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Dec 11, 2012 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

Christmas Breakfast Monkey Bread

Nov 22, 2012 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

Pie is a coveted thing. Pie is a ritual, a point of pride, a labor of love. And Thanksgiving is the pie’s time to shine. 

Since I am always showing off other people’s family recipes, I thought I might take a moment and show you all a few of my favorites from my own family. My grandmother’s pies have always been legendary in my mind, a standard to which all other pies will be held. Since I was little, I have always loved the fact that they are typed on a typewriter, and now seeing them as an adult, they seem even more mystical somehow, like ancient scrolls. Noone would use a typewriter for this sort of thing except perhaps pure novelty, and therefore the process by which the recipes were written defines them as relics.

And yet somehow, taste is timeless.

I think my brother’s favorite recipe of these is my grandmother’s apple pie. It is sweet and tart, has just the right consistency, not too soupy or too thick. 

Although I also love the apple, mine was the pumpkin. It is near perfection. I have been asked for this pumpkin pie recipe at least 7 times (and a few times even by cooks who far surpass my skill level) and my reply, although truthful, can seem suspiciously too general. I remember seeing the card typed by my grandma for this recipe that just said follow the recipe on the can….and thinking “no, this can’t be right…there has to be more to it than that!” But really, there isn’t. I asked my grandmother about it once and her only elaboration was that it has to be the recipe on the Libby’s can. It CANNOT BE ONEPIE. Also, Carnation evaporated milk really does work best. I thought I really should write it down….just in case Libby’s ever goes out of business. Maybe I could roast my own pumpkin and make it work. I am fairly certain I wouldn’t be the only person in this boat – I’m sure this recipe has made it into many family’s Thanksgiving canons.

Anyway – so why mess with success? We have made this pie nearly every year in my family. Even if we go to other places, it is usually the dessert that comes along. It is as much of a ritual as a recipe, and for me, it is hard to imagine Thanksgiving without it. The recipe is as follows:

(Libby’s) My Grandma’s Famous Pumpkin Pie:


MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving. 

I think this year, in addition to the many, many things that I have to be thankful for, I will thank my Grandma and Mom for keeping this recipe alive in our family through the years! I’m not sure that they know that it is one of my all-time favorites, but it really is. And with every passing year it will serve as a reminder of those childhood Thanksgivings, the first time I made the pie myself, and seeing both of them make it.


Nov 4, 2012 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

This week went a bit less than according to plan, to say the least. 

As everyone knows by now, Hurricane Sandy, a storm of unprecedented magnitude hit the east coast this week, wreaking all kinds of havoc and putting the people of New York, New Jersey and so many other states in terrible peril. People are still even now without power, water, and food in some places.

By coincidence this was the week that we here at the American Recipe Project were scheduled to make a much-anticipated trip to Brooklyn to interview the co-owners of Baked, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, who were going to be talking about some of their favorite family recipes. Baked is a prominent bakery in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, and these guys have gotten busier in the past few years with everything from TV appearances to book tours. We corresponded and said we would play everything by ear, and hoped the storm wouldn’t be so bad. 

Up here in Boston, we considered ourselves quite lucky. Although the wind and rain were impressive, the damage was minimal. Monitoring my twitter and Facebook feeds as the storm continued, my heart sank. As you’ll see from the pictures above, Brooklyn was flooding and fast, and my concern grew for the safety of friends in the NYC area, as well as the gang at Baked.

The next day I felt so lucky to learn that everybody I knew was ok, but the flooding and damage in so many parts of the city was devastating, and Baked was not spared. I wrote Matt, not expecting an answer at all really, thinking of the unimaginable amount of stress and sadness they must be experiencing.

Wednesday I received a response saying that yes, it would be good to reschedule the interview, and even sorry for the short email, which was so kind. The guys at Baked are such a class act, they even posted a picture of themselves smiling and in good spirits with their cleanup gear on, pictured above. Today they even posted a picture of a wedding cake they were (amazingly) able to get out for a client. 

Back in Boston I came down with the flu on Thursday (which would have been just in time to interview these guys, so guess I dodged a bullet there!!) But as I sat in my fever-induced stupor, watching news coverage on the storm, several things became clear.

In a disaster such as this a lot of things can happen. People have been through a lot and get angry, they despair, they stumble, they might even give up. But the Baked crew (along with millions of others who made it through the storm) are keeping it moving, and with a smile, at that.

It made me even more sure that I can’t wait to meet these guys someday. (I mean seriously, look at that cake).

If you can, please donate to one of the following charities:

And if you are in the NYC area:

or visit the crew at Baked (you will not be sorry!)


Madeline Herec

Creator, The American Recipe Project


Oct 24, 2012 | Posted in: | 0 Comments


Oct 15, 2012 | Posted in: | 0 Comments

Black Bottom Pie with Grandmother’s Recipe Card

Photo by Mitch Harrison for Meringue and

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