Sunday, July 11, 2010

Substitution Time: Joe Bunkers or Brambles

When I was a wee tyke, and my mom would make pie, my sister and I got to have the crust scraps. Sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, baked up, tasty as all heckfire. So, when I saw the recipe for Joe Bunkers or Brambles in Favorite Recipes from Matinicus Island Maine I knew it had to be featured here. I don't know if the name options are "Joe Bunkers" and "Brambles" or "Joe Bunkers" and "Joe Brambles." I'm going to be a rebel and say that you can call 'em any of the three, or even call 'em "Joes." Substitute the name you prefer. Substitution is going to be key for this recipe.
Joe Bunkers or Brambles

Make rich pie crust. Roll thin. Cut in large squares. In center of each square put in a spoonful of filling.

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
Juice and grated rind of 1 lemon
1 cup chopped raisins
5 or 6 Royal lunch crackers, rolled fine (If too moist take more crackers.)

Fold corners of square up to filling. 400° oven -- Bake until lightly brown.

--Carrie Ames
Now, you should know, there's no such cracker as a Royal lunch cracker anymore. They aren't being made anymore, and the first choice substitute is also not being made anymore. You can try your hand at making your own milk lunch cracker or buy the next best to the next best thing: the Vermont common cracker.

I'm here to tell you: the Vermont common cracker has next to no flavor. If this is what milk lunch crackers tasted like, I'm not at all surprised they're off the shelves. I had assumed that the crackers were a local type of Ritz cracker. I thought the recipe was for a sort of mini Mock Apple Pie. I'm a big fan of Mock Apple Pie, and a big fan of mini whatnots.

My advice: unless you're from New England, and have been raised to love (or even tolerate) the incredibly bland blandness of a common cracker, boldly substitute. Boldly substitute! Do the recipe as written, but crush up a bunch of Ritz crackers. Bring their buttery goodness to your Joes party.

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