Texas Fruitcake



As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 279)… [A rewrite of her famous, self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]*

Legend has it that Puddin’ Hill has the best-darn fruitcake west of the Mississippi – and the recipe for it is a secret that has been closely guarded by a lady named Mary, and her family – who’ve made it, not just a tradition, but a reason for celebrating!


1 pound each: walnuts and dates

10-ounce package currants

20-ounce can pineapple chunks

2 jars (10-ounces each) red maraschino cherry

2 cups sugar, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour

6 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½ cups sugar

¼ pound (one stick) butter or margarine

1 teaspoon each: baking powder, salt, grated orange rind and lemon rind

½ teaspoon each: nutmeg and cinnamon

2 ounces brandy flavoring, or real brandy

1 cup all-purpose flour


Break up walnuts with hammer. Slice dates into 4 pieces each. Mix these with currants and set aside. Put pineapple and its juice with 1 cup of the sugar in a small sauce pan. In another small sauce pan, combine cherries with their juice and the other cup of sugar.

Let both pans simmer briskly, uncovered, about 30 minutes. Reserving the syrups, drain each. Set fruits aside to cool, spreading them out over lightly-oiled cookie sheets. Place cookie sheets of fruit in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes.

Remove [cookie sheets] to cool for 15 minutes. Combine [fruit] with the first cup of flour and walnut mixture in roasting pan. Coat every single dry particle of it with the flour.

Then beat remaining ingredients, as listed, with electric mix er on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.

Pack mixture evenly into bottom of 2 Pam-sprayed, 8-inch, square Pyrex baking dishes that have 2 layers of wax paper on bottom only.

Place dishes on cookie sheets to bake at 275°F for almost 2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center of each comes out clean.

Cool [cakes]. Cut each into 2 equal loaf-like pieces. Wrap each in a brandy-soaked cloth and then in plastic bags. Store at room temperature for 30 days to “ripen” before serving.

If you [want to] use the cakes right away, you can take the reserved syrup from the pineapple and cherries, which you set aside earlier, and combine them in a small sauce pan, until piping hot.

Remove from heat and measure the syrup. Add half as much whiskey, rum or brandy and brush the warm syrup over the cake-loaves before slicing to serve. Freezes well up to a year.

Makes 4 loaves (4 x 8” each). If prepared 30 days before serving, soak and re-soak cloth in liquor during that time, keeping them just dampened. Sealing cakes in air-tight containers – after wrapping in the cloths and in the plastic bags to keep them moist.



*Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Sweet Summertime

Saturday Bread Dough & West Virginia Bread


Both, by Gloria Pitzer

[*As seen in… Eating Out At Home Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1981, 12th Printing, p. 24).]

Grandma and the five girls were up at 4 AM to begin the baking each Saturday. Here is her bread recipe in her own words – with two exceptions. I used water and dry milk powder in place of her “rich top milk” and corn oil in place of her “melted suet”. There is a certain charm and her recipe language from a time will never see again – that I thought you’d enjoy sharing with me.


Fill your two-gallon cooker with 1-qt warm tap water. Add ½ cup dry milk powder, 1 TB salt, 1½ cups sugar, 2/3 cup corn oil, and 2 beaten eggs. Take 3 cakes of yeast (not dry packaged) and dissolve in enough warm tap water in small soup bowl to give the thickness of gravy.

Add to liquid ingredients and then begin adding almost all of a 5-pound bag of flour to those liquid ingredients, until most of the flour has been folded easily into a thick batter. It will be sticky. It should be! You cannot knead this dough and don’t have to.

Divide batter into two large (ungreased) mixing bowls, as wide as a beach ball, so they’re half full and let dough rise twice until doubled in bulk, punching down each time.

Then divide dough into six buttered bread tins (about 9-inch long), lightly flouring fingers to keep dough from sticking to your hands. Let rise about an hour or until doubled.

Bake nearly an hour and a moderate oven (about 375°F today). Remove bread from pans immediately and let each loaf cool on its side.

Prick crusts with fork and butter each to keep them moist. Wrap in butcher’s paper and tie with string. (Today, wrap in plastic food storage bags or waxed paper.) Do not slice bread for at least four hours after baking. Then freeze it up to one year. Makes six loaves.


Divide the “Saturday Bread Dough” (above) equally between 12 round 9-inch layer cake pans that have been well-buttered. Dough should fill each half full. Let rise until doubled. Sprinkle top of each with white sugar (granulated – about 1 TB per loaf).

When doubled in bulk, bake two or three tins at a time in moderate oven (375°F) for half an hour or little more until golden brown. Remove from tins immediately. Cool a bit and wrap each in butcher’s paper and tie with string. (Today, wrap in plastic food bags or waxed paper.) Cut into pie shaped wedges while it’s still warm to serve with butter and preserves.

Makes 12 thin loaves. Freeze up to one year.

**Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Backdoor Bakery

My Mother’s Perfect Pie Crust


By Gloria Pitzer

*As seen in her self-published book… The Copycat Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1996, 12th printing; p. 73)


2 cups flour

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

¼-lb chilled butter, broken into bits

5 TB Crisco

About 5 TB cold tap water (added as directed below)


Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a roomy bowl. Work in the butter and Crisco using pastry blender or two forks. When mixture resembles gravel, and is even in texture, take the bowl to the sink where you will actually drizzle just enough cold tap water around the edge of the bowl, turning it as the water is added, to make one complete rotation – which equals about 5 TB of water.

Quickly mix it only until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Shape into ball and cover the bowl. Refrigerate it for about an hour (or up to three days if you don’t have time to use it right away).

This rebuilds the shortening particles so that during baking they will break down and distribute evenly with the flour. The sugar also creates the little pockets that create flakes in the layers of pastry once it has been baked.

After dough has chilled, spread a pastry cloth out on a flat working surface. Use a rolling pin cover over your rolling pin, as well. Sprinkle some flour into the center of the cloth and smooth it over the surface. Also rub some flour into the cover on the rolling pin.

Work quickly, rolling out the dough to about a 12-inch circle. Invert a greased 10-inch pie pan or Pyrex pie plate onto the circle. Trim away the dough, with a sharp knife, 1 inch from rim of inverted pie pan.

Set the pie pan right side up and fold the circle of dough in half. Lift it carefully to fit into half of that pipe, carefully unfolding the dough was so that it fits evenly, without much handling!


Ease the dough into place in the pie pan. Crimp the rim. Prick the crust with the tines of a fork in about 20 or 30 places. Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and fill with a no-bake type filling.

Makes two10-inch pie shells or one double crust 10-inch pie.


Gather up scraps from dough after fitting bottom crust into place. Roll out again to 10-inch circle. Add filling to unbaked bottom crust. Fold the second circle of dough in half and placed carefully overfilling, unfolding the dough to ease it into place.

Seal rim and cut slits in top crust for steam to escape. Wipe the top crust evenly with Half-and-Half or butter. Bake the pipe per directions for the filling you were using.

THE HOTTER THE OVEN, the more your pie shell will shrink! For best results – and never mind what the other cookbooks tell you – bake a double crust pie at 375°F, until crust is golden brown and the filling begins to bubble up through the slits in the top. This takes about 45 to 55 minutes, depending on the type of fruit you will be using.

**See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Heirlooms

Strawberry Freezer Jam


By Gloria Pitzer

Please, don’t ask me to use pectin if I don’t have to! Give me the simple life – even in the kitchen. I found that there is enough natural pectin in rhubarb that you really don’t have to use the powdered or liquid pectin to equal a very dignified jam product.

Somehow, the rhubarb loses its own identity when combined with other fruits and takes on the flavor of the fruit you mix it with. The jelling is done with boxed, fruit-flavored gelatin – the same kind that Dennis Day sang about when he opened the Jack Benny Radio Show on Sunday nights, ages ago!

Do you remember Dennis? He was a gorgeous tenor who could sing the birds out of the trees. At home, he had a marvelous family. Their son, Tom, was in school at the Art Center in Pasadena with our son, Mike.

When Mike was describing the McNulty home to us (that’s Dennis’ real last name), he said their house was so big and they had so many kids, that one of their daughters moved out and it was 2 weeks before anyone in the family even noticed!


4 cups sugar

4 cups diced rhubarb (fresh or frozen)

1 cup sliced strawberries

one 6-ounce box (or two 3-ounce boxes) strawberry gelatin


In a 1 ½-quart sauce pan, combine sugar and rhubarb, stirring over medium heat to draw liquid without adding any additional liquid to it. Increase the heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Stir constantly for 8 to 10 minutes or until a “sauce-like” consistency forms.

Add strawberries. Continue cooking and stirring about 5 minutes. Remove 1 cup of the liquid from the mixture. Add gelatin to this liquid, stirring until dissolved.

Return this into the original rhubarb mixture and remove pan from heat at once. Stir to blend well.

Cool to lukewarm and divide jam between eight 1-cup-sized freezer containers, allowing a ½-inch headspace. Apply lids to the containers, sealing the lids well with masking tape. Date them to be used within 6 months. Makes 8 cups.

*As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 184). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]



**See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Heirlooms

Strawberry Pie, Like Big Boy’s


By Gloria Pitzer


1 small box strawberry Jell-O [mix]

1 cup boiling water

½ cup strawberry jam

½ cup cold water

4 TB cornstarch

1-qt whole strawberries

9-inch baked pie shell

[Whipped cream and additional whole strawberries for garnish]


Dissolve Jell-O powder in the boiling water. Over low heat, add the jam and blend well. In a blender, combine cold water and cornstarch. Pour this mixture into the Jell-O mixture until thick and clear. Cool to lukewarm and spoon 1/3 into baked pie shell.

Arrange strawberries, widest ends down, side-by-side, snugly in bottom of pie shell. Spoon rest of Jell-O mixture evenly over the berries. Chill several hours or overnight, until firm enough to cut. Garnish with whipped cream and whole strawberries. Makes 8 slices.

[*As seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 7).]

[**Seen, similarly, in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 241). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]



Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Heirlooms

Kentucky Biscuits


By Gloria Pitzer […as she prepared on ABC’s “Home” show – February 1988]


1 – 1½  cup(s) Bisquick

1 rounded tablespoon sour cream

¼ cup club soda

½ tsp sugar


Mix [everything] together, until a smooth dough forms. Dip your hand into just enough more Bisquick, so you can knead the dough in the bowl, until [it’s like] elastic.

Shape dough into 6 patties, equal in size and thickness. Place close together on a greased, 8-inch round, baking pan. Bake at 450°F for about 14-16  minutes or until golden and almost tripled in size. Makes 6 beautiful biscuits!

Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Fortunate

Betsy Ross’ Custardy Cornbread

BETSY ROSS’ CUSTARDY CORNBREAD (from the bi-centennial days)

By Gloria Pitzer (1976)


¾ cup white cornmeal

¼ cup flour

2 TB sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 2/3 cups milk

1 egg, beaten

2 TB butter


[Pre-heat oven to 400°F.] Sift the first five ingredients, as listed, together [and set aside]. Combine 1 cup of the milk with the beaten egg. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix well to dampen all of it.

Melt butter in an 8-inch-square pan, in a 400°F oven. Pour batter into melted butter, in pan.

[As seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 7).

See also…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Fortunate

Cup-Of-Thoup Powder


Before we go much further, I want to give you a… recipe… that can be used in place of commercial food products that may not be available to you in your area. When Paul & I were publishing my monthly Secret Recipes Report, our subscribers in Europe and Australia and some remote places in Alaska, were grateful they could make their own substitutions for ingredients they couldn’t buy.

Lipton’s Tomato Cup-A-Soup was one product that seemed to be difficult to come by [and has, since, been discontinued by Lipton.] Although I couldn’t pulverize my mixture into a silky, fine powder like the commercial product; I could do a good job with a blender and a mixture that, once baked and broken into pieces like crisp cookies, did yield a very good likeness to the original soup powder.

CUP-OF-THOUP POWDER* – Tomato Flavor



6-ounce can tomato paste

½ cup each: cornstarch and Creamora creamer powder

2 tablespoons season salt

1 cup finely powdered Saltine crackers

1 teaspoon bottled, finely grated lemon peel


Mix all the ingredients together well, using a fork, until it’s the consistency of hamburger. It will look just like ground beef when you’ve finished combining it properly.

Line a cookie sheet in brown wrapping paper; or, cut up a paper grocery bag to fit, having the inside facing up. Spread out mixture on paper so that no single piece is larger than a blueberry.

Place cookie sheet on oven rack 4” from the bottom of the oven, baking slowly at 200°F for about 1 ½ – 2 hours, or until completely dry. Do not let the mixture brown.

[NOTE: If the least little bit of browning develops before the mixture is completely dry, reduce heat to 150°F, or turn it off altogether for a while and back on again in 10 or 15 minutes.]

When completely dried, put the mixture through your blender until finely powdered, using an on/off speed on high.

The powdered mixture should be stored in a covered container at room temperature; where it will keep for several months, if away from direct heat or humidity and out of direct sunlight.

Allow 1/4-cup of homemade soup powder for 1 envelope of the commercial kind.

TO USE THE SOUP POWDER: To prepare a cup of soup with the homemade powder, mix 1/4-cup of soup powder with 7 or 8 ounces of boiling water, stirring well until it’s dissolved. You can add more powder if you like the soup thicker or add more water if you want it thinner.

*As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 18). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]



**Also see…


Wind Shooter’s Bar Cheese


BY GLORIA PITZER – first printed in her self-published “National Homemaker’s Newsletter” (August 1976)*

A national snack favorite… There are many derivations of this most popular Michigan specialty. The 1st recipe I developed to imitate Win Schuler’s product, required several more ingredients than I really wanted to work with. But the result was perfect! Eventually, I experimented in my Secret Recipes kitchen to streamline the ingredients down to only a few. Each version has its rightful place among the “Haute Cuisine” of fast foods and appreciable snacks. It depends on your personal taste preferences, which recipe to use.



1-pound Velveeta cheese (do not substitute on brand)

½ pound unsalted butter – at room temperature

2 tablespoons onion juice – bottled

(or use freshly-grated onion, put through blender to purée and diluted with equal parts water)

1/8 teaspoon Tabasco, hot pepper sauce

8-ounce package cream cheese, mashed with a fork

5-ounce bottle horseradish

a few drops each – red and yellow food coloring, sufficient to give a bright orange tint (optional)

¼ cup melted and strained bacon drippings


Place all ingredients, just as listed, in top of a double boiler over simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. The mixture will appear to be coarse in texture.

For best results, put it through the blender on high-speed, using an on/off agitation, for 2 or 3 minutes until satiny smooth.

Refrigerate up to 4 or 5 weeks. Freezes well up to 6 months. Makes about 1 quart.

*Also seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 257). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]











Also see…