Cheese Pie, 1930 – Second Annual Pieathalon Challenge!

Posted on Jun 8 2015 - 3:32am by RetroRuth

It’s here! It’s here! The Second Annual Pieathalon is finally here!

I am pretty excited to see how everyone’s pies turned out, especially the pecan pie with ketchup in it that I submitted.  But, as happens every year, the pie I was assigned ended up being just as challenging as the one I sent.


This is Cheese Pie!

cheese pie


This pie was submitted by Poppy Crocker from Grannies Pantries.  Poppy writes:

This is “Cheese Pie” from My Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book (copyright 1930, but mine is the 14th printing, 1936). No authors are listed; it’s from “The Tasting-Test Kitchen” at Better Homes and Gardens. The book doesn’t have any recipe pictures, so I couldn’t include one. I thought it would be fun to send such an old recipe, so I hope the age will make up for the lack of a picture. (I added the only picture I could find– the test cooks.) The recipe calls for “a rich crust,” but the book doesn’t actually have a recipe for one. I’ve included the basic crust recipe if the recipient wants it, or they can try something else.

test cooks

As far as vintage recipes go, this one pretty much has it all. Obscure ingredient, weird ingredient, missing recipe, and best guesses.


Here is the obscure ingredient: dried currants. I suppose that it doesn’t actually specify dried currants, so you could use fresh currants in this pie (if you can find them). Currants and dried currants aren’t actually the same thing, though.  Dried currants are seedless grapes. Since putting raisins in pies is a common thing in vintage recipes, I opted for the dried currants over the fresh.


The next issue was the cheese. I used cheddar cheese in this pie. I used CHEDDAR CHEESE. I couldn’t believe it either, but when you eliminate everything else, cheddar really is the only cheese that makes sense. It calls for a cheese you can grate, which eliminates cottage cheese, cream cheese and farmer’s cheese.  I suppose if you found a dry enough farmer’s cheese you could grate it, but most of the time the drier farmer’s cheese just crumbles.

I sent Poppy an email, pleading with her, hoping that she would give me an alternative, but she came back with cheddar as well. It really is the only cheese that you can grate that would make even the smallest bit of sense in a pie.

Another issue: 1/2 nutmeg? So, half of a whole nutmeg pod? I assumed it was a misprint, and only added 1/2 a tsp.


For the rich crust, I took a page out of my copy of My New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, and used their recipe for Rich Biscuit Dough and modified it into pie form. I ended up adding 2 T of sugar, subbing butter for half of the shortening and adding an egg yolk.


Behold! Cheese pie!!!

This pie behaved a lot like pumpkin pie in the oven, and the 45 mins they recommented wasn’t nearly long enough baking time. Mine ended up taking about an hour and 15 minutes.

Enter Tom.

“Oh, god. Is this that pie thing again?”


“What kind did we get this time.”

“Cheddar cheese.”

“I hate all of you.”



“How is it.”

“Meh. Not awful. It doesn’t taste like cheddar cheese at all.”

The Verdict: Not Awful

From The Tasting Notes –

Thankfully, this did NOT taste like cheddar cheese. It tasted…strange and sweet and a lot like fig newtons in pie form. It wasn’t bad at all, but wasn’t something I would consider delicious. It actually resembled a quiche in texture, but sweet. The crust ended up being just fine, for something I made up.

Thanks, Poppy, for this recipe! It was really fun playing kitchen detective this week and trying to piece this recipe together!

Make sure you check out what everyone else made for the Pieathalon!

Yinzerella Dinner is Served 1972 made Melton Mowbry Pie from Vincent Price!

The Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en Web Series made Swiss Pie With Hot Dogs

Saucy Cherie at made Prune Whip Pie!

Dr. Bobb of Dr. Bobb’s Kitschen made Mincey Peach Pie!

Ashley at A Pinch of Vintage made my submission: Pecan Pie (Pssst…there is ketchup in it!)

Bittersweet Susie made Blueberry Cream Pie!

Battenburgbelle made French Onion Pie.

Kelli from Kelli’s Kitchen made a White Christmas Pie!

Erica Retrochef from Retro Recipe Attempts made Steak and Mushroom Pie!

Taryn from Retro Food For Modern Times made Belgian Onion Pie

Jenny of Silver Screen Suppers made Magic Cream Pie!

Clara at Heritage Recipe Box made Cottage Cheese Apple Pie

Poppy of Grannie Pantries made Brandy Alexander Pie

S. of A Book of Cookrye made TWO pies! Rhubarb Raisin and Strawberry.

Sarah of Directionally Challenged made Peach Almond Fiesta Pie

Yesterday’s Menus made Pasta Cheese Pie

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I love everything retro, vintage, mid-century, kitsch and all things atomic! A 21st century housewife just trying to fit the 50's. I have a passion for vintage recipes and an enormous vintage cookbook collection that I keep testing, even though by now I should know better. Creator of Mid-Century Menu (, No Pattern Required (, and I Ate The 80's (

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21 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Poppy June 8, 2015 at 8:06 am - Reply

    I’m glad you figured this one out. I love the line “As far as vintage recipes go, this one pretty much has it all. Obscure ingredient, weird ingredient, missing recipe, and best guesses.” You perfectly summed up exactly why I picked this recipe! You also have the right attitude for this recipe. It’s good you were up for the challenge, and I enjoyed consulting over it.

  2. Kelli Davidson June 8, 2015 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Given the number of recipes I make in this house, “not awful” is often a ringing endorsement here! It honestly looks pretty good. It’s possible if you soak the currants in rum before using (I always do that) your consumers will be drunk before the pie is eaten and they will tell you how much they LOVE it! 🙂

    • dkzody June 9, 2015 at 8:57 pm - Reply

      My husband and I laughed at the “not awful” comment as that is often our final verdict when I try something new. Then my husband will say, “you don’t need to make this again.”

  3. Heather June 8, 2015 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    This was “thoroly” entertaining (did they do any editing?!)

  4. Yinzerella June 8, 2015 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Currants are rather obscure, no?
    Bravo just for finding those.
    The end result sounds…weird.
    Glad you could join in this year!!!
    Knoxapocalypse later this summer…?

    • dkzody June 9, 2015 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      I have 2 bags of zante currents in my cupboard right now. They are made with very tiny grapes grown here in the San Joaquin Valley.

  5. Old & Grumpy June 8, 2015 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    Bet ya that The cheese was HOOP cheese. Hard to find now.

    Granny J would make cheese Kolache .and blueberry kolache (sp?). Hoop cheese bakes very well . Made with hoop cheese Tom would rate this pie NUMMY! More on this latter Got to run.

  6. Kelly June 8, 2015 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Looks delicious, anyway. Glad to hear it wasn’t awful!

  7. S. S. June 8, 2015 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    How did that end up tasting like fig Newtons?

  8. susie June 8, 2015 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    YESSSSSS I love your blog! Man cheese and nutmeg is usually delish (I use it in mac n cheese) But currents? BLEHHHHH

  9. Mark. June 10, 2015 at 1:29 am - Reply

    I think I could stand this using a very mild cheddar or maybe Colby or Monterey Jack. When I was a lad in Illinois, Zante currants (raisins from small dark grapes) were readily available but now everywhere I’ve lived recently they’re rare except sometimes around Christmas — might be a regional thing. Fresh not-grape currants never seem to be used in baking, or rarely…

  10. Old&Grumpy June 10, 2015 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    The recipe says to mix ingredients.The photo looks like you put the mix on top of the Currants not mixing them in. I like that.

    Some of the dryer white Mexican cheeses bake very well and would taste better than cheddar or jack although they will crumble not shred well. And in So Cal would still be mid century!

    The hoop cheese is a very good baking cheese. If I remember right it would come out a little more stiff than cheese cake in this mix. Granny J used it in filling for turn over type stuff.

  11. Old&Grumpy June 10, 2015 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    Ya i’m back. The first time I read this with “cheddar” I had a bad flashback to the smell of the grade school cafeteria on “Grilled Cheese” day! Sorry I’m out.

  12. Silver Screen Suppers June 18, 2015 at 9:00 am - Reply

    mmm – cheese pie YES. With currants? Hmm – no!

    At LAST though, an ingredient that is in plentiful supply in the UK turns out to be hard to find overseas. It’s usually me trying to find American/Canadian ingredients (hominy, graham crackers, onion juice, etc.) with no luck… So I am sorry that your pie had currants in it, but I thanks for revealing something new about the variations in food ability overseas!

    Jenny x

  13. Melissa Kelley September 13, 2016 at 11:59 am - Reply

    I think a hard gouda would work – and be delicious! Especially the salty kind with the crystals.

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