Morbid Curiosity

Morbid Curiosity: Summer Salad Pie

Where did the summer go? It feels like I was just starting to get the hang of this season and now my calendar tells me it’s over. Well, forget that noise. Summer isn’t over until I say it’s over. Or, more accurately, it isn’t over until after the Autumnal Equinox.

Summer Salad Pie consists of three layers: A cheddar cheese pie shell, a layer of tomato aspic with celery and olive pieces suspended in it, and a topping of tuna salad. Why does tuna salad need to be made into a pie with tomato aspic? Only Betty Crocker knows for sure.

slice of summer salad pie
A slice of summer?

This recipe marks my very first attempt at a homemade pie shell. I know… it’s probably a shock for you to learn that I’m too lazy to make my own crust most of the time. It’s a good thing you’re using the computer right now, and therefore probably sitting down. The various components didn’t turn out too badly (from a technical standpoint), if I might say so myself, but I still don’t think it was a good idea to combine them. Tomato aspic remains one of those foods that you should only ever attempt to consume in small doses. And hopefully spaced out between long, blissful years of not eating tomato aspic.

Summer Salad Piesummer salad pie
1 pkg. (3 oz.) lemon-flavored gelatin
1¼ cups boiling water
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 tbsp. vinegar
½ tsp. salt
Few drops each Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce
Dash pepper
½ cup each chopped celery and pimiento-stuffed olives
¼ cup chopped onion
Cheese Pie Shell (below)
Tuna Salad (below)

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in tomato sauce, vinegar, and seasonings. Chill until slightly thickened. Fold in celery, olives, and onion. Pour into cooled Cheese Pie Shell. Chill thoroughly. Spoon Tuna Salad on top of pie. 6 servings.

Cheese Pie Shell
1 cup white flour
½ tsp. salt
â…“ cup plus 1 tbsp. shortening or â…“ cup lard
½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 tbsp. water

Heat oven to 475°F. Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening thoroughly. Stir in cheese. Sprinkle water gradually over mixture, 1 tbsp. at a time, tossing lightly with a fork after each addition. (If dough appears dry, a few drops of water may be added.) Gather dough into a ball. On a lightly floured cloth-covered board, roll out 1″ larger than inverted 9″ pie pan. Ease into pan; flute and prick pastry. Bake 8 to 10 min.; cool.

Tuna Salad
1 can tuna, drained
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. minced onion
1 cup diced celery
Mayonnaise or salad dressing

Lightly mix tuna, lemon juice, onion, and celery. Season with salt and paprika to taste. Chill. Just before serving, drain and mix  in just enough mayonnaise to moisten.

The recipes featured in this post are from the Betty Crocker Dinner in a Dish cookbook, published in 1965.

By Jen R. L. Disarray

Jen was once described as a "culinary anthropologist". She liked that. When she is not making questionable foods, Jen enjoys reading, sassing, and lurking all over the internet. Jen has a blog called Maybe We Shouldn't Be Eating This, and she is a contributor to the Geekquality podcast and blog.

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