Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Coffee Mallow Pie

This lovely recipe dates to the mid-1940’s - but these introductory words lie flat on the page without more background. 

While there are many Coffee Mallow Pie recipes, the original comes from a little book called Mother Anderson’s Favorite Recipes from the Hotel Anderson (originally published as 500 Recipes by Request From Mother Andersons Famous Dutch Kitchens).

This 1947 book’s charming Foreword by a daughter and grand-daughter of Mother Ida Hoffman Anderson paints a picture of a hard-working Pennsylvania Dutch woman whose cooking was so renowned that Mother Anderson bought herself a large brick guest house in 1909. 

Built in 1856, the 45-room house nestled on the banks of the Mississippi in Wabasha County, MN, boasting “a glorious view of Wisconsin jungle and the majestic roll of purple bluffs beyond. The house immediately became the Hotel Anderson, Minnesota's most historic inn, now cited in the National Register of Historic Places

The Anderson family ran it for four generations, but times and expectations changed, and the patrons who passed through wanted air conditioning and television and whirlpool baths, and complained that the floors creaked and the furniture sagged and the service wasn’t johnny-on-the-spot. Along came the Internet, and the pressures increased. The reviews were mixed until, in 2009, the Hotel Anderson shuttered its doors.

Filled with stories of a gentler time (Mother Anderson fed husband William a breakfast of homemade doughnuts every single morning), the cookbook is a gem. Having said that, Mother Andersons recipe presented me with a few problems of specificity. It calls for 30 large, quartered marshmallows - but how many cupfuls is that, exactly? Is the measurement loose, or compressed? Mother Andersons recipe calls for strong, hot coffee to be poured over the marshmallows. How strong and how hot should that coffee be? Should the marshmallows be fully melted, or simply softened? The recipe directs that you cool this mixture after the coffee goes over the marshmallows. Cool it a little, or a lot? 

Many old-time recipes are similarly problematic. While the cook knew and the family knew the precise way something had always been done, other people do not. With great reluctance, I abandoned Mother Andersons recipe for an updated one with precisely the same ingredients presented in a better format. This easy-to-understand adaptation and the beautiful photo that accompanies it come from

Coffee Mallow Pie:

1 c. water
1 tbsp. instant coffee granules
4 c. miniature marshmallows
1 tbsp. butter
1 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped
One 9-in. pastry shell, baked
½ c. chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
Additional whipped cream and chocolate curls (optional)

In a heavy saucepan, bring water to a boil. Stir in coffee granules until dissolved. Reduce heat; add marshmallows and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until marshmallows are melted and mixture is smooth.

Set saucepan in ice, whisking mixture constantly until completely cooled. Fold in whipped cream; spoon into pastry shell. Sprinkle with nuts. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls, if desired. Yields 6-to-8 servings.

Valentines Day draws ever closer! Enjoy, Dollinks!   xox   Nicole

1 comment:

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