I hope you’ve had a chance to read the new section of the paper that comes out on Thursdays called YES!. It is full of inspirational stories, anecdotes and testimonials – most of which are sent in by readers – that are shared with everyone to affirm, inspire and celebrate life.
In the ‘What Makes You Happy’ column, Ruth Stankewitz wrote in last week and said that anything chocolate made her happy.
She shared a story about her family’s favorite chocolate pie and how her granddaughter left a note on the refrigerator one Thanksgiving reminding everyone that tomorrow they must make a Mrs. Mallow’s Chocolate Pie. The note has stayed on Mrs. Stankewitz’s refrigerator for years and always brings a smile.
After this story appeared in Thursday’s paper, the phone started ringing. Everyone wanted to know about Mrs. Mallow’s Chocolate Icebox Pie. What is the recipe? Where did it come from? Can I call Ruth and get the recipe?
Fortunately, for me, Mrs. Stankewitz is easy to find. She has contributed recipes to FLAVOR in the past and even appeared on a segment of FRESH Ideas in 2012.
Before the end of the day I had all the details. I am just sorry I did not have a chance to make the pie over the weekend. Here is the story about the pie in Mrs. Stankewitz’s own words.
“In the fall of 1978, we had just moved to a tiny rural community where all 12 grades of school were in the same building. At a back-to-school potluck held in the school cafeteria, I picked up a piece of chocolate pie that I dearly loved.
Later I asked a new acquaintance if, by any chance, she knew who had made the pie.
She immediately answered, ‘That would be Mrs. Mallow who runs the only grocery store with her husband.’
So, the first time at the grocery, when she began to check me out, I introduced myself and proceeded to ask if she could possibly share that recipe with me.
She said, “Do you have a pencil and paper?”
I pulled out a peach-colored card I had picked up that day showing the hours of the local library. I still use this card, chocolate spatters and all.
Before she gave me the recipe, she told me that during the war her husband had had trouble finding a job. He finally took one at a small restaurant that served a chocolate pie that she loved. He was not allowed to tell her the recipe, but he was able to tell her the ingredients. So she and her sister started testing until they came up with this recipe. I told her how very much I appreciated their work and I wrote her years later telling her how this had become the favorite dessert for our extended family of 19. She was so happy to share it with me that I am sure she would not mind my sharing it with you.
At first, it (the pie) seems to take a great long time. The cooking requires you to stir with a spatula alternately while beating with an electric mixer. For years we did it that way, sometimes splashing all over the vent-a-hood and cabinet if our pan was not deep enough to prevent it. Then along came the whisk and I finally was daring enough to see if that would work as well as getting out the mixer. It does, so that simplifies things.
Just a few years ago, another granddaughter wanted this pie for her 8th birthday party for probably 30 people. So my great pastry maker, my hubby, made lady-fingers to lay in the bottom of clear plastic cups and we put the whipped cream on at the bowling alley as we served it. That was multiplying it eight times for the following recipe (our largest cooking at one time).”
Mrs. Stankewitz went on to say that she has tried three brands of cocoa and can’t decide which is best. She has also been known to add a bit more cocoa to satisfy everyone’s chocolate cravings. Happy pie making to everyone!
MRS. MALLOW’S CHOCOLATE ICEBOX PIE
1 cooked, 8-inch pie crust
4 tablespoons cocoa
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup sugar
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
In a large saucepan stir together the cocoa, flour and sugar. Slowly stir in the half and half. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat-proof flat end spatula. Alternate with either a portable electric mixer or a whisk, and do not let it stick. When it is thickened, remove from heat and add the vanilla and butter. Pour into crust and refrigerate at least three hours or overnight. When ready to serve, whip the cream. Sift in the sugar once peaks begin to form. Continue to whip to stiff peaks. Spread over the top of the pie.
Mrs. Mallow’s Pie Crust
1/2 cup Crisco oil
1/3 cup milk
2 cups flour
dash of salt
Mix and roll out between two sheets of waxed paper. This makes two 8-inch shells.