Today’s vintage Old Mission recipe is courtesy of Mrs. A. C. Leighton’s “Dutch Pie,” as noted in “The Old Mission Cook Book” compiled by The Ladies’ Aid Society of the Congregational Church in 1922.
I’m pretty sure I started hyperventilating when Mary Jo Solomonson showed me this cook book from her archives. Tim and I were at her house recently to organize our presentation on the Peninsula Phone Company for the Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society, and coming across these historical treasures is everything I ever dream of.
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So much so that I was hesitant when Mary Jo said it’d be ok if I borrowed it. I’m always afraid something will happen to these one-of-a-kind artifacts before I can safely return them to their owners. So thank you, Mary Jo, for trusting me with this precious gem.
I say one-of-a-kind because not only are there recipes from every historical name on the Old Mission Peninsula in this book, but there are also recipes hand-written on the blank pages, recipes jotted down on envelopes and scraps of paper, clippings of recipes from the local paper, and so on and so forth. This book was well-loved by the person whom I’ve determined owned it – Nellie R. Baldwin.
The book also includes ads from Old Mission businesses like these…
My archeological dig turned up this information for Nellie R. Baldwin: She was born in 1875 in Old Mission to Kitty C. and William R. Stone, early pioneer settlers of the Old Mission Peninsula. William Stone served as posmaster and Indian Commissioner for the Peninsula, and he also barter traded with the Indians at his store (possibly where the Old Mission General Store is currently located).
In 1920 – two years before this book was published – Nellie was living in Peninsula Township with her husband, Luther A. Baldwin, who passed away in 1945. Nellie passed away in 1952. She was a member of the Ogdensburg Church and a lifelong member of the Grange. Among her many family members was Roy Holmes, one of her nephews.
There are hundreds of recipes in this book, but I settled on Mrs. Leighton’s “Dutch Pie” because many of us have an abundance of apples right now, and perhaps this is a recipe you’d like to try for Thanksgiving. It’s basically a straightforward apple pie recipe.
While the recipe notes “Mrs. A. C. Leighton,” I have to wonder if that’s a typo, and it was possibly “Mrs. C. A. Leighton” – Edith R. Leighton – who was married to Curtis A. Leighton. Among their children is Marian E. Leighton, who many of us remember as Mrs. Hilt, a teacher at Old Mission Peninsula School (who patiently tutored me through math in the sixth grade). I’m hoping her son, Jim Hilt, and his wife Carlene will chime in here on my theory (feel free to leave comments in the comments section at the bottom of this story).
Here’s the recipe. You’ll have to use your discretion on the specifics of the recipe, because I’m guessing the “cup of sugar” would be for the entire pie, not in each apple. No idea how many apples might be involved (half a dozen?) or what temp the “slow oven” would be set at. Let me know what you come up with there.
Mrs. Leighton’s Dutch Pie
Line a pie tin with quite thick crust. Take apples (russets are best), pare and halve, take out the core with a sharp knife and lay the apples on the crust, core side up, placing them as near together as possible.
Place a piece of butter on each hollow of the apple, where the core was taken out. Sprinkle a good dusting of flour over the apples, then a cup of sugar and a little bit of water in each apple. Season with cinnamon, Cook in a slow oven.
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb