Quarterly Meeting Pie

Katie Maxwell, Visitor Services Coordinator

I originally intended to share Barnard Cake this week, but I was just so curious about Quarterly Meeting Pie aka Potato Pudding, that I just had to give it a try instead. How do potatoes (not sweet potatoes) turn into desert? This 1851 recipe can be found on pages 46 and 47 of 35 Receipts from “The Larder Invaded” by William Woys Weaver. It is called Quarterly Meeting pie because it was frequently served at Quaker Quarterly Meeting Dinners (45).

First the Ingredients:

*2 medium all-purpose potatoes (14 oz. total), peeled and quartered

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (6 oz.), at room temperature, cut into 12 pieces

⅔ cup sugar (5 oz.)

**3 tblsp. cognac

1 tsp. ground mace

3 large eggs, separated

Short pastry (use your favorite pie crust)

Ingredients for Quarterly Meeting Pie

*I’m not sure what all-purpose potatoes are, so I used russets.

**I used brandy because I refuse to spend money on cognac.

As always there is an original recipe and one adapted by Dr. Weaver. I chose Dr. Weaver’s as it is more precise, and I’m using my go-to all-butter pie crust because butter makes things delicious.

Weighing the potatoes

It turns out that 14 oz. of potatoes are not quite one and a half of my reasonably sized russet potatoes.

To make the filling, cook the potatoes in boiling water to cover until tender, about 20 minutes.

Cooking the potatoes for the pie filling

I may or may not have dropped this saucepan at some point. I’m blaming my cat.

Drain. Process the potatoes while still warm with the medium shredding disc of a food processor.

I don’t own a food processor, so I am using a hand mixer. Nineteenth-century Quakers didn’t have food processors. (Not that they had electric mixers either, but I am too lazy to attempt to get a smooth mash by hand.)

Nineteenth-Century Quaker mashing potatoes

Leave the potatoes in the work bowl and insert the metal blade. Add the remaining ingredients except the egg whites and process until smooth about 10 seconds, scraping down the work bowl as necessary.

Combining the ingredients

That direction about the metal blade would probably make more sense if I had a food processor.

Preheat the oven to 375°F

Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry,

Egg whites whipped into stiff peaks

I’m not entirely sure of what this direction means, but I have decided to interpret it as soft peaks. My egg whites don’t look dry, do they?

And fold into the potato mixture.

Folding the whipped egg whites into the other ingredients

I know this one! I have to gently stir the mixture with a spatula so I don’t deflate the egg whites.

Spread the filling in the prepared pastry crust,

Filling added to crust and ready to bake

So much beige.

and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 325°F, and bake until the center of the pie is firm and the top is golden brown, about 35 minutes more.

Quarterly Meeting Pie fresh from the oven

I’m not sure this qualifies as golden brown, but the filling is firm and I’m going to call it done. It smells like nutmeg.

Serve at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.

Serving a slice of the finished pie

It tastes like nutmeg, or as my husband put it, “It tastes like Thanksgiving.” I maintain my position that ‘pumpkin spice’ is really mostly nutmeg. This is not my favorite pie; don’t get me wrong though, pie is always better than no pie. It is a bit bland and crumbly, and I kind of want it to be sweet potato pie. However, the texture is much improved by the addition of ice cream.

Next time Barnard Cake!