Vintage Inspiration

With Fall here I'm busy trying to wrap my head around all the things that I should have been doing during the summer, but chose to ignore in order to spend my precious time with my college age daughter and fast growing son. I'm also busy at work on edits for a book that I wrote some time ago, so my blogs reflect an essence of New Orleans as I revist all the things I love about the city. In my writer blog (Cup of Hot) I'm talking about the grand hotels of the Quarter. When my friend Vera and I returned from a trip there she gifted me with a vintage cookbook called The New Orleans Restaurant Cookbook by Deirdre Stanforth (Doubleday, 1967). Note: if you love vintage books, the end papers in this book are reason enough to check it out with it's prints of Jackson Square and map of the French Quarter.

Part tour guide to the famous restaurants of New Orleans and part history of New Orleans cooking, the book covers some of the wonderful spots that have made the city so famous. Some are still there and going strong, Brennan's and Antoine's. Others have changed, but they remain in the minds of those that experienced their grandure. Places such as the Ponchartrain, now a senior living center.  The Ponchartrain was a hotel that celebrities went to for extended stays and hosted the likes of people like Walt Disney and Mary Martin.

The book contains tons of history and real peek into another era. You can read it for the history or the recipes. I prefer both. Especially, when it comes to getting the right flavor (yes, I went there) for the city I love.

So, with the greatest respect to Ms. Stanforth, The New Orleans Restaurant Cookbook and Doubleday for such a delightful read, I am posting the recipe for the famous Ponchartrain Hotel's Mile Hile Ice Cream Pie. I haven't made it yet myself, but when I do I'll be sure to post the results.

Ponchartrain Hotel, New Orleans

1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
4-5 tablespoons cold water

1 pint Vanilla ice cream
1 pint chocolate ice cream
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

To make crust: Sift together four and salt. Cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over flour mixture and gently toss with fork. Repeat until all is moistened. Form into a ball with fingers and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Fit loosely into a 9 inch piepan, pricking well. Bake 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees. Cool.

Layer ice cream in pie shell. Beat egg whites with vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff and glossy and sugar is dissolved. Spread meringue over ice cream to edges of pastry. Broil 30 seconds to 1 minute to brown meringue. Freeze at least several hours. Drizzle chocolate sauce over each serving.
Serves 8-12

Last note: I realize that this is Baked Alaska, but each hotel had their own great renditions of fabulousness. This was the Ponchartrains. Long live New Orleans... city that I love.

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