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Today's Case

Apricot Buttercream Stratas

Subject: Identify recipe source
From: Carole 
Date: 12/29/2020, 5:07 PM


I am in the process of sorting out files with recipe clippings that span 50 years.  
I have a clipping of a recipe with a notation “Woman’s Day, April 1972” but I am 
not completely sure if it is correctly identified.  Is possible to identify the 
source of vintage recipes?  I am attaching an image of the clipping with the hope 
that you will be able confirm the provenance.  I realize that this is an unusual 
request and perhaps it will be out of the scope of possibilities but I thought it 
was worth a try.


Hello Carole,

I am forced to reply with a discussion rather than a solid answer. Determining the provenance of a recipe is very difficult. Copyright law does not apply to the basic recipe itself, so recipes are passed around and often printed without any thought as to source or ownership. What you have sent me is an article about a recipe that includes the recipe. Are you attempting to verify the provenance of the article or of the recipe itself? The first paragraph and the final paragraph are obviously personal remarks by the author of the article. However, where did the author herself get the recipe? There's the rub. It's possible that the author created the dish, but I think it is unlikely.

I did some searching in our library of cookbooks and on the web, but I only found one instance that appears to be the same recipe, or part of it. If you look at this site: Brandy's Recipes , there is the beginning of an apricot buttercream stratas recipe that appears to be the same recipe. However, the site seems to be incomplete. It does not give the entire recipe, it gives no source, and it has no contact information. There is no other duplication of your recipe or even part of it on the web, as far as I can determine.

However, if you are wanting to verify the provenance of the article, then that may be possible. There is no archive of past Woman's Day articles on the web. You might contact the magazine itself: Woman's Day or you might post a request on their Facebook page: Woman's Day Facebook

I think that the quickest way to verify that the clipped article is actually from the April, 1972 issue of Woman's Day is to order a copy of that magazine. There are numerous websites that sell back issues of popular magazines. Here are two that offer that issue of Woman's Day:

Vintage Magazines

Past Paper

There are many, many more sites offering back issues of magazines, including Ebay.

If you obtain a copy of the magazine, you might thereby find the name of the author of that article, allowing you to possibly locate them and ask them directly where they obtained the recipe, if you desire that information.

I will post your request, except for the scan, on my site in a week or so. Perhaps one of my readers has that issue of the magazine and will send me a scan of the entire page, thus verifying the article's source. If so, I will forward it to you.


Thank you very much for responding to my inquiry.  Regarding the provenance, any
information related to the recipe and/or the article was on my radar.

I, too, was directed to Brandys/recipes (which appears to be an unfinished or 
abandoned project) with a Google search - the only match and confirmation that this
is indeed a unique recipe.  

When I was unsuccessful with my search for recipe archives on the Woman’s Day website,
I submitted an inquiry to, but I don’t expect to receive an answer.

After reading your suggestion to search for a back issue, I was able to find a reasonably 
priced offer on Amazon and ordered it.  At least that will verify or rule out that the 
recipe was published in that  particular issue.  

If I hear back from publishers of Woman’s Day or find the article in the back issue that 
I ordered, I will send the information to you.

I am aware that this may seen to be a silly pursuit but once I am in a rabbit hole with 
something, I find it difficult to give up.  I appreciate your thoughtfulness in taking 
time to send the suggestions and offering to post my request to the website.  

Kind Regards,
Hello, again!

I received the back issue of Woman’s Day April 1972 today.  I am attaching a file containing 
all of the pages in the article along with an obituary for the author, Shirley Sarvis. 
The recipe for Apricot Buttercream Stratas is on page 108 & 110.  Please feel free to use 
any of this content if it is ever requested by one of your readers.

Kind Regards,

For those readers who are interested in the recipe, here it is:

Apricot Buttercream Stratas (Woman's Day, April, 1972 - Shirley Sarvis)

1 package (11 ozs) dried apricots, (about 2 cups apricots)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 1/2 cups packaged or other fine graham-cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
6 tablespoons soft butter
3 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
2 eggs
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Cook apricots until very tender; drain. add sugar to hot
apricots and stir vigorously to make a purée;set aside to
cool thoroughly. Mix melted butter thoroughly with 2 cups
graham-cracker crumbs and the nuts. Press on bottom of 13" 
x 9" by 2" baking pan. In mixing bowl, cream together soft 
butter and confectioner's sugar (mixture will be crumbly).
Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Spoon over 
crumbs in pan and spread smooth. Put small spoonfuls of 
cooled apricots over buttercream layer and top with whipped 
cream. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Cover and chill at 
least 8 hours before serving. Cut in squares. Makes 12 to 
16 servings.

Choose your favorite topping for these warm crunchy dessert 
squares: sour cream dusted with ground mace or vanilla ice 
cream or cream. You can bake these hours ahead of serving 
time, then place in preheated 400°F. oven about 5 minutes. 

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