What a wonderful flaky-crust pie baker my mother was! Shortly after Dream Whip first came out in 1957, she made every kind of pie filling with Jell-o and Dream Whip that was to be found in her Jell-o Dream Whip Pie Cookbook, which I now have. Do you remember Dream Whip? Actually, you can still buy it. Dream Whip is a powdered dessert topping mix that is prepared by adding ½ cup cold milk and ½ tsp vanilla then whipped until light and fluffy. My apologies to the manufacturer, but it is a lame substitute for whipping cream. It did create happy childhood memories, however. By itself, it tasted like powdered milk in whipped form, but mixed with Jell-o... so good! For one kind of pie, my mother would make four different flavors of Jell-o in separate cake pans. When the Jell-o was set, she would cut each flavor into cubes. The cubes were folded into the prepared Dream Whip pie filling. The lemon, cherry, lime, and orange colors of Jell-o looked like jewels. As a child, you can imagine what a delight that was!
During my childhood, growing up in the 1950s on a 160-acre Minnesota farm ten miles southeast of Brainerd in Crow Wing County, my mother tended large gardens. Every spring and into early summer, she baked rhubarb custard pies prepared from freshly cut stalks of rhubarb. This recipe, passed down to me from her, was one of the first signs of spring... a welcome reminder that the long days of winter were only a memory. Here is the recipe in my mom's own handwriting. Precious. Priceless.