A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 03, 2009
Chiffon Pie

Entry in progress—B.P.

Epicurious.com" Food Dictionary
chiffon
[shih-FAHN]
An airy, fluffy mixture, usually a filling for pie. The lightness is achieved with stiffly beaten egg whites and sometimes gelatin.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Main Entry: 1chif·fon
Pronunciation: \shi-ˈfän, ˈshi-ˌ\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, literally, rag, from chiffe old rag, alteration of Middle French chipe, from Middle English chip chip
Date: 1765
1 : an ornamental addition (as a knot of ribbons) to a woman’s dress
2 : a sheer fabric especially of silk

(Oxford English Dictionary)
chiffon pie, a baked pie-shell with a light-textured filling, containing beaten egg whites or a gelatine mixture, flavoured with fruit, etc.
1929 Fashions in Foods (Beverly Hills Women’s Club) 155 Chiffon pumpkin pie.
1931 I. S. ROMBAUER Joy of Cooking (1936) 363 Lemon chiffon pie. Ibid. 364 Gelatine chiffon cream pies.
1937 America’s Cook Book 653 Lemon Chiffon Pie, Gelatin..water..eggs..sugar..salt..grated lemon rind..lemon juice..pastry..shell..cream.
1946 H. CROOME Faithless Mirror iii. 36 She had cleared away the chicken and brought in a lemon chiffon pie.
1958 Woman 4 Oct. 23/1 What about Butterscotch Chiffon Pie?.. You can serve it, like cake, with coffee or as a dinner sweet.
1960 Guardian 10 Nov. 9/6 Pineapple chiffon pie.

8 January 1921, Emporia (KS) Daily Gazette section 1, pg. 2, col. 1:
They have petitioned especially for butterscotch pie, and are sore on the chiffon pie that has been substituted for it since the old cook left the tea room.

Google Books
Castelar Crèche Cook Book
Edited and compiled by the Board of Directors
For the Benefit of The Castelar Crèche, A Home for Homeless Babies
Los Angeles, CA: Times-Mirror Printing and Binding House
1922
Pg. 156:
LEMON CHIFFON PIE FILLING
Rind and juice 1 lemon, 5 tablespoons water; let come to boil; 3 eggs, 8 tablespoons sugar. Separate the eggs, add 3 tablespoons sugar to whites, beat to stiff froth. Add 5 tablespoons sugar to yolks, and beat. Add beaten yolks to juice and water; stir constantly in double boiler until thick; remove and add whites. Pour into cooked crusts and bake until brown. Be careful to mix as directed.—Mirism De Lisser.

17 March 1922, Logansport (IN) Press, pg. 5, col. 7:
Chiffon pie is a delicious (Illegible—ed.). Line a pie plate with pastry and bake it for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the juice and grated rind of one orange with the juice and grated rind of one lemon and five tablespoons of water. Place in the top of a double boiler and bring to the boiling point. Beat the yolks of three eggs, add five-eighths a cupful of sugar, and pour the hot liquid over this gradually, stirring constantly. Return to the double-boiler and cook ten minutes or until thick. Remove from the fire and allow to cool. Beat three egg-whites until stiff, add two tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar, and fold into the cooled mixture. Pour into the pastry shell and bake for 25 minutes.

18 March 1922, Idaho Statesman pg. 10 ad:
Chiffon Pie.
(On a luncheon menu—ed.)

15 March 1923, Syracuse (NY) Herald, pg. 16, col. 2:
Miss Edith Ver Planck, Clay, “Chiffon Pie.”

10 July 1925, San Antonio (TX) Light, pg. 22, col. 2:
“CHIFFON” PIE WINS
PRIZE IN AMATEUR
COOKING CONTEST

CHIFFON PIE.
(Won second prize in a contest for amateur men cooks recently held by a Seattle newspaper.)
CRUST.
1 1-2 cupfuls pastry flour.
1-3 cupful shortening.
1-2 teaspoonful salt.
3 to 4 tablespoonfuls water.
FILLING.
1 orange and 1 lemon.
3 tablespoonfuls water.
3 eggs.
5-8 cupful sugar.
Sift together flour, salt, work in shortening, using enough water to make stiff dough. Roll out, line pie plate with pastry and bake in very hot oven twelve minutes. Add juice, grated rind of orange, lemon, place in double boiler, bring to boiling point. Beat egg yolks until light, add sugar, beat thoroughly. Stir in hot liquid, cook in double boiler until thick. Cool. Cover with meringue. Brown in oven.

Famous Recipes By Famous Women
El Paso Section
Council of Jewish Juniors
El Paso, Texas
1928
Pg. 25, Col. 2:
LEMON CHIFFON PIE
yolks of 3 eggs
3 tbls. boiling water
3 tbls. sugar
lemon, grated rind and juice

Beat yolks thoroughly, add water, then sugar, and lemon.  Cook in double boiler until thick, set aside to cool.  Beat whites of eggs until stiff, whip in sugar and cut into the cooled lemon mixture with a fork. Spread this mixture in a baked pastry crust set in the oven and brown slightly.
Mrs. Edmund Klein

Time magazine
Caterers’ Capers
Monday, Aug. 30, 1937
(...)
Pieman. Biggest audience of all was attracted by the one speaker who was paid to appear, a redhaired, modest young man named Monroe “‘Boston’’ Strause, the current sensation of the pastry world. Son of a Los Angeles flour miller named Boston Monroe Strause, he uses his middle name as a kind of trademark. First in partnership with his Uncle Mike in the M. & M. Pie Co. of Los Angeles, “Boston” carried on when Mike quit. A friendly restaurateur helped him design cylindrical aluminum carrying racks for his pies, mahogany-trimmed pie trucks. “They were simply beautiful,” Pieman Strause remembers, “just like Pullman cars.”

Just “fooling around,” Pieman Strause one day invented chiffon pie. This and his beautiful pie trucks soon made him famed all along the West Coast. In 1924, when he was 23, he sold his business for $48,000 to two New Yorkers and became a pie consultant in Los Angeles. He now has an office in Manhattan and 38 permanent clients, ranging from a New York bakery which pays him $6,000 a year for three visits of at least three days each to smaller bakeries which pay $300 a year. Married to a pretty girl who has never baked a pie, “Boston” Strause lives in hotels, annoys his wife by ordering pie and taking it apart instead of eating it. He writes regular columns for Bakers Weekly, American Restaurant Magazine, International Stewards’ and Caterers’ Magazine. Between his rare flights of genius he settles down to adaptations, claims he can make 150 kinds of pie from cherries alone.

For the caterers last week ‘“Boston" Strause, aided by six assistants and a blackboard, demonstrated a method of making fresh apple pie by draining off the apple juice and sugar through a colander and pouring it back into the pie through holes in the crust while baking. He did not demonstrate his fresh strawberry pie, which he says “has never been revealed to the housewife.” Recipe: use frozen fresh strawberries, freeze again immediately after cooking. The strawberries remain whole.
* “Sizzling platters” are made of an aluminum alloy. The hotter they are kept before being used the longer and more madly they will sizzle on contact with melted butter.

15 May 1939, New York (NY) Herald Tribune, pg. 8, col. 6:
Its Inventor Tells How to Make a Chiffon Pie
Reveals Secrets of Crust
and Filling and Offers 6
Recipes for Home Bakers

By Clementine Paddleford
It was a red-headed, modest boy named Monroe Boston Strause, of Los Angeles, who originated America’s chiffon pies back in 1921. It was purely a crazy idea at that time, yet today chiffon pie is known to people in every walk of life and is the most talked of and highly published of all pies. Monroe Boston Strause is now America’s No. 1 pie doctor, retained as a consultant by forty-eight bakeries in every part of the United States.

He travels by air, dropping into client plants for observation—tasting, testing and demonstrating periodically. The “pie doctor” also supplies 108 bakeries with consultations by mail. Pie ailments are his specialties. He lectures, too, before groups of housewives and at schools of home economics, revealing baker’s secrets practical for home use. He writes regular columns for four trade publications and has just published a book called “Pie Marches On.”

OVERDOES—His spectacular pie career amuses and amazes this friendly young man in his late thirties. He was the son of a farmer, reared on a California sugar beet ranch. He had no knack or interest then for cooking, but he had a good appetite. The dish he liked best was served at a neighbor’s table on the next farm. This neighbor family from Texas liked hot cornstarch pudding over hot biscuits. Monroe couldn’t get enough of it until one day he got too much. That overeating proved a trifle which changed his destiny.

PIE TINKERER—At sixteen, with a little money saved, Monroe went into a partnership with his uncle Mike, a Los Angeles baker. It wasn’t much of a bakery—not yet! Cream pies were the stock in trade—butterscotch, chocolate, banana cream. Monroe hated the very looks of these pies, for they reminded him of cornstarch pudding and they tasted much the same.

Every spare moment the lad tinkered with pie fillings, set on their improvement. One day he got hold of a cookbook with a recipe for French cream, typical of the filling French chefs used in eclairs. Not a new idea, but new commercially.  In this the egg whites were beaten, then a boiled sugar syrup added as for meringues and the cornstarch filling folded in. Monroe tried using the recipe for pie, by adding more egg whites, but the hot syrup toughened them.  Next he beat up the whites and left the sugar out. A light spongy filling this time, but soft.  By increasing the egg whites to four times the number used in the original French cream formula, a light filling resulted that stood up like a soldier on parade.

“Like chiffon,” Monroe’s mother said, surveying his creation—and that became its name. In a pie shell the chiffon filling was peaked high. e baker rounded it off dome fashion, making a pie high in the middle, a change in pie design.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Sunday, May 03, 2009 • Permalink