Archive for the ‘cakes & pies’ Category
1 qt. milk
4 tbs. flour, sifted
4 eggs, separated and beaten
5 heaping tablespoons sugar
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 pint flour, sifted
1/4 lb (1 stick) butter
1 qt milk
3/4 lb. flour
12 eggs, separated
Butter for greasing baking tins
1 egg to coat finished cakes
Take one quart of sweet new milk, from which take three table-spoonfuls to moisten four tablespoonfuls of sifted flour, and put the remainder on to boil; separate four eggs and beat them as stiff as possible; add to the yolks five heaping table-spoonfuls of pulverized loaf-sugar; when the milk is boiling hot, stir in first the moistened flour, let it thicken but not boil, then stir the whites and yolks together and beat them well, pour a little of the boiled milk in the egg, stir it well, and then mix it in the hot milk, let it boil three minutes, then add the grated rind and juice of one lemon, and set it away to cool, then proceed to make the paste [dough for the cakes]; take one pint of sifted flour and one-fourth of a pound of butter, set it over hot water until it melts, then add a quart of milk and stir in three-fourths of a pound of flour, let it scald through; then let it become cold, beat all the lumps out, separate and beat twelve eggs, stir them in the paste, first the yolks and then the whites; butter twenty-four round tins, fill them not quite half full; bake thoroughly; when cold, open them a little with a knife and put in the cream; press the edges together and wet them over with egg. These cakes must be used the same day they are baked.
The Housekeeper’s Encyclopedia by Mrs. E. F. Haskell, 1861
Comment: We freely confess this is not a recipe we have ever actually tried to make, nor for that matter even seriously considered it. Just reading the recipe–was it a matter of actual law or merely custom that seems to have barred the use of the period as a punctuation mark? This entire recipe, for two totally separate items, the cakes and the filling, uses a mere two sentences, the second of which is just advisory–is so exhausting that we have to go lie down rather than reach for the flour, eggs and utensils.
3 lb. lean beef
2 lb. beef suet
1 tbs. salt
6 lb. apples
4 lb. raisins
2 lb. currants
1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tbs. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 lb. brown sugar
1 qt. Madeira wine
1/2 lb. citron, cut up
Boil three pounds of lean beef till tender, and when cold chop it fine. Chop two pounds of clear beef suet and mix the meat, sprinkling in a tablespoonful of salt. Pare, core and chop fine six pounds of good apples; stone four pounds of raisins and chop them; wash and dry two pounds of currants; and mix them all well with the meat. Season with powdered cinnamon one spoonful, a powdered nutmeg, a little mace and a few cloves pounded, and one pound of brown sugar–add a quart of Madeira wine and half a pound of citron cut into small bits. This mixture, put down in a stone jar and closely covered, will keep several weeks. It makes a rich pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
From The Good Housekeeper by Sarah Josepha Hale, 1841
Comment: As might be expected from a receipt calling for more than 20 pounds of ingredients, this is not a recipe for a single pie. Mince recipes–of which there are a huge number of variants–were made up in one marathon cooking session and then packed into jars for use over the next several weeks, months or seasons. This particular one of Mrs. Hale’s was, as she notes, not one of the longer-storing versions since it includes a mere quart of alcohol, which served as a preservative. Most minces intended to last over the whole winter were preserved with brandy–a large amount to start with, and a recommendation that each time some of the mix was taken out for use in an actual pie, that the volume removed be replaced with an equal quantity of yet more brandy or fortified wine. One imagines that the last couple of pies from each jar would have rendered the eaters into a good state of pickled preservation themselves.
4 lb. flour
3/4 lb. butter
1 lb. sugar
1 lb. currants or raisins
1 package yeast
Old fashioned election cake is made of four pounds of flour; three quarters of a pound of butter; four eggs, one pound of sugar; one pound of currants, or raisins as you choose; half a pint of good yeast; wet it with milk as soft as it can be and be moulded on a board. Set to rise over night in winter; in warm weather, three hours is usually enough for it to rise. A loaf, the size of common flour bread, should bake three quarters of an hour.
From The American Frugal Housewife by Mrs. Lydia Child, 1833.
Comment: Ah, election cakes. One of the most puzzling groups of recipes from the 19th century, a descendant, according to culinary historian Karen Hess, of a class known as “great cakes” and usually reserved for royalty in Europe. This is, as the inclusion of yeast and rising time will suggest, actually a rich bread rather than what we think of as cake today. This is one of the simplest versions we’ve seen; as this cookbook expands we will include more, some of which are so elaborate as to perhaps be better enjoyed by reading than attempting.
Although Mrs. Child refers to only one “loaf the size of common flour bread” the quantity of ingredients called for here suggests that it would make at least two and more likely three or four such loaves from one mixing. The resulting treat was often served at election rallies (accompanied, as a rule, by “hard” cider to encourage enthusiasm among the electorate) rather than on the night of the election itself.
1/2 pint water
1 and 1/2 lb. sugar
1 pint eggs, 1/3 of which are yolks
2 lb. flour
Fine sugar for topping
Boil, in half a pint of water, one pound and a half of sugar; have ready one pint of eggs, three parts yelks, in a pan; pour in the sugar, and whisk it quick till cold, or about a quarter of an hour; then stir in two pounds of sifted flour; case the inside of square tins with white paper; fill them three parts full; sift a little sugar over, and bake in a warm oven, and while hot remove them from the moulds.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner MD, New York, 1829
Comment: We have no idea what sort of “diet” this item was considered suitable for, but “weight reducing” would not seem to be one of them given the quantity of egg yolks, sugar and the like we see here. One usually sees the word “diet” in connection with a cure for a medical problem such as “dyspepsia” which could be anything from minor heartburn to ulcers to who knows what. It often led to an agony so debilitating as to be a major impediment to daily activities.
Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson waged a nearly lifelong battle with the disorder, causing many of the dietary habits (avoidance of spices, refusal to use butter, frequent consumption of fruit) which got him a reputation for eccentricity. He would probably not have approved of this bread either.
Scraps of any meat, boiled until tender
Suet or salt pork, chopped fine
Apples, 1/2 to 2/3 as much as there is meat and suet
Spices to taste, especially cloves
Lemon peel [grated] and juice, optional
Sugar or sweetened fruit juice (optional)
These may be made of almost any cheap pieces of meat, boiled till tender; add suet or salt pork chopped very fine, half or two thirds as much apple as meat; sugar and spices to your taste. If mince pies are eaten cold it is better to use salt pork than suet. A lemon, and a little syrup of sweetmeats will greatly improve them. Clove is the most important spice.
From The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M. H.] Cornelius, Boston, 1863
Comment: Mince pies, today comprised entirely of fruit, were originally minced meat pies, and the humble origins of the dish show through plainly here. Of course the use of spices (imported, therefore expensive) and lemons (likewise) rather belie the author’s claim that this is “very plain.”
Mince was usually made in the late summer or fall when fruit was ripe and meat was being slaughtered for winter storage. It would be made in large quantities, with substantial quantities of brandy or wine included for preservation, and kept in stone jars in the coldest part of the house, usually the cellar. Enough for one pie would be taken out as needed and the jar resealed. The process allowed the using-up of any scraps of meat and fat which might otherwise go to waste during the abundance of slaughter-time.
4 1/2 c. flour
3 c. sugar
1 c. butter
1 c. cream
1 tsp. baking powder
Spices to taste
The cup used as a measure for the receipts in this book is not the tea-table china cup, but the common large earthen teacup, except where a small one is specified; and the teaspoon used is neither the largest or smallest, but the medium sized.
The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M. H.] Cornelius, 1865.
Comment: Mrs. Cornelius added the above note before her overall section on Cup Cakes. Other than that, the recipe for each individual variant was precisely as you see here: a list of ingredients. Other than that, bupkis. No specific mixing instructions, no baking temperature of even the “moderate” vs. “quick” oven variety common in the books of the day. Nothing. Nit. Nil. Nada. Zip.
So put the things into a bowl in the order given, add such spices as the spirit moves you to include, likewise the quantities of currants, citron and wine. (Yes, it does make a difference if you put the wine into the batter first, versus cutting out a step and just putting it into the cook directly.) Make it as thick as you think cake batter should be, put it into muffin tins and bake until it appears to be done. This is 19th century cooking at its finest, folks.