.”

Phyllis’ recipe:

Place in a small baking dish 1 quart apples (peeled and sliced); set aside.

In a saucepan, put 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar. Heat until thick, stirring often. Take off heat; add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla.

To make topping:

Mix 1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt; cut in 2 1/2 tablespoons shortening; add 3/4 cup milk and mix. Spoon on top of the apple mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

Montgomery pie

Shirley Saylor of York said in response to a request for Montgomery pie recipes, “My mom made these often, and they were gone in no time.”

She says to start by making your pie crust. Then, for the lower part of the pie:

1 egg, beaten
2 lemons (juice and rind)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons flour
1 cup water
1 cup King syrup

Mix all these ingredients well. Pour into a pie shell.

For the top part of the batter:

2 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs (well-beaten)
1 cup milk

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs. Next add the milk, then all dry ingredients, and mix well. Spoon this over the liquid ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

I also got a Montgomery pie recipe from Richard Keller, who wrote, “I grew up eating Montgomery pie as far back as I can remember. Using our mother’s recipe, my two brothers wives and my wife all made them.”

Richard, who is 83, continued his story by noting that some years ago, his wife’s ability to function in the kitchen decreased, “so I now make them, two at a time, one to eat and one goes in the freezer for sometime later.” Richard, it makes me happy to hear you’re continuing the tradition!

His family recipe:

For the batter, cream together 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup butter. Add 1 egg, 1/2 cup milk, 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 1/4 cups flour; mix and set aside.

For the under part, in a large measuring cup, mix together 1 1/4 cups King syrup, 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1 1/4 cups water, 1 egg, 2 1/2 tablespoons flour and 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla.

Pour evenly into two unbaked pie crusts; add spoonfuls of the batter at random on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

He concluded, “PS: If you are a weight watcher, don’t even think about making Montgomery pie!”

One final recipe for this pie today comes from local cook and cookbook author Connie Shuff. She wrote, “When I was growing up back in the ’40s and ’50s, I can remember my mother making her delicious Montgomery Pie lots of times. It was so good that when I published my cookbook… that was one of the recipes I put in the book.”

She included the recipe, which uses two unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shells as well as the following to make two pies.

First mixture:

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Second mixture:

1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups molasses
1 1/2 cups water
1 egg
2 lemons (grated rind and juice)

For the first mixture, with an electric mixer, beat together sugar, butter and eggs until creamy. Mix baking powder, salt and flour in small bowl. Add dry ingredients and milk gradually to sugar mixture; set aside.

For the second mixture, mix sugar and flour together. Add the rest of the ingredients to the sugar and flour with an electric mixture.

Pour the first mixture in the bottom of the pie shells, then pour the second mixture over top of the first.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. The batter on the bottom of the pie will rise to the top while baking.

Another pie memory

It’s not a recipe exactly, but I wanted to conclude today’s column with a nice note about pies of another sort.

Deb McCauslin of Spring Garden Township wrote, “I started working in the office at Mrs. Smith’s Pies in May 1969 until February 1973. Each week or month, the plant manager would bring a pie to the office for everyone to taste because sometimes the formula would change. Each week, a baked item was featured. My favorite pie was banana cream because real sliced bananas were used. The last I heard, the lant was changed to a truck stop for Michele’s Bakery.”

Deb, I wish I had a job like that! It sounds tasty!

Have questions or memories to share? Email me at or write to Ask Joan, York Daily Record/Sunday News, 1891 Loucks Road, York PA 17408. We cannot accept any phone calls with questions or information.