Monday, April 18, 2011

Golden Rice Belgian Pie

This week’s recipe isn’t. Which means I don’t really expect you to make it. I last made it when I was nine years old (“And what do you mean by that?” Ron snorts. “Golden Rice Belgian Pie!” I scream, continuing to hammer the keyboard).

It’s been a rough week. For one thing, local government officials sent me my “gold card” a few days ago. Corporations once gave retiring employees a gold watch; local governments send a gold card. The message is the same. This week, I’ll turn 65. Heaven knows, I certainly don’t look it! I actually look 70. 

The plastic “gold card” allows seniors in the area where I live to ride the bus and watch movies at a discount. I like that. The card acknowledges that we're old. I don’t like that. If the “gold card” were made of paper, the words (© Nicole Parton, 2011) would probably say: 

“Come and sit in the shade awhile
Allow yourself to rest.
Give your friends a wan, pale smile
Try to do your best.

“Stroll into the sunset
Stare into the sea 
Feel the gentle breezes 
Relax your gimpy knee.

“The corner clock is ticking
The minutes go too fast
For you are in your golden years
Who knows how long you’ll last?”  

I prefer the kind of card that says: “As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters face the other way!” 

I said it had been a rough week. Wearing the bacon-scented cologne I save for special occasions, I was all a-twitter as I lined up to board a BC Ferry to visit my sister, who lives in Victoria. (The  “gold card” entitles seniors who are mid-week foot passengers to ride free) In my excitement, I briefly lost it (“You lost it years ago!” Ron says, glued to the hockey game. “I’m talking about my “gold card!” I yell, still typing). 

Back to the BC Ferries ticket wicket, where I rummage through my purse. “It’s here somewhere …” I say, adding “I’m a see-nior! I’m almost 65!” 

Giving me the once-over, the ticket agent says: “It’s okay, ma’am. You don’t need to show proof of age.” 

“Oh, but I have it here somewhere …” 

“It’s quite all right, ma’am. I don't doubt you have your gold card. I can tell you’re 65. Have a great day!” He handed me my free ticket.  

I’ve never been more rudely treated! The arrogance of that whipper-snapper! The least he could have done was protest: “Can’t let you through the gate, ma’am! Only seniors get in free! You …! Obviously …! Are not ..! A senior! Dabbing at my nose for dramatic effect, I would happily have paid full fare. 

So my “golden years” merit a “golden” recipe from my childhood: Golden Rice Belgian Pie. My late father was a Belgian. My younger sister is a Belgian. And - quelle coincidence! -  so am I. We’d lived in Canada more than six years (that’s the French word for “six”) when mon papa said he deeply missed his favorite dessert: GRBP. Always eager for an increase in my 25-cent weekly allowance, I found the recipe in the library (and just now, on the Internet). 

Having tested it 56 years ago, I’m not about to do it again (Ron is now screaming “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I don’t have to quit the keyboard. He’s yelling at the TV, specifically at the Stanley Cup Playoffs. “How many quarters does this hockey game have?” I ask, nonchalantly. He shoots me a look of pity. Heh-heh-heh … I think I’ve scored! 

The truth about GRBP is … the recipe is disgusting! (“Dégoutant!” as I recall mon papa’s words as he took his first bite. My French is a little rusty, but I think that means “Delicious!”) Unfortunately, when I made it for my dad, I forgot to cook the rice. Mon papa crunched his way through part of a piece, and put the rest away. No one else had any! I think he must have saved it as a special treat for later, so he wouldn’t overeat.

So here’s the recipe I found on the Internet. It combines yeast, eggs, mashed potatoes, lard, rice, and vanilla pudding mix. Mmmm … tasty! I now know why my parents abandoned Brussels. Pass the Stella Artois! The Vancouver Canucks just won the third game against Chicago! God only knows how many games are left in the series, but Ron’s screaming like a maniac. 

Golden Rice Belgian Pie: 

2 oz. moist cake yeast
1 tsp. sugar
½ c. warm water
6 egg yolks
1 egg
½ c. sugar
½ c. mashed potatoes
½ c. lard
½ c. butter
1 c. condensed milk
6-to-7 c. flour (enough for a soft dough)
¾ tsp. salt

Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water. Allow to stand until foamy. Beat egg and egg yolks. Add sugar, mashed potatoes, melted butter, lard and condensed milk. Add sifted flour with the salt. Mix well and knead slightly.
Cover and allow to rise until double in bulk. Punch down and divide into eight sections. Roll out and press each section into greased pie pans. Allow to rise, spread on rice filling and bake at 350 deg. F. about 30 minutes or until crust is brown.

To Prepare the Rice Filling:

Measure 3 cups regular rice and cook in water until almost tender. Add ¼ cup sugar. Then add a large and small box of vanilla pudding mix and 1 cup condensed milk. Finally add whole mix gradually until filling is of the right consistency (about 1-½ cups). Note: Other fillings may be used, such as cherry, prune, poppy seed, apple, apricot, etc. This recipe makes eight pies. Be warned.

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