DEAR HELOISE: I’m looking for a recipe for mock apple pie, which uses crackers instead of apples. I’ve looked all over for this recipe and can’t find it.
— Norma M., Iowa DEAR READER: Here it is:
Mock Apple Pie
Pastry for double-crusted 9-inch
2 cups water
1¼ cups sugar
2 teaspoons cream of tartar 20 single-stack square soda
crackers (regular, salted) Butter (for dotting)
Ground cinnamon (for sprinkling)
Heat the oven to 375. Line the bottom of a 9-inch pan with one crust. In a medium saucepan, boil the water, sugar and cream of tartar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the whole crackers and boil for 1 minute. Spoon the mixture into the pie shell. Dot the top with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover the pie with the other crust and cut steam vents. Bake 35 minutes. Let the pie cool completely before cutting into it. To add more flavor, try using brown sugar, a pinch of nutmeg or some allspice.
DEAR HELOISE: Why do some recipes suggest using boiling water in the cake mix?
— Irma R. in Detroit DEAR READER: The only time I’ve seen boiling water as a requirement was with chocolate cakes. The hot water makes the cocoa “bloom,” which brings out the flavor of the cocoa. It also makes it easier to mix the cocoa into the rest of the ingredients.
DEAR HELOISE: My mother reheated a slice of pizza for me using a frying pan instead of the microwave or a conventional oven. The pizza was crisp, hot and delicious. I’d never seen this done before, but it’s just one more way to enjoy leftover pizza.
— Carol B., Charleston, S.C.
DEAR HELOISE: Recently, you suggested that rinsing canned beans (kidney, navy, etc.) should be done to remove the excess salt. It always has been my understanding that rinsing these beans also helps remove the flatulence-producing ingredients contained in the liquid.
— Doug P., via email DEAR READER: Doug, well, actually it’s the beans, not the liquid, that cause flatulence. Beans contain a type of sugar that is not fully broken down by enzymes. The bacteria that work on this sugar releases a gas, which is eventually discharged. Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email