One thing to love about The South’s culinary history is the abundance of old-timey cookbooks and recipes. Collections of church-ladies’ hand-written cards complete with illustrations, Junior League “receipts” full of whiskey and gelatin, and faded, stained scraps of paper hidden inside cupboards or messy drawers. If the author of “Julie & Julia” had worked her way through a Southern church cookbook, I would have been way more impressed than Julia Child’s novel of a cookbook. Because these old recipes are crafted off generations of memory, without exact science and a good deal of guesswork on the part of the reader.
For example, “Add enough milk” and “Add dessertspoon butter” And “Sprinkle with xxxx sugar.” Part of the fun is guessing, or calling your Southern mother/grandmother/friend to help translate.
For Christmas, one of Grant’s sisters gave everybody a copy of an old family recipe from Ms. Nell Bennett, “Granny’s Strawberry Yum Yum Pie.” Description: “This is an old fashion way of making fruit pies (or cobblers). My! What flavor the juice in this pie has.”
And so it does.
I made this for a small crowd recently, all who loved the cakey batter made soft with strawberry juices and caramelized bits around the edges. I probably took the baking a bit too far, but the recipe wasn’t exact – I shall learn next time.
Strawberry Yum Yum Pie
Ingredients (I altered for the modern reader):
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 T cold shortening
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- milk (I probably used 1/2 c.)
- 2 c. sliced strawberries
- 2 T cold diced unsalted butter
- 2 T sugar
Mix flour, salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening to resemble coarse meal. “Add enough milk to make a soft batter” = use a wooden spoon to stir in up to 3/4 c. milk (I used whole milk), until it comes together like a cake batter. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle strawberries evenly over, then cover with 2 T sugar. Dot with butter.
Bake at 400 about 25 minutes, increasing the heat to 450 to brown the top, if needed, for the last 10 minutes. The batter rises to the top and forms a nice crust around the strawberries. Again, I let mine brown a little too far, but no matter.
Set aside to cool to your liking, then scoop onto plates.
It is wonderful at room temperature or even cold, but is so easy to warm up, which people seem to prefer. Would be fabulous with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.
Enjoy, friends! xoxo