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Ice Box Pies developed as ice boxes entered homes

Ice Box Pies developed as ice boxes entered homes

Looking around my kitchen I see many appliances on my counter tops which I use. There are also ones not used so much in the cabinet. Some have been around for many years, yet others not so many. Those of us who cook or bake seem to acquire these items.

One item that made a huge difference in people’s lives which may be found in about every kitchen is the refrigerator. Today there are many variations among them. That was not always true.

Early in 1802, a farmer and cabinet maker, Thomas Moore, came up with the idea of placing cartons of butter he sold at a Georgetown market in a container containing ice. This kept the butter firm. He went on to develop wooden chests with a shelf to hold a large block of ice on a tray. Ice was delivered by the ice man. Attention had to be paid to the melted ice water tray so it would not overflow. Foods were then able to be placed inside the chest on other shelves and kept cool.

The ice box also provided another opportunity to develop other types of dessert which was cooler to make during hot weather. Among them were ice box pies. These pies require no cooking or very little baking.

In 1927, General Electric introduced a refrigerator, the Monitor Top, which used electricity as that was becoming more common in homes. In 1935 ice boxes were being replaced because of U. S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs – one of which was providing electricity to areas and people.

The ice box has departed from our kitchens, yet many varieties of Ice Box Pie recipes remain. Many recipes for them are now available on the screen of a computer monitor which was not available in homes during the 1930s!

Ice box desserts are quick to make and do not need the use of an oven, except perhaps to bake a crust. The crust may consist of graham cracker crumbs, cookie or cracker crumbs, a regular pie crust or a meringue base. Theses are usually combined with butter and sugar then pressed onto the bottom and sides of a spring form pan, pie plate, or other container. The crusts may be home-made or purchased. The other pie ingredients are not baked. When completed the pie is placed in the refrigerator to firm up.

Many of the recipes are composed of a base of sweetened condensed milk or pudding, cream cheese, various fruits or berries, ice cream, or a whipped topping. An example of a quick recipe uses one 9” chilled crumb pie crust; one 15 ounce can sweetened condensed milk; one 6 ounce can frozen lemonade, and one 9 ounce container of whipped topping. Mix all and place into the prepared crust. Refrigerate. To serve, top with whipped topping, if desired. When firm without the whipped topping, the pie may be wrapped in plastic wrap. Inserting several clean, unused golf tees into the pie filling before freezing or lightly greasing the film before laying over the filling will prevent the film from adhering to the ingredient top. Wrap the pie with foil and place in the freezer. It may be frozen for one to two months. A firmer texture is produced from freezing while a creamier texture is obtained when refrigerated. Fruits, berries or other items may be incorporated in the filling. Before serving, the top of the filling may be decorated with pieces of fruit, berries, chocolate curls, coconut, etc., or left bare.

Something to think about: Congratulations to all graduates! “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it!” Author Unknown. Marie 


1 stick butter

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup coarsely chopped vanilla wafers

Butter a 9-inch pie pan. Melt 1 stick butter. Combine walnuts, vanilla wafers, and butter. (It may not take all the butter). Press into the pie pan. Do not make the crust too thin or crush wafers and nuts too fine. Bake at 325 F. about 8 to 10 minutes. 


1-1/4 cups fine graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

6 Tablespoons butter, melted

Combine the crumbs, sugar and butter. Press firmly on bottom and sides of pie tin or 8- or 9-inch square pan. Chill. Add filling and refrigerate 24 hours. Save some prepared crumbs and add to top of finished pie. 


One 9-inch crumb pie crust

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can blueberry pie filling*

Whip the cream cheese until fluffy. Add milk, juice and vanilla. Blend well. Pour into a graham cracker crust. After it sets, pour on the blueberry pie filling. Keep in the refrigerator.

*May substitute prepared cherry pie filling. 


1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups mashed raspberries

1 cup cream, whipped

1 graham cracker crust

Sprinkle gelatin over orange juice and heat until dissolved. Add sugar to berries. Sweeten to taste. Combine with gelatin mixture. Fold in whipped cream and pour into crust. Swirl top with a fork. Chill 24 hours before serving.

The Prairie Star Weekly Update

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