This recipe is old and was probably from the second half of the 19th century. It is made from condensed milk like the original key lime pie. Bordon first marketed condensed milk in 1856 and cooks started using it in their baking. There was no refrigeration to keep milk. It was convenient to keep on hand plus it was sweeten. The lemon juice is important because the acid in the juice helps cook the eggs in the pie so don’t leave that out. The pie is topped with meringue to use up the egg whites.
Our great grandmothers used what was available to make wonderful dishes for their families. Applesauce was a winter time treat when other fruit was no longer available. Apples could be stored in a root cellar for a couple of months and also dried to use in the winter. Originally this pie was probably made with a standard pie shell. Today we have pre made graham cracker crusts that make it fast and easy. Because of the railroad lemons and oranges were available during the winter. It was a real treat to receive citrus during Christmas holidays.
Today this recipe is often seen as mock cheese cake. It became popular during WWII when sugar was rationed. Sweetened condensed milk was still available because of young children. The texture is very similar to cheesecake. The recipe is doubled and baked in a 9 inch springform pan like a cheese cake. It’s flavor is apple and not that close to the taste like cheese cake.
I was surprised as how tasty this pie turned out. It is light and a wonderful apple flavor. I premade a pie shell and blind baked it for 25 minutes. This was so the bottom of the pie would not be soggy. It is a great old fashion pie.
Applesauce Cream Pie
- 1 graham crust pie shell
- 1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)
- 2 large eggs separated room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 4 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl combine applesauce, sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice with zest. Pour into prepared pie shell. Bake for 40 minutes,
In a electric mixer beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until thick and bubbles form on the edges. Add cream of tartar and slowly add sugar one tablespoons at a time. Beat until glossy and form peaks. Add to top of hot pie filling. Return to oven and bake until meringue is light brown about -20 minutes.
Chill before cutting and serving.
I have done a series of cream pies mostly from heirloom recipes that I have collected over the decades. My local Walmart has been selling eggs and milk at very low prices. This has led to rediscovering old recipes that I have collected over the decades to take advantage of the savings that have turned out to be really good.
Pineapple cream cheese pie:
Lemon cream pie with meringue:
Key lime pie with meringue:
Coconut custard pie without pasty shell: