Saturday, May 29, 2010

Grandmother's Recipe File: Zebra Pies

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a printable zebra pie recipe.

It seems that everyone who cooks has recipes from a grandmother. Of my two grandmothers, Mimi and Mema, one is a cook and one is not.

We grew up going to Mimi's house for Sunday dinner each and every week. It makes my mouth water to think about it! We always had something delicious and southern: roast, fried chicken, pork chops, green beans, peas, butter beans, greens, creamed corn, cornbread dressing, veg-all casserole, pear salad (pear halves with mayo and grated cheese in the hole -- I never liked it!), congealed salad, frozen fruit salad, homemade biscuits, cornbread... the list goes on. Oh -- and chicken pie! The kind with whole eggs inside and lattice on top! I LOVE chicken pie. And creamed corn! And macaroni and cheese! Okay, I'll just admit it; I love it all.

I still use my Mimi's recipe when I make macaroni and cheese. Well, she never really had recipes so much, but I learned how to make it by dumping just the right amount of each ingredient in the bowl. Mimi taught me how to make biscuits the same way, and my mom taught me how to make cornbread dressing and chicken pie the way she learned it -- pour/dump and see/taste!

Then there's Mema. I think Mema cooks two things: cottage cheese pancakes and zebra pies. But, when we spent the night at her house, food wasn't what was important! We were too busy playing! You name it, we did it at Mema's. She took us (and friends) all over -- to the movies, skating, or bowling. She had one of those station wagons where we could sit in the back facing backwards. On the way to our destination we always played the Guess What Time We're Going To Be There game -- to the minute! The winner just won, and that was enough for us. We also knew every single word to a patriotic piano medley she used to play. It was really long, but we sang it over and over -- and loved it! I sure wish I could find a copy of it because she can't find it now! At her house we played games and rode bikes all over the neighborhood. Mema was also the hostess of the New Year's Eve party every year. (It wasn't really a party. Think two 10 year old cousins and maybe a friend sitting in bean bag chairs in front of the tv, staying up past midnight drinking sparkling cider. We did it many years though!) As for food, we did have a blast every morning making balloon, bicycle, dog, and letter pancakes! And dots. One of my favorite things was to dribble the batter in the pan to make pancake dots!

I don't know where Mema got the zebra pies idea, but the dessert must be quite old. Several Amazon reviews of the Famous Chocolate Wafers used in the zebra pie recipe mention grandmothers making similar desserts with them even long ago. Pretty neat!

I made Mema's zebra pies the other night. They are easy and delicious, so I thought I'd share them! They are also a perfect treat for kids!

First, whip some heavy whipping cream until it starts to thicken.

Add sugar to taste. For a quart of whipped cream, I used about 2/3 cup.

Continue to beat until soft peaks form. Be careful not to over beat because it won't spread well.

For zebra pies, the whipping cream goes in between chocolate cookies called Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers. These are available at good grocery stores -- the kind that we don't have within a 50 mile radius. I had to ask for all sorts of favors to get these. Of course I didn't plan ahead, and when I got my mind set on making them, there was no other choice!

Put a layer of the cookies down in a dish that you can cover.

Put about 1 tablespoon of whipped cream on each cookie. I used a Pampered Chef small scoop, and it worked nicely. I dipped it in a cup of water every so often so the whipped cream would come out easily.

Gently press another cookie over each dollop of whipped cream until the whipped cream spreads out evenly between the cookies but doesn't squish out the sides.

Repeat dolloping. 

Repeat cookie pressing. (Oops. Forgot to take a picture! At this point Blair had covered the kitchen floor with hand towels, cooking utensils, toys, and cook books.)

Repeat dolloping a third time, and spread the whipped cream out with a spoon to make a pretty top.

Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight (or at least 6-8 hours). They're ready when they cookies are nice and soft, and the whipped cream doesn't squish out when you bite them.

A quart of whipped cream and four boxes of cookies made about 50 pies.

This dessert is so easy but is sure to be a family favorite for you too! Click here for a printable version!


Bonnie said...

Yum! Ashley, my mom used to make those when I was little and they are DELICIOUS!! I think I'll make them one day - of course, I will have to drive 50 miles to find the chocolate wafers too! Thanks for the idea!!

Unknown said...

Mimi was always a good cook and could whip up anything at a moments notice. Beau and I spent the night one time visiting Vaughn. She whipped us up some cornbread and homemade soup in a manner of minutes!! I think she learned from Grandmama L!

Molly @ View From a Saddle said...

ah, you forgot the cinnamon apples! those were my favorite! :)

Don't let mom fool you if you didn't know, I went to the 'Krogers' and got those cookies for you! ;)