Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Little White Lab Rat Gets Juiced

Little White Lab Rat Gets Juiced

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 07, 2010

Maybe all-a-ya-all are still coming down from your holiday sugar highs, but except for a plate of cookies from a neighbor, I completely missed the holiday sugar train and was in the mood for something sweet last night. Besides, we’ve seen time and time again that sugar is a health food, so something sweet is the obvious thing to support the usual New Year’s resolution, right?

So I flipped through my collection of recipes culled from old Mormon magazines and found just the thing in a 1954 Improvement Era: Frozen Orange Juice Pie! “Frozen” matches the weather, “orange juice” sounds healthy, and “pie,” well, pie is pie. Except when it are squared, of course.

The recipe came from an advertisement for Sperry Drifted Snow Flour to be used in the pie crust. I just used my usual pie crust recipe, not reproduced here. Sorry, Sperry. We have enough drifted (well, crusted and grimy) snow on the ground outside.

Frozen Orange Juice Pie

Measure out and save 2 tablespoons juice from

1 can (6 oz.) frozen orange juice, undiluted

Place remaining juice in a saucepan and add –

1 can water (3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons butter

Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, blend with a rotary beater until smooth –

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1 can water (3/4 cup)

Then slowly stir into boiling liquid. Bring again to a boil and cook 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and thickened. Pour into –

a baked 9-inch pie shell

Let stand until filling is cool. Just before serving, spoon Orange Blossom Meringue in mounds around edge of pie. Place under broiler until meringue is a deep golden brown, about 1 minute. Watch carefully as this topping burns very quickly. It is best to serve this pie within an hour or two as this type meringue may “water” slightly upon long standing. 6 servings.

Orange Blossom Meringue

Measure into the top part of a double boiler –

2 egg whites, unbeaten
2 tablespoons undiluted frozen orange juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar

Beat with rotary beater at high speed over boiling water for 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and continue beating 2 or 3 minutes longer until mixture forms soft peaks.

This was easy to make, and quick – well, maybe a little slow, using the double boiler, but I’ve learned from making lemon meringue pies that it really is safer to use a double boiler and avoid the easy scorching that can come with a filling like this. And, of course, this was very much like lemon meringue – but such a pretty color, and, as it turned out, with a stronger, fruitier flavor.

While it was cooling I googled to see whether this recipe or anything like it had survived the last 50+ years and discovered that there are thousands of “orange juice pies” out there – why haven’t any come under my pointed, whiskery nose before now? All of the recipes I looked at, though, were made with sweetened condensed milk or sour cream or other heavy dairy. While that sounded good, I really, really liked this lighter version. None of the recipes I looked at bothered to flavor the meringue with juice, either, another detail I really liked.

The recipe warns that the meringue should be made and browned just before serving because of a tendency toward watering. Yeah, the meringue this morning has separated a bit and doesn’t look very pretty at all. But will that stop me from having leftover pie for breakfast?

Nah. (Or, gnaw, gnaw, gnaw …)



  1. Love the citrus meringue pies! I’ll have to try this one. Lemon, and key lime Meringue are amoung my favorite foods on earth.

    I saw a episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats that covers the weeping that meringues do. It is caused by over beating the egg whites. You don’t want to go clear to stiff peaks stop right before stiff, like right before, and you shouldn’t have the problem. Pull the beater up and the peaks should hold their shape but the tips should curl down a little bit and they should still be glossy.

    I can’t remember all the physics and chemistry behind it but it works.

    I’m fasting for a glucose test or else I would be in the kitchen right now whipping one up. Love the old recipes I have a cook book of similar vintage that I keep around for the pineapple upside down cake. Mmmmm…

    Comment by Dovie — January 7, 2010 @ 8:57 am

  2. I was just glad to see those two egg whites get used up. After the yolks went into the pie filling, I was so worried they’d just go to waste!

    I’m still trying to think of something appropriately tactless to say over at BCC this morning, so I have nothing but a grudging grin with a groan for your comment about irrational pies.

    As for pie for breakfast–the only important thing is to first wash the plate and fork from the midnight pie snack.

    Comment by Mark B. — January 7, 2010 @ 9:24 am

  3. “[I] was in the mood for something sweet . . . So I flipped through my collection of recipes culled from old Mormon magazines”

    Ha! This made me smile wide. When I’m in the mood for something sweet, I instantaneously grab for whatever is in the cupboard and scarf it down. Only a true historian would satisfy a sweet craving by searching through old historical recipes and actually reproducing one of them.

    (But please tell me you don’t refer to the old magazines for ideas on how to have whiter teeth, or softer skin, or for ideas for newly-wed Christmas gifts . . .)

    Comment by Hunter — January 7, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  4. Dovie, you’re a kindred lab rat.

    You can always leave appropriately tactless comments here, Mark. Your actually grinning at my dumb joke — and adding one of your own — gets you a special dispensation.

    Hunter, you caught me! I hadn’t realized I was betraying my down-to-the-bone historical bent, but I surely am. And no, I don’t use the old magazines for health tips. Except with regards to avoiding constipation. Some things are timeless.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 7, 2010 @ 10:28 am

  5. I’m assuming that when it says “undiluted” it means just the concentrate?

    Comment by iguacufalls — January 7, 2010 @ 11:07 am

  6. Yes — just the concentrate, without the water that would be added if you were going to drink the juice. The orangey flavor was really good this way, but would have been too washed out had the reconstituted juice been used instead.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 7, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  7. So, why was the blonde standing at the kitchen counter staring at the orange juice can in her hand?

    Because the label said “concentrate.”

    (bwa ha ha ha! I don’t know why I like that ancient joke, but I do. This conversation made me think of it so I had to say it. PS. I’m a blonde, at least originally)

    Comment by Coffinberry — January 7, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

  8. Wonderful, Ardis. I must admit that this is the first of your Lab Rat experiments that I might consider actually making!

    I’ve been planning to make my grandmother’s recipe for raspberry meringues. It’s from the same era, which I can tell because it uses raspberry jello for the flavoring. This recipe is also traceable to that decade, because of the use of frozen orange juice. This is the 1950s, and any good housewife had a new deep freeze (electric freezer) and was filling it with all the processed foods that were being so heavily advertised. All sorts of uses were being developed for the frozen juice concentrates, flavored gelatin powders, cream of whatever soups, canned fishes, and all the other post-war conveniences and excesses of that decade.

    Comment by Researcher — January 7, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

  9. I laughed, Coffinberry. Besides, what other kind of comment can I legitimately expect with a post like this?

    Researcher, if the raspberry stuff works out, send the recipe — I’ll try it. Jello is best used as a recipe ingredient rather than as a stand-alone food, anyway (I have a recipe for ice cream flavored with jello). And you’re right, of course, about the decade of efficiency and scientific products and household technology … and a burgeoning Madison Avenue to sell it all to us! That’s why we fought the war!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 7, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  10. Some good funnies here.

    And I am impressed, no more than that. It’s just so dang cool that you got a sugar craving and looked in old cookbooks for something.

    Nevermind that you had the patience to wait for it to cool and all of that.

    You are one of a kind, Ardis. In a great way. 😉

    Comment by m&m — January 7, 2010 @ 11:36 pm

  11. I typed up this recipe on recipezaar and it’s just been published. With a slight alteration to the name… [drum roll]… Keepa Orange Blossom Pie.

    Comment by Researcher — January 8, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

  12. Hey! I like that! Thanks, Researcher!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 8, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

  13. Researcher, you are the greatest to think renaming the recipe and having it published. How fun is that?

    Comment by Maurine — January 8, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

  14. Lemon Merinque and Key Lime are my favorite pies so I just made this. It is cooling. I left some in the pan to eat warm. It’s quite good. I told my son, “Keepa yo hands off!”

    Comment by Karen — January 8, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

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