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Recipe: Mrs. Picard’s Pineapple Squares–a Thanksgiving Tradition

November 13, 2013

 

Recipe:  Mrs. Pickard’s Pineapple Squares—a Thanksgiving Tradition

 

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

            Are your taste buds dreaming of turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie?  In our family, another treat of Thanksgiving traditions is the recipe for Mrs. Pickard’s Pineapple Squares.  Of all the superior baking done by my mother—picture-perfect lemon meringue pie, chocolate meringue pie, marble chiffon cake, date bars, double-crust cherry pie—I firmly believe that my mother was most known for her delicious and pretty Pineapple Squares.  For decades, my mother made this wonderful pastry for each Thanksgiving celebration; eventually, she also made the treats—which were in high demand—for Christmas, Easter, and other special occasions throughout these sixty years that the recipe has been in our family. 

 

            The pineapple squares are not named for my mother:  the recipe appropriately carries the name of Mrs. Lelia Pickard, who gave this special recipe to my mother.  Thank goodness!  Mrs. Pickard was my older sister’s first-grade teacher and probably the first person who influenced my sister to become a teacher.  In 1953, Mrs. Pickard invited the mothers of her students to a tea at Jacksonville Grade School (located in the small, rural town of Blanford, Indiana).  At the get-together, this wonderful first-grade and second-grade teacher of our “four-classroom school” served the Pineapple Squares.  Thankfully, Mrs. Pickard shared her superb pastry recipe with my mother. 

 

            Since this recipe is challenging for a novice baker, few people I know have made this recipe.  In addition to my mother, her older sister Lydia, her sister-in-law Kathy, my cousin Nancy, and my sister Mary Elizabeth successfully made Mrs. Pickard’s Pineapple Squares.  (If any other relative or friend has made this recipe, please add your name to this list by commenting on this blog post.)  In more recent years, a friend of mine tried this recipe a few times; he added rum to the pineapple filling and made a lemon (instead of vanilla) icing—very flavorful. 

 

            Since my mother’s birthday—November 25—fell on or very near Thanksgiving Day, my mother’s being known for the Thanksgiving tradition of Pineapple Squares seems appropriate.  In honor and memory of my mother and Mrs. Pickard, I happily share this treasured recipe with you.  As you knead the dough and enjoy these treats, please join me in remembering these two great women of the “Greatest Generation.”

 

 

Mrs. Pickard’s Pineapple Squares

 

 

1.  Cook thoroughly (until consistency of pudding or filling):  ¾ cups water, one large can crushed pineapple with juice, one teaspoon lemon juice, ½ cup sugar, and three tablespoons cornstarch.

 

2.  Remove above mixture from stove and add one beaten egg yolk; then, allow mixture to cool.

 

3.  Allow 2/3 cups scalded milk to become lukewarm.

 

4.  After dissolving two cakes of yeast in milk, add one tablespoon sugar and three beaten egg yolks to this milk mixture.

 

5.  Work three sticks Blue Bonnet margarine into three cups flour.  (My mother always thought that using Blue Bonnet margarine was important for the success of this recipe.)

 

6.  Combine milk mixture and flour mixture to form ball of dough; divide dough into two pieces.  One of the balls of dough should be slightly larger for forming the bottom layer and sides of the pastry.  To more easily work the dough, use extra flour sparingly, as necessary.

 

7.  Roll out slightly larger piece of dough to fit bottom and sides of 12″-by-18″-by-1” pan.  (You may also use a jelly roll pan, 15”-by-10”-by-1” pan.)

 

8.  For the next layer, pour or spoon the pineapple filling onto the bottom layer of dough; spread the filling evenly.

 

9.  Roll out remaining dough, and place atop pineapple mixture; then, pinch edges of dough to seal pastry.

 

9.  Cover pastry with waxed paper and towel; in a warm place, let dough rise for one hour.

 

10.  After removing waxed paper and towel, bake the pastry at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until golden brown.  Do not underbake!

 

11.  After allowing the golden-brown pastry to cool, glaze with (homemade) powdered sugar icing and (if desired) sprinkle with chopped nuts. 

 

12. Cut into squares.  Enjoy!

 

Enjoy planning, preparing, and creating your Thanksgiving traditions!

Alice

 

Post-script:  Thanks to my sister for double-checking this family recipe for me!

 

November 13, 2013, Wednesday

 

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2 Comments
  1. Thank you, Alice, for sharing this. I’m not much of a cook so doubt I’ll use it, but it sounds delicious. May you and your family enjoy many pineapple squares this Thanksgiving.

  2. Mmmm–I so enjoyed the pineapple squares, but did not realize all of the steps involved. Thanks, Alice, for the recipe and for the memories! Lovely tribute to Aunt Mary and to Mrs. Pickard, too!

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