Reading through the preface to Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky: A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts cookbook by Karlynn Johnston (aka The Kitchen Magpie) conjured feelings of nostalgia for my childhood days.
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I wasn’t raised in the Canadian prairies nor did I have any of the desserts listed in this cookbook. Heck, I didn’t even know what a Flapper Pie was! Karlynn wrote such a heartwarming, passionate tribute honouring both her grandmothers that it brought me back to the hustle and bustle in my paternal grandmother’s kitchen, watching her rolling dough for making pasta and stopping just to taste the tomato sauce simmering on the stove. That memory gave me a warm, happy feeling. It was with that feeling that I proceeded to read through the entire cookbook.
At the beginning of the Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky cookbook, there’s an Introduction section where Karlynn writes about her life on a Canadian prairie farm. In The Kitchen Magpie section she writes about her popular blog and how it came about. Both sections were very interesting reads that led up to what this cookbook is all about. These sections are followed by:
- A Note on Recipe Yields
- A Modern-Day Baker’s Kitchen
- An Old-Fashioned Baker’s Pantry
- Canadian Prairie Flapper Pie or the (Almost) Lost Prairie Pie
At the end of the cookbook, there’s a Glassware Index of the glassware used in the recipe photos throughout the book, and a Recipe Index.
Each chapter has an introductory anecdote relating to the contents. The recipes are spread throughout seven chapters:
- Cakes and Trifles
- Brownies, Dainties, and Slices
- Doughnut and Yeast Breads
- Candy and Confections
- Icings, Puddings, and Sauces
The over 120 recipes are well-written and easy to follow, preceded with useful tips and how-to instructions listed in the page headers. Karlynn beautifully photographed her desserts, displayed on colourful pieces from her Pyrex and glass collection.
Sample recipes I’ve bookmarked include:
- Flapper Pie, Caramel Apple Streusel Pie
- Grandma Marion’s Honey Cookies, Snickerdoodles
- White Vanilla Mayo Cake, Butter Tart Cake, Retro Poke Cake Made with Homemade Yellow Cake
- The Ultimate Chewy Brownies, Matrimonial Squares
- Vanity Fritters, Cinnamon Brioche Twist, Vanilla Birthday Cake Doughnuts
- Salted Pecans, Classic Rum Balls, Crispy Caramel Popcorn and Nuts
- Karlynn’s Famous Buttercream Icing, Old Fashioned Brown Sugar Sauce, Vanilla Pudding
Canadian Prairie Flapper Pie Recipe (Page 21)
As I previously mentioned, I didn't know what a Flapper Pie was until I received the Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky cookbook to review. Blame it on my Canadian geographical location and my ancestry, but all I know is that I’ve been missing out on some delicious pie.
In the Canadian Prairie Flapper Pie or the (Almost) Lost Prairie Pie section on page 18, Karlynn writes about how her Grandma Marion’s Flapper Pie recipe was the spark for this cookbook. After reading it through I had a much better understanding of what a Flapper Pie is and the history behind it.
Basically, as Karlynn describes it in the book, Flapper Pie is a vanilla custard pie with a graham-cracker crust. It’s simple and quick to make (no pie dough required), and it has a creamy texture that pairs well with the graham-cracker crust. It smelled wonderful when I took it out of the oven. The only drawback to this recipe for me is that the Flapper Pie has to be refrigerated for several hours to allow the filling to set before it can be served. I was ready to eat it just as it came out of the oven! My husband and I polished off the whole pie in two days, which means I will definitely make it again.
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2½ cups milk
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Combine the graham crumbs, butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Reserve about 2 tablespoons, then press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes. The crust will not brown; it simply needs to set. Remove and set aside to cool. Leave the oven on at 350˚F.
- Combine the milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt in a medium saucepan, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens to the consistency of a thick pudding. Remove from the heat and set aside while you make the meringue.
- To make the meringue, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
- Spoon the filling into the prepared pie shell and distribute it evenly. Then, using a spatula for best results, swirl the meringue over the top of the pie in a circle, starting at the outer edges and working your way into the center to create a seal. Once the pie is completely covered in meringue, tap the spatula gently on the top of the meringue, then lift up slowly to form meringue peaks, if desired. These peaks will brown more than the rest of the meringue, making for a prettier pie. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons crust mixture over top.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the meringue is browned. Remove from the oven, let cool on a baking rack, then chill for several hours in the refrigerator until the filling is set. Flapper pie needs no accompaniment—no ice cream or sauce—so simply slice, serve, and enjoy.
Mini Doughnut Waffles Recipe (Page 214)
Doughnuts and waffles: these are two of my favourite things. Since I purchased a new waffle maker lately (one of my daughters borrowed my old one and now it's taken residency in her home), I thought this would be a good time to test both the recipe and the waffle maker.
This recipe uses yeast dough that can either be used after the first rising or placed in the refrigerator overnight. I opted for the second option so I could make the Mini Doughnut Waffles for breakfast the next day.
Come the next day, I opened the refrigerator, and found the dough had risen to the top of the eight-cup measure I used to proof it. I turned on the waffle maker and started making the Mini Doughnut Waffles. The direction read to “pour half of the recommended batter for your waffle maker into the each section.” My dough was too stiff to pour; I had to spoon it out. I don’t know what I did wrong, but the waffles turned out great: nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I only dredged half the waffles into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and left the rest as is to eat with yogourt and blueberries.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Doughnuts Recipe (Page 224)
I don’t make doughnuts often only for the reason that my husband will have one or two and I’ll devour the rest. But these doughnuts seemed safe enough; after all, they’re made with pumpkin and are baked, and I certainly can limit myself to one a day. That was a fleeting thought.
These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Baked Doughnuts are “basically muffins glazed with chocolate,” words written by Karlynn. Since I can’t eat chocolate in the morning, I made half with the chocolate glaze and half without. This way I can eat one in the morning for breakfast and one in the afternoon for a snack! Although these doughnuts can be frozen, frozen desserts don’t happen in my kitchen unless I’m baking cookies for the holidays. I loved the taste of pumpkin and chocolate, though my husband found the chocolate glazed doughnuts too heavy. Good, more for me!
Absolutely! Karlynn writes with passion and humour that makes you feel welcomed in her kitchen as she shares her stories through favourite childhood desserts. She encourages you to add your recipe cards and clippings to this cookbook to pass down to your family or to offer as a gift. It will make it that more special. It’s a feel-happy cookbook that’s beautifully designed. Just look at the front cover.
Flapper Pie and a Blue Prairie Sky: A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts
Author: Karlynn Johnston
Hardcover: 314 pages
Publisher: Appetite by Random House
Excerpted from Flapper Pie and Blue Prairie Sky: A Modern Baker’s Guide to Old-Fashioned Desserts by Karlynn Johnston. Copyright © 2016 Karlynn Johnston. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
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The Flapper Pie under a Blue Prairie Sky cookbook review was written by Liliana Tommasini, author of the aptly named blog My Cookbook Addiction. Her passion for baking and cooking began at an early age. Liliana grew up in an Italian household where each meal was made from scratch with fresh ingredients and Sunday family lunches were always a celebration. She has a passion for collecting cookbooks and believes that every recipe tells a story that must be shared to nourish your soul and feed your belly. You connect with Liliana on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.