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Recipe Served with Memories: Mrs. Pickard’s Pineapple Squares

September 16, 2020


Recipe Served with Memories: Mrs. Pickard’s Pineapple Squares–A Most Delicious Pastry!


By Alice Jane-Marie Massa



For those of us who have loved going to school and who taught school, all of life–even the retirement years–seems to be divided into semesters. At this most unusual start of this fall semester of 2020, I am thinking of the onset of the first school semester of my older sister. In 1953, Mary Elizabeth first attended Jacksonville Grade School–a four-classroom rural school in Blanford, Indiana. The slender, tall, attractive, poised Mrs. Lelia Pickard was my sister’s first teacher and was most likely the first reason Mary always wanted to become a teacher.


To my knowledge, Mrs. Pickard was the only Jacksonville teacher who invited all the mothers of the first- and second-graders to a tea. Of course, my mother, who was two years yet away from initiating her career as our Blanford postmaster, attended the tea. Very fortunately for my family, Mrs. Pickard not only served pineapple squares at the tea, but she also shared the recipe with the mothers, including mine. Thank you, Mrs. Pickard! Your recipe is absolutely one of my favorites, but making the recipe well does require a good pastry chef.


Although my mother made outstanding lemon meringue pies, chocolate meringue pies, double-crust cherry pies, marble chiffon cakes, angel food cakes, various cookies, Butter Horns (“Tornados”), jelly rolls, torchetti, and much more–the recipe for which my mother became most famous was what we came to call “Mrs. Pickard’s Pineapple Squares.” Mother made these delicate pastries with precision and perfection and also made a family tradition because these pineapple squares were the special treats at each Thanksgiving dinner. Soon after, Mother, complying with popular demand, made the pineapple recipe for Christmas, other holidays, and other notable occasions. Following my mom’s success with this pineapple recipe, other family members also made Mrs. Pickard’s Pineapple Squares–Aunt Lydia (my mother’s next older sister), my Aunt Kathy (my dad’s sister), my cousin Nancy Ann, and my sister. A Milwaukee friend of mine has made the recipe multiple times; he added rum to the pineapple mixture and topped the pastries with a zesty lemon glaze (instead of vanilla).


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.


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


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


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


  1. 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.)


  1. 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.


  1. 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.)


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


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


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


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


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


  1. Cut into two-inch squares. Enjoy!



Happy baking, and happy fall semester!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


September 16, 2020, Wednesday




From → Uncategorized

  1. Dear Alice,
    Yes, you are absolutely right that Mrs. Pickard inspired me to become a teacher! She was a lovely lady, and I adored her! Years after I was in her first grade class, I was fortunate enough to spend time with her and Mr. Pickard when I was a first year teacher! Mrs. Pickard even gave me some of her teaching materials to use in my classroom. Of all the gifts that Mrs. Pickard gave to our family, the pineapple squares will always be the best—and most delicious! I really must bake that special treat this fall!
    As always, thanks for the fond memories!
    Love to you and Willow,

    • Mary–I do suppose that you could try mailing a few of those pineapple squares again to your favorite sister!

      Enjoy the swimming party with the grandchildren!

      Alice and Willow

  2. That recipe sounds so delicious.
    I always loved making bread and pastries – particularly pies. As my 5 children when through grade school, teachers always remarked that they loved Christmas for the knew that they would get some of my Christmas breads each year. I made mostly German breads and pastries. I no longer do anything like this. Do not use my oven at all – for anything. All good things must come to an end and for me, it is cooking and baking –

    You are so right; no matter how long we are retired, we do think in terms of semesters. I remember that December 20 was nearly always the final day to get in my grades to the registrar every year. I think of the first week of July as the week I would be back in Austria to teach my summer courses every year. By the final week of January, I realize that I would now be going back to begin the Spring Semester – it never leaves us. Often, when I take a break and sit down in the afternoon, I feel like I need my briefcase full of papers to read and grade. It seemed like there was never a time to just sit down at home and do nothing. There were always course materials to review, edit, change, and orchestrate. There were papers to read and tests and quizzes to create. Some days I feel a shiver of guilt that I am not working because that was our normal way of life.

    • Hi, Lynda–Thanks for sharing that you also are stuck–pleasantly so–in the semester mode.  I appreciate your extensive comment on this post.

      Best always–Alice and Willow

  3. Susan M McKendry permalink

    Hello, Alice–Guess this post hit home with past and present teachers. Sorry as I always was to see summer end, there was anticipation about what the new semester would bring. The biggest joy was bringing in produce from our garden to share with colleagues and students. Retirement is great, but like many retired teachers, for the most part I really enjoyed my job.–Sue

    • Hi, Sue–Having had the opportunity to “observe” your teaching and interacting with students and having enjoyed many “teacher talks” with you, I can certainly affirm how much you enjoyed teaching and how much your students benefited from your many talents as a college instructor.

      Happy season of chrysanthemums!

      Alice and Willow

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