|Prairie Crack a.k.a. Puffed Wheat Square.|
Image Source: Buttercream Barbie
Lucky for me, I have a family cookbook that was put together by my dad's mom's side of the family, the Stefflers. Yup, I'm (paritally) of proud German decent. The Stefflers were among some of the earliest European families to settle parts of southern Alberta, which gives these recipes all kinds of prairie street cred, yo - that is, if the prairies had streets. We actually just have fields of wheat with paths matted down by buggy wheels.
Hopefully none of my aunts or distant cousins have a problem with me sharing parts of this cookbook. I've always found it odd when people today want to keep their family recipes a secret. I mean, back in the day when women were limited in accomplishing things outside the domestic arena, I could understand why they may have wanted to secure and protect the thing that set them apart from the other ladies on the block - even if it was "just" baking the best chocolate chip cookie. But the social dynamic has changed, making "recipe protecting" less necessary or logical. Most people have more than their baking to be proud of. In fact, most people I know rarely bake - and when they do, the act invokes a squishy little white man to appear on their countertop. I wonder how many cherished family recipes - recipes that the great grandmas of the world protected like maniacal leprechauns hovering over pots of gold - have vanished from collective memory because of lack of use?
Instead, I say give credit where it's due and spread the tastiness!
Here's the inside cover of the cookbook, which my Grandma Price signed when she gave it to me for Christmas. Isn't her handwriting divine? It makes me want to work on my own penmanship, which currently kind of looks like something from the prop table of My Left Foot. It turns out that 1996 was my grandmother's last Christmas, so it's extra special to have this.
Up first are Mom's Jam Buns (the titular mom is my great grandmother Marian Steffler). Both Saskatoon and rhubarb jam are suggested for them (this cookbook features a lot of rhubarb, by the way, which I love). It doesn't say how long to bake it, so presume the oven is at 350 or 375 and take the buns out when the tops are golden:
The family recipe book doesn't have a specific entry for Saskatoon Berry Pie - but that's just because the recipe is imprinted in the souls of western folk when we're born. This is the basic recipe that I know, but I welcome you to chime in if you use a different one:
3 1/2 cups Saskatoons
1/2 cup water (use less water if you're using frozen berries)
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp almond extract
Cook the berries in water until boiling. Mix the cornstarch and sugar together in a bowl. Add the contents of the bowl to the berries and boil until clear, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add the lemon juice, butter and almond extract. Cool. Fill your pie crust with the Saskatoon mixture and bake at 425 for 15 minutes.
And here's a recipe for Saskatoon Crisp. It says you can substitute blueberries, but that would be awfully silly of you:
My sister, who is currently living in France (what a bitch, right?), recently emailed me to ask for this recipe for Baked Apple Dumplings. This dish is that good - even people in the mecca of foodie goodness desire these babies:
People sometimes accuse Matrimonial Cake of "just" being a date square. But it's not. Why? BECAUSE I SAID SO. If you add chocolate chips to the top, it becomes a Honeymoon Cake.
This recipe for Peanut Butter Slice is basically the key to getting children to trust and like you. Unless they have a nut allergy. Then you're screwed.
And, finally, one of my favourites - Puffed Wheat Squares. It's moist and chewy and sweet (but not sickly). A bag of puffed wheat cereal (which, no matter where you shop in the country, is always on a bottom shelf of the cereal aisle) is dirt cheap but takes up half your grocery cart. This recipe will use a bunch of it up, so no worries if you have limited pantry room. Plus, there's a good chance that you'll immediately make a second batch after having eaten the first one in single a day:
Happy weekend, y'all.