A pie with raisins and sour cream was the request of J. A. Wasti of Bend, Ore., who wrote, "I think [the pie] has kind of a custard-pudding base with an egg-white meringue topping."
Andrea Holmes of White Hall responded with a recipe from a book called "Cooking From Quilt Country." The book's author noted that raisin pie is a specialty of Lancaster, Pa., and Holmes County, Ohio, "but this is a light version, with the raisins suspended in a sour cream custard that is silky and a bit soft."
Sour Cream Raisin Pie
1 prebaked 9-inch pie shell
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup seedless golden raisins
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
meringue topping (recipe follows) or whipped cream topping
Set out pie shell. In a small bowl, combine evaporated milk and vinegar; set aside for 1 hour to sour.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan and cover with water. Simmer, uncovered, until most of the water has evaporated, about 3 to 5 minutes, leaving about 3 to 4 tablespoons of liquid. In the top of a double boiler, mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slightly beat the yolks and add them to the sugar mixture. Then stir in the soured milk. Place over hot water. Drain the raisins and add the juice to the mixture. Stirring with a rubber spatula, cook until thickened completely (it will bubble up in the center), about 10 minutes. Add the raisins, remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool slightly. While it is still warm, pour the filling into the baked crust. Note: If using meringue, top the pie while the filling is warm and brown meringue slightly in the oven. If using whipped cream topping, chill it beforehand.
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff peaks form; sprinkle in the cornstarch just before the beating is completed. The peaks should not topple over when the beater is raised. However, the meringue should appear moist, not dry.
Spread meringue on lukewarm filling in the pie shell clear over the edge of the crust. (Spreading while warm helps keep meringue from shrinking away from the filling as filling cools.) Swoop the meringue into attractive peaks. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the peaks are golden brown. Cool the pie gradually (there should be no warmth left in the meringue at all) and then refrigerate.
Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is a sophisticated pie. Kids may not go for the slightly sour, raisin-studded filling. The meringue set up beautifully, but the custard remained somewhat soft. I recommend cooking the custard for 12-15 minutes instead of the 10 minutes called for, or until it is a very thick consistency."
Myra Lou Herman of Manchester wants a recipe for a batter in which to fry hard crabs -- like the batter served at Duffy's restaurant on Frederick Avenue in Baltimore.
Ernest Brown of Olympia, Wash., writes: "When I was a boy, my grandmother, who was of German descent and lived in Kansas, made a dessert which she called Jerusalem pudding. I believe it was rice, cream and chopped dates. I do not have it and can't find anyone who does. Can you help?"
Robert E. Benson of Glen Burnie is trying to find a recipe for bourbon chicken. He can't find it in any cookbook. Several local restaurants serve it, he says, but won't give out the recipe. "Any help would be appreciated," he writes.
David W. Czawlytko of Baltimore writes, "Only you can find a Greek spaghetti. We made this dish frequently back in the 1970s, but Lord only knows what happened to the recipe. We sauteed onions, peppers and other ingredients in olive oil and combined them with cooked spaghetti. Fresh tomatoes were added. We've concocted several of our own versions but none seems to compare to the taste we remember."
Gary Sulin of Baltimore says he had a sample of white pizza several years ago that was "served by the 700 Deli of Linthicum at the Maryland Expo held at Festival Hall. It was quite a hit with the crowd. Since then I've been unable to find any recipe like it. Any help you can provide would be appreciated."
Mary Baldwin of Baltimore writes that she'd be the envy of the ladies at her pinochle card party if she could obtain the recipe for "the great hot crab dip served over toast which was the hit of the vTC Maryland Top 100 Women affair held at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in March this year. The buffet was a sight to behold and the best I have ever eaten. There was no mention of who prepared this dish. Please get it for me."
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes.
Pub Date: 5/06/98