Sugar Plum Gang - Cowboy Desserts

Imagine...It's 2:15 at the Happy Trails Mall, your eyes are a drooping and your boots feeling like they're made a lead and yer walking through quicksand. You need a jolt a joe and a fix a sweet so you belly on up to the bar at Starebacks Java Post and order a double rowdy cowboy eggnog mochalottafrapachitco and then ya throw a look to the cowboy Christmas dessert case. Oh no!...It's empty. "Where in tarnation be the giant cookies, pies and tarts?", you ask Mr. Stareback. He stands shaking in silence. You look around for a clue, then you notice them, off in the corner. The tell-tale stack of empty dishes. Then the wild caffinited laughter, the sugar dusted lips, the frosting covered fingers and the yum yum written on their faces. This was the work of none other than the dreaded Sugar-Plum Gang. They got here first, cleaned the place out, and now they're taking off for some high power sugar induced frenzy sale shopping.

When that happens, friend, before you resort to a life of spun sugar crime, why not try a few of these delicious recipes instead.

Historic desserts are perfect for the food outlaw in all of us.



(please scroll for recipes)


Hickory Pie

Mashed Potato Candy

Dried Apple Pie

Bread Pudding

Christmas Pudding

Indian Pudding

Mincemeat Pie

Vinegar Pie

Minnie Lewis Vinegar Pie

Bourbon Custard

Pork Cake

Loganberry Pie

Lemon Drops

Maple Sugar Caramels

Rice Apples

Cowboy City Pumpkin Pie

Round-Up Pecan Pie



Hickory Pie

2 Cups walnuts or pecans chopped1/2 cup whipping cream1/2 cup corn syrup or molasses3 large eggs, beaten1 cup honey or maple syrup1/4 cup melted butter1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 single pastry pie crust

·  Preheat oven to 400. Blend cream, molasses or corn syrup, honey or maple syrup, salt, vanilla extract and butter.

·  Mix well fold in nuts and pour into the pie crust.
Bake 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350.
Continue cooking 25-30 minutes or until a broom straw inserted in center come
Pie will rise at first, but will settle as it comes from oven and cools.

Dried Apple Pie

Pioneer recipe adapted for our times:

2 cups dried apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 pie crusts 8", unbaked
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven 350
Soak the apples in water overnight
Drain off water mix apples with sugar and spices
Add apple mixture to crust
Dot with butter and cover with second crust, make slashes in top to ventilate
Bake 1 hour, until top is golden brown

Bread Pudding

1 cup dark brown sugar3 eggs3 slices of bread2 cups milk
1 cup raisins1/8 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons butter softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

·  Butter the bread using the 2 tablespoons of butter, then dice.

·  Place sugar in top of double boiler, put bread on top of sugar, add the raisins.

·  Beat the eggs, milk, salt, and vanilla.

·  Pour over bread. Do not stir. Place over simmering water and let cook for 1 hour.

·  The brown sugar will form a sauce.

·  Turn out onto serving dish. Serve warm or cold.

·  Serves 6

Christmas Pudding

8 oz (4 cups) breadcrumbs1 tablespoon grated orange zest1 teaspoon cinnamon black raisins1 teaspoon mace yellow raisins1/2 teaspoon cardamom dried apricots1/2 teaspoon ground cloves2 oz of crumbled almond macaroon1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 oz chopped almonds2 tablespoons orange marmalade2 oz ground almond6 tablespoons cognac1 grated apple4 medium eggs juice of1 orange2/3 cup port or marsala wine
Rum or Brandy for presentation.

·  Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroghly.

·  Put the marmalade, juice, eggs, cognac and wine in another large bowl, or in the blender or food processor, and beat until well blended and frothy. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients.

·  Mix until moist.

·  Cover and let stand for a couple of hours at least, or if possible overnight.

·  Oil or butter the pudding mold or casserole.

·  It will not expand much during cooking so you may fill to 1/2 inch of the rim.

·  Butter a peice of waxed paper and tie it over the top with string.

·  Place the pudding mold in large pot with a triple fold sheet of foil under it and comming up both sides. This will help you lift out the hot mold when it is done.

·  Pour boiling water into pot to come 1/2 way up the side of the pudding mold, cover and bring back to a boil, reduce the heat and keep at a steady simmer for 5 hours, replacing boilig water as needed.

·  When the time is up remove the pudding from pot and allow to cool completely.

·  While still in mold, cover tightly with foil and keep in cool dark place.

·  On Christmas day, steam the pudding (as before) for another 2 hours.

·  Remove and turn onto platter.

·  Warm do not boil, brandy or rum drizzle onto pudding and ignite.

Indian Pudding


1 pint cornmeal
1 quart milk
1/2 cup sugar

Mix all ingredients and put into a strong cloth. Put this into a brass or bell metal vessel, stone or earthen pot secure from wet and boil 12 hours.

For those of us lacking a bell metal vessel here is a later version of this classic recipe:

1 quart milk
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
2 teaspoons ginger
3/4 cup molassas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 quart cold milk

Bring the quart of milk to a boil, then sprinkle in little by little, about 1 1/4 cups cornmeal, letting the meal drop through the fingers of your left hand while stirring vigorously with your right hand. When the mixture has thickened, remove from the stove to cool. Then add the ginger, molassas and salt. Stir in and beat until smooth. Heavily grease a pudding pan, pour in the batter, and pour the quart of cold milk on top. Do not stir in. Bake 5 hours in a very slow oven. The slower the cooking, the smoother and creamier the pudding.

Mincemeat Pie
late 1800's

Four pounds of lean boiled beef, chopped fine,twice as much of chopped green tart apples,1 pound of chopped suet,3 pounds of raisins,seeded;2 pounds of currants,picked over,washed and dried,1/2 pound citron, cut up fine,1 pound of brown sugar,1 quart cooking molasses,2 quarts sweet cider,1 pint of boiled cider,1 tablespoon salt,1 tablespoon black pepper,1 tablespoon mace,1 tablespoon allspice,and 4 tablespoons cinnamon,2 grated nutmegs,1 tablespoon cloves;

·  Mix throughly and warm on the range until heated through.

·  Remove from the fire and when nearly cool stir in a pint of good brandy, and a pint of Maderia wine.

·  Put in a crock, cover it tightly, and set in a cold place where it will not freeze, but keep perfectly cold.

·  Mix throughly and warm on the range until heated through.

·  Remove from the fire and when nearly cool stir in a pint of good brandy, and a pint of Maderia wine.

·  Put in a crock, cover it tightly, and set in a cold place where it will not freeze, but keep perfectly cold.

·  Will keep all winter.

Vinegar Pie


"Make a good quantity of paper hanging paste.Season with vinegar and sugar. Place in pie crust and bake."

(Only kidding. But I really did find that in an old cookbook. Here's another 2 to make up for that. By the way vinegar pie is actually quite good and probably served as a substitute for those early settlers who craved lemon pie) )

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
Dash nutmeg
1 baked pie shell

Stir all ingredients and cook until clear and thick. Stir 1/2 the mixture into the yolks. Place on back of the stove for one minute (I think this means let set, it's an old recipe) add the butter and pour into baked shell.

Minnie Lewis Vinegar Pie


·  Put 1 pint of diluted vinegar into a skillet.

·  Add butter 1/2 the size of an egg;

·  2/3 cup of sugar,

·  1 tablespoon of corn starch wet in a little water, and the beaten yolk of 1 egg.

·  Flavor with lemon, and cook until thick.

·  Line a pie pan with pastry, and put in the mixture.

·  Bake till almost done; then remove from oven and spread the beaten white of the egg over the top;sprinkle with sugar, and return to the oven; let it remain until golden brown.

Bourbon Custard

mid 1800's at least
(Very good recipe-two sugarplum thumbs up!)

4 cups whipping cream1 cup sugar12 very large egg yolks slightly beaten1/2 cup bourbon

·  Preheat oven to 325

·  Butter a 2 quart casserole.

·  Bring cream and sugar to a simmer in heavy large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.

·  Beat yolks in small bowl to blend.

·  Wisk into the egg yolks 1 cup of the cream mixture, then pour back into saucepan with remaining cream mixture.

·  Cook until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly for 1 minute longer DO NOT BOIL.

·  Strain into bowl.

·  Mix in bourbon.

·  Pour into buttered casserole.

·  Set casserole in large baking pan.

·  Add enough hot water to baking pan to come halfway up the sides of the casserole.

·  Bake until top of custard browns evenly (approx. 1 1/2 hours) custard may not be set in center thats O.K. .

·  Remove from oven, cool on rack.

·  Refridgerate.

·  Serve well chilled

8-10 servings

Loganberry Pie

1 cup unsalted butter room temp.1 cup loganberry preserves1 cup sugar1 10 inch unbaked pie shell4 eggs seperated

·  Preheat oven to 350

·  Put rack in lowest 1/3 of oven.

·  Cream butter with sugar in medium bowl until light and fluffy.

·  Beat in yolks one at a time.

·  Mix in preserves, 1/3 cup at a time.

·  Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another medium size bowl until soft peaks form.

·  Gently fold into preserve mixture.

·  Pour filling into pie shell. Bake until filling puffs and is light brown (approx. 40 min.).

·  Remove from oven let cool on wire rack (filling will fall during cooling).


Pork Cake

Circa 1866

(Don't go all weak in the knees cause of the name. If you like plum pudding, you'll like this. The recipe is written here as I found it: )

A delightful cake is made by the use of pork, which saves the expense of butter,eggs and milk

Fat, salt pork, entirely free of lean or rind, chopped so fine as to be almost like lard 1 pound;
pour boiling water upon it 1/2 pint;
raisens seeded and chopped 1 pound;
citron shaved into shreds 1/4 pound;
sugar 2 cups;
molasses 1 cup;
saleratus 1 teaspoon rubbed fine and put in the molasses.

Mix all these together, and stir in sifted flour to make the consistency of common cake mixtures
then stir in nutmeg and cloves, finely ground 1 oz. each;
be governed about the time of baking it by putting a silver into it- when nothing adheres it is done. It should bake slowly.
When pork will do all we claim for it, who will longer contend that it is not fit to eat? Who?


Lemon Drops

1 cup powdered sugar
lemon juice

Pour enough lemon juice into sugar to dissolve it. Boil to hard crack stage. Drop onto buttered cookie sheet to let cool and harden.

Maple Sugar Carmels 

2 pounds maple sugar
1 quart rich milk

Break the maple sugar into small peices and put into a pan oon the fire with milk. The pan must be deep enough to allow the sugar to expand as it boils; stir witout ceasing. Test it in cold water, and when it is sufficently brittle it is done. Then pour into square buttered pans and score with a knife into small tablets.


Mashed Potato Candy
(bad name, good candy)

1/4 cup hot mashed potatoes
1/4 teasp. grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoom melted butter
1/2 teasp. vanilla

Combine potatoes and butter in medium bowl. Slowly addsugar, beating until well blended. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls on to wax paper or form roll, chill and slice.



Rice Apples
you will need to improvise a bit with this one, don't be afraid)

Boil half a pound rice in custard-kettle till tender in one quart milk sweetened with half a tea cup of sugar; pare and core with apple corer seven or eight good cooking apples, place in slightly buttered baking dish put a tea spoon of jam or jelly into each cavity and fill with rich cream; put the rice in around apples, leaving top uncovered; bake thirty minutes, then cover with the whites of two eggs, sift on sugar and return to oven for ten minutes. Serve with sweetened cream.

Cowboy City Pumpkin Pie
(not old but hot diggity delish)

4 oz cream cheese,softened
1 tablespoon half & half
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups whipped cream (or cool whip)
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 cup cold half & half
1 can (16 oz) pumpkin
2 packs vanilla instant pudding
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk and sugar in large bowl.  Whisk until smooth. Very bgently stir in whipped cream. Spread on bottom of crust.
Pour 1 cup cold milk into bowl. Add pumpkin, pudding mixes and spices.  Beat with wire whisk until well mixed.  This will be thick. 
Sprinkle pecans over cheese layer  then spread on the pumpkin mix.
Refrigerate 4 hours  

Round-Up Pecan Pie

1   9" pastry shell (frozen or line 9" pie plate with home made)
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon
Whites of 6 large or extra large eggs

Line the pie crust with foil and bake in preheated 450 oven for 8 min. Remove foil bake 4 more minutes (until golden). Cool on wire rack.

Reduce oven to 350

Combine all ingredients except egg whites.

In another bowl, beat egg white until foamy. Add the combined ingredients, mix well.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake uncovered 35 minutes (until set


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