Recipes from Amish Country

I took my last family vacation of the summer.  This one has been planned for several months.  My mom and dad have been seeing plays in Strasburg, Pennsylvania for years.  The plays are at the Sight and Sound Theater and are all plays of epic proportion which are based on Bible Stories.  Mom offered to buy all of our tickets if we could arrange a few days to be away.  Since my husband, Tim has never been to Gettysburg I wanted to take advantage of being in its vicinity and also, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

We left early on Sunday morning and drove to Gettysburg. We went to the National Cemetery to see the site where Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address. We then went on an auto tour of the battlefield.  The high light of our Gettysburg visit for my mom and I, however was our dinner at the historic Dobbin house.  The Dobbin House is the oldest building in Gettysburg.  It was built in 1776 by the Reverend Alexander Dobbin in order to begin a new life in America for himself and his family. Today his home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a colonial restaurant where candlelit elegance, superior food in abundance, and gracious service bring back the sights, sounds and tastes of two centuries ago.

We were greeted at the door by hostesses dressed in colonial dresses.  One of the girls led us through the narrow hallways and up the stairs to the second floor.  We were seated at our table which was lit by candlelight. The waitress brought us a basket of home baked bread.  There was white bread, zucchini bread and some lemon poppy seed muffins to enjoy.  A scoop of soft, whipped butter was in a small dish on the table.  Everything I had was delicious from the Spinach Salad with the hot bacon dressing to the Veal medallions in Pennsylvania mushroom sauce.  We all enjoyed the colonial fare and were too full to enjoy dessert. After our meal we went upstairs to see the museum part of the Dobbin House. In the stairwell is a hide out. There are cupboard doors and when they are opened reveal a cupboard but the cupboard can be moved and there is a big hiding space, for the Dobbin House was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

We toured Hershey the next day.  Joshua and Isabel enjoyed seeing how Hershey candy bars are made.  We continued our trip to Lancaster.  We enjoyed another Pennsylvania Dutch meal at a local restaurant called Good N Plenty.  We saved room for dessert and enjoyed a serving of Shoo Fly Pie for dessert.

The next day we continued our touring of Amish country and enjoyed our lunch at a local smorgasbord called Shady Maple.  We were amazed at the amount of food and people being served and pleased at the quality of the food.  One of my mom’s favorite desserts was the Amish Cracker pudding.

We enjoyed the play, In the Beginning, that evening.  It was a theater experience like no other I have ever experienced and I have seen some rather high tech theater over the years. The children were enthralled by the number of animals both live and robotic which appeared on the stage and in the aisles.

Much of our last day was spent on the road but we enjoyed the time talking about all of our adventures, the places we saw, the play, and of course the wonderful food.  This month I’d like to share two of the desserts I enjoyed in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.  Shoo Fly Pie and Amish Cracker Pudding.

See you next month, meet me in the kitchen.

Lisa Breithaupt

Wet Bottom ShooFly Pie

Ingredients:

2 deep dish 10 inch pie shells, unbaked

Crumbs:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup dark brown sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

Filling:

1 cup molasses

2 cups dark brown sugar

1 large egg

2 cups boiling water

1 T baking soda

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the ingredients for the crumbs with your fingers until it forms fine crumbs; set aside.  Mix together the molasses, brown sugar and egg with a whisk until smooth.  Measure out the 2 cups of boiling water and add the baking soda, being careful as it will foam; stir.  Gradually add the water mixture to the molasses mixture and stir well to combine.  Pour half of the liquid into each pie shell, being certain not to fill the shell much more than halfway.  Top each pie with equal portions of crumbs.  Bake for about 40 minutes or until the liquid is set.  Remove from oven and place on racks to cool.

Amish Cracker Pudding

Ingredients:

2/3 cup cracker crumb (saltines or graham for an even sweeter taste)

½ cup sugar

1 T. flour

½ cup of shredded coconut

½ teaspoon salt

2 ½ cups sweet milk

Directions: Mix the first five ingredients well. Onto this mixture pour 1/2 cup cold milk and let all soak while heating in a double boiler the two cups of milk. Stir soaked crackers and other ingredients into hot milk. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly. Chill.

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