Bless Your Spoon: Double-stuffed with sweet goodness

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 11, 2023

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By Stephanie Williams Dean

Old-timey sweets are still a hit at the party — you know, those luscious baked pies and desserts made with decadent sweet condensed milk. These rich treats whip up to an almost solid finished product — think key lime, lemon and caramel pies. Things just get even sweeter with banana puddings, 7-layer bars and frozen dessert salads. Today’s recipes are a revival of a few of these vintage favorites. Each bite’s double stuffed with creamy goodness and comfort, like desserts our mamas served.

Chilled salads fill the bill nicely if looking for meat and threes that combines sweet and savory tastes, yet rich enough to hold their own as dessert.  The best thing about them — mostly, you mix, pour and refrigerate. But don’t confuse sweet condensed milk with evaporated milk. Both are concentrated milk products found on the grocer’s shelf. The two are different and not interchangeable. Condensed milk is sweetened while evaporated milk is not. Evaporated milk adds a lighter airier texture to pies and cakes while condensed milk results in dense and creamier goods.

Have you ever known someone who’s just “as sweet as pie,” filled to the brim with goodness? Recently, I volunteered for phone duty during a spring pledge drive at Joy FM radio, a station that broadcasts Southern Gospel music. I was blessed to take calls from donors who shared God’s blessings in their lives and difficult trials they’d experienced along the way.    

One morning, a long-time listener made an in-person visit to the station. Local resident, Helen Freitag, drove from Mocksville to the station’s broadcasting studio in Winston-Salem. She was a woman on a mission — with a food ministry, of sorts. Upon arrival, her hands were full, and so was her heart.

With one hand, Helen pushed her rollator and with the other hand, she carried a homemade caramel pie. On her arm hung a plastic grocery bag filled with “double stuffed” gluten-free Oreos for general manager John Long — they’re his favorite. Over the years, Helen has come to know the station’s radio talent. She’s been a faithful listener at home and in her car since moving to the area 25 years ago.   

I was inspired by Helen’s kind and generous acts — a true example of the power of God and just how He moves us in our lives. And my heart was further touched after hearing her story — one of incredible strength found through faith that helped her overcome a difficult period in life.

But through it all — and at 78 years old — Helen continues to help and bring comfort to other people.

In November 2021, Helen faced one of her greatest trials. While driving, she had a vehicle pull out in front of her. With no time to slow down, Helen’s car broadsided the other. With two badly broken bones above the ankle, she had two surgeries where three metal rods were placed in her leg. Rehab followed with 12 weeks of no weight bearing that left Helen confined to a wheelchair. It was close to 8 months before she was strong enough to walk again.

But with a strong faith, Helen managed to get through the ordeal, saying, “Every gray hair, I earned, but I know the Lord was with me.”

Today, Helen walks but must use a rollator — a piece of equipment that’s similar to a walker but rolls. While she drives some and is able to walk, her legs just aren’t what they used to be. But what Helen still has is a double-stuffed portion of goodness in that heart of hers. Despite hardship, she drove to Winston-Salem, rolling her way into the station, to deliver food gifts and say thank you.  With thoughtful expressions of appreciation, Helen shared, “Because I know that’s a difficult job. I was a teacher and understand. They are trying to get the message to the people.”

Trials. We all have them but some have more than their share. But every trial we endure helps us comfort others who are suffering similar strife. In 1 Corinthians 1:3-4, Paul tells us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

We can provide comfort to others in many ways — through donations, our efforts, work, time, and talents. Let’s be like Helen. Let’s take what we’ve learned through our own adversities and use it for the comfort and benefit of others — with an added cup of double-stuffed kindness and generosity along the way.

Helen’s Caramel Pie

• 3 cans Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• 1 graham cracker pie crust

• Whipped cream

• 1 chocolate candy bar

In a saucepan, place 3 unopened cans of sweetened condensed milk. Cover cans with water and bring to a slow boil. Continue to simmer uncovered for 3 hours, making sure to keep cans completely covered with water at all times. After cooking, allow cans to cool enough to handle. Open and pour caramel into a prebaked pie shell. Chill. When ready to serve, evenly spread whipped cream over top. Top with shaved chocolate.

Peach Salad

• 1 can peach pie filling

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• 1 medium container Cool Whip

• 16 ounces well-drained crushed pineapple

In a mixer bowl, combine peach pill filling and condensed milk. Mix well. Fold in Cool Whip and crushed pineapple that has been well drained. Mix well. Pour into a dish and chill.

Easy Lemon Icebox Pie

• 4 beaten egg yolks

• 1 grated lemon rind

• 2 juiced lemons

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• 9-inch graham cracker crust

Meringue:

• 4 beaten egg whites

• 8 Tbsp. sugar

In a mixer bowl, beat egg yolks. Add grated rind from 1 lemon, and beat until thickened. Add juice of 2 lemons and condensed milk. Beat for 5 minutes. Pour filling into pie crust. Cover with meringue. For meringue, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Add sugar and beat until stiff. Evenly cover top of pie. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until brown. Refrigerate 2 hours prior to serving.

Frozen Mixed Fruit Salad

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

• 1 can cherry pie filling

• 8 ounces drained, crushed pineapple

• ½ cup drained, canned pears

• ½ cup drained, canned sliced peaches

• 2 sliced fresh bananas

• 1 cup whipped cream

• ½ cup chopped pecans

In a bowl, combine condensed milk and lemon juice, and stir until thickened. Fold in cherry pie filling, crushed pineapple, pears, peaches and bananas. Mix well. Whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream and pecans into fruit mixture. Mix well. Freeze. Serve in squares while frozen.

Fudge Brownie Pie

• 9-inch prebaked pie shell

• ¼ cup melted, salted butter

• 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

• 2 beaten eggs

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• ½ cup Bisquick/other biscuit baking mix

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1 cup chopped nuts

In a preheated 375-degree oven, pre-bake pie shell 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Reduce oven temp to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, melt butter and chocolate chips over low heat. In a mixer bowl, beat the eggs. Then add the cooled, melted chocolate/butter mixture, condensed milk, baking mix and vanilla extract to the eggs. Mix until smooth. Fold in nuts. Mix well. Pour into prepared pie shell. Bake in the 325-degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until center tests firm. Serve with ice cream topping. Refrigerate.

Cherry Delight

• 1 Eagle brand condensed milk

• 1 large container Cool Whip

• 1 large can drained, crushed pineapple

• 21 ounces cherry pie filling

• 1 cup chopped nuts

In a mixer bowl, combine Eagle brand condensed milk and Cool Whip. Mix well. Fold in drained pineapple, cherry pie filling and nuts. Pour into a dish and freeze. Set out 10 minutes prior to serving.

Icebox Fruit Cake

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• 1 pound graham cracker crumbs

• 1 chopped large bag marshmallows

• 1 small package candied cherries

• 1 large package mixed candied fruit

• 1 pound raisins

• 1 pound chopped pecans

• 1 can flaked coconut (optional)

• ¼ tsp. nutmeg

• ¼ tsp. cinnamon

In a mixer bowl, whip condensed milk. Add cracker crumbs, marshmallows, candied fruits, raisins, pecans, coconut, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix well. Pour into a glass dish of your choice. Refrigerate in the ice box.

Banana Pudding

• 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• ½ cup cold whole milk

• 1 tub Cool Whip

• Vanilla wafers

• 4 bananas

In a mixer bowl, beat pudding mix, condensed milk, cold milk, and 2/3 container of Cool Whip for 3 minutes. Line a glass dish on bottom and up the sides with vanilla wafers. Slice all bananas and cover wafers. Spoon pudding mixture on top of bananas. Spread the remaining Cool Whip over pudding mixture. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

Key Lime Pie

• 1 stiffly beaten egg white

• 4 beaten egg yolks

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• ½ cup key lime juice

• Graham cracker crust

Meringue

• 3 beaten egg whites

• 6 Tbsp. sugar

• ½ tsp. cream of tartar

In a mixer bowl, beat egg white until stiff and set aside. In a bowl, beat egg yolks. Beat condensed milk into the egg yolks. Add lime juice and mix well. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg white. Pour into the graham cracker crust. For the meringue, in a mixer bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually add sugar and cream of tartar. Evenly spread over top of pie. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until the meringue is golden and toasted.

Peanut Butter Fudgie Bars

• 1 beaten egg

• 1 yellow cake mix

• ½ cup Wesson vegetable oil

• 1 cup creamy peanut butter

• 2 Tbsp. salted butter

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• 16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a mixer bowl, beat egg. Add cake mix while alternating with oil. Fold in peanut butter and mix well. Place 2/3 mixture in a greased 13 x 9 baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Set aside, and cool for 5 minutes. In a saucepan, heat butter, condensed milk and chocolate chips. Stir while blending well. Evenly pour over crust. Evenly sprinkle remaining crumbs over the top. Bake in the 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

Cherry ‘n Cream Pie

• 8 ounces softened cream cheese

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• 1/3 cup lemon juice

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

• 9-inch graham cracker crumb crust

• 1 can cherry pie filling

In a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add condensed milk. Mix well. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour in crust and top with cherry pie filling. Chill.

Party Peach Pie

• 1 Eagle brand sweet condensed milk

• ½ cup fresh lemon juice

• 1 large can drained, chopped peaches

• 8 ounces drained, crushed pineapple

• 1 large container Cool Whip

In a mixer bowl, combine condensed milk and lemon juice. Mix well until thickened. Add peaches and pineapple and mix well. Fold in Cool Whip. Mix well. Pour into 2 regular graham cracker crusts. Freeze. Set out 10 minutes before serving.