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Sweet Christmases are family traditions
by Joan Durbin
jdurbin@neighbornewspapers.com
December 12, 2012 11:31 AM | 2993 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Milton High School student Katie Cregge with her Milano Mousse cake.
Milton High School student Katie Cregge with her Milano Mousse cake.
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Roswell resident Whitney Curtis with her famous Butter Pie.
Roswell resident Whitney Curtis with her famous Butter Pie.
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There are many reasons to look forward to the holidays, not the least of which are the homemade sweet treats that make appearances only at Christmas.

For Roswell resident Whitney Curtis, that means butter pie.

“The recipe originated with my great-great-grandmother, Ida LeBlanc,” she said. “They lived on a farm and butter pie evolved out of the ingredients they had on hand. It was a staple at family Christmas gatherings.” Curtis’ mother has the original handwritten butter pie recipe framed and is scanning it onto kitchen hand-towels for gifts for all the women in the family for Christmas.

It is a Pie of the Month on Curtis’ blog, www.thecurtiscasa.com. Though it’s easy to make, there are a few tricks to the recipe.

“I didn’t even know what a double boiler was until I learned the recipe earlier this year. You can get the same effect by putting a bowl within a bowl,” Curtis said. “Using a double boiler isn’t as common nowadays, especially for us young newlyweds.”

There’s another directive that might puzzle younger cooks. “The phrase ‘thickens about like white sauce’ is such a sweet phrase to write in a recipe because only a few family members remember what (white sauce) is. My mom remembers it as a child, but doesn’t remember how to make it.

“I just learned to thicken it until it looks right, which for me means calling my mom and conferencing in my Great Aunt Minta.”

Katie Cregge, 17 and a senior at Milton High School, started baking with her mother and brother when she was just nine years old.

“As I learned how much I loved it, I began to take full reign of the oven by the time I was 10,” she said. “I have made cupcakes and other treats for bridal showers, weddings, and many parties. I continue to bake because it is a stress relief for me, but I also love making people happy through food.” All members of the Cregge household look forward to one very special cake at Christmas.

“Her chocolate Milano mousse cake is the bomb,” said her dad, Jim Cregge, Milton’s interim director of parks and recreation. “It’s a Cregge family tradition.”

The recipe came from a magazine about six years ago, Katie Cregge said. “It is very easy to make, but requires at least eight hours of chill time.

“My tips are let the cake chill overnight, the longer, the better. Use Double Chocolate Milanos for a more chocolatey crust. Or use Mint Milanos for an extra layer of flavor.”

Chocolate Milano Mousse Cake

Courtesy Katie Cregge

1 Tbs. instant coffee granules

1 envelope(1/4 oz.) unflavored gelatin

3 packages of Milano cookies

3 Tbs. butter, melted

1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 pkg. (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips, melted, cooled

3 cups heavy whipping cream

Stir coffee granules into 1/3 cup water until dissolved. Sprinkle with gelatin; let stand until softened, 1 minute. Microwave on High in

10-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until dissolved.

In food processor, process 15 cookies until finely ground. Stir in butter; press into bottom of ungreased 9” springform pan. Arrange remaining cookies around inside of pan, pressing down into crumbs to secure.

In large bowl stir together milk and melted chocolate. Stir gelatin mixture. At high speed beat cream until soft peaks form; fold into chocolate mixture. Spread in pan. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Butter Pie

4 eggs

1 stick butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch

2 Tbsp evaporated milk

1 to 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream butter. Add sugar and cornstarch. Add one whole egg and three egg yolks. Save three whites for meringue. Add vanilla and cream.

Place on low heat on double boiler stirring constantly. This thickens about like white sauce. Place in a 9-inch pie shell and cook for 10 minutes at 350 degrees until custard is firm.

Add three heaping tablespoons of sugar to egg whites and whip into meringue. Place meringue on custard and bake until brown.
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