Archive for the ‘custard & pudding’ Category
1/2 c. rice
1 c. water
1 qt. milk
5-6 peach leaves
1/2 c. sugar
Boil a teacupful of rice in two teacups of water. When it has swelled so as to absorb all the water, add a quart of milk and five or six peach leaves and boil it until the rice is perfectly soft. Take it from the fire, remove the peach leaves, add a small piece of butter, a little salt, and three or four eggs, beaten with a teacup of sugar. Put it into a buttered dish, grate nutmeg over the top, and bake three quarters of an hour. Most people prefer this pudding cold.
From The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M. H.] Cornelius, Boston, 1863
Comment: Rosewater is unusual today, fried parsley as a garnish is obscure, but if you want an ingredient which is completely unknown to the 21st century cook, the peach leaf surely qualifies. Ideally this should be a leaf of the early spring, just recently hatched from the bud, but apparently they were considered suitable for use at any time of year as long as they were still green. Why the leaf of the peach tree, and not the apple, plum or cherry? Beats the heck out of us, as we have been trying to grow peach trees for six years now and have nothing but dried up woody corpses to show for our efforts. We had in mind more the fruit of the tree than its leaves (peaches as sold in stores are a shame and a disgrace to the name) but in either case our efforts have come to naught.
1/4 lb. baking chocolate
1 pint water
8 egg yolks beaten with 6 egg whites
1 qt. cream or whole milk
3 tbs. sugar, granulated or confectioners
Sweetened whipped cream or egg whites, to top
Scrape fine a quarter of a pound of chocolate, and pour on it a pint of boiling water. Cover it, and let it stand by the fire till it has dissolved, stirring it twice. Beat eight eggs very light, omitting the whites of two. Stir them by degrees into a quart of cream or rich milk, alternately with the melted chocolate, and three table-spoonfuls of powdered white sugar. Put the mixture into cups, and bake it about ten minutes. Send them to table cold, with sweetened cream, or white of egg beaten to a stiff froth, and heaped on the top of each custard. No chocolate is so good as Baker’s prepared cocoa.
From Miss Leslie’s Directions for Cookery by Eliza Leslie, Philadelphia, 1851.
Comment: Chocolate in this period was normally sold much like sugar was, in large solid blocks in stores from which the merchant would chop or hack off a piece if the customer did not wish to purchase the whole thing. “Rich milk” was what would today be called whole milk, from which none of the cream had been removed.
We do not know if the mention of “Baker’s prepared cocoa” was an unsolicited testimonial of personal appreciation or an early form of what is now called a “product placement ad” for which the grateful company provided the author with a (monetary) expression of gratitude. In either case the “Baker’s Chocolate” products found in stores today is made by the corporate descendant of the same company Miss Leslie was so fond of. And no, they have not paid us anything for this mention of their company.
1 qt. milk
Sticks of cinnamon OR three peach leaves
6 eggs, beaten
2 tbs. white sugar
Put a quart of milk into a tin pail or a pitcher that holds two quarts; set it into a kettle of hot water. Tin is better than earthen, because it heats so much quicker. Put in a few sticks of cinnamon, or three peach leaves. When the milk foams up as if nearly boiling, stir in six eggs which have been beaten, with two spoonfuls of white sugar; stir it every instant, until it appears to thicken a little. Then take out the pail, and pour the custard immediately into a cold pitcher, because the heat of the pail will cook the part of the custard that touches it, too much, so that it will curdle. This is a very easy way of making custards, and none can be better. But in order to have them good, you must attend to nothing else until they are finished. You may make them as rich as you choose. A pint of milk, a pint of cream, and eight eggs will make them rich enough for any epicure. So, on the other hand, they are very good with three or four eggs only to a quart of milk, and no cream.
From The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M.H.] Cornelius, 1863
Comment: As few of us keep tin pails around as cooking utensils these days, it will probably be easier to make this recipe in a double boiler since that is the technique in question here. Custard usually suggests nowadays a semi-solid pudding, eaten with a spoon, but this one is thin enough that it could serve as a drink. Commercially packaged “boiled custard,” indeed a drink, is found in stores in the South in the same part of the dairy case, and at the same time of year, as eggnog. The two drinks are indeed similar in many ways, although eggnog is spicier and goes better with brandy.
1 lb. coconut, grated
1 pint whole milk
6 oz. white sugar
6 eggs, whites separated from yolks
To a pound of grated cocoa-nut allow a pint of unskimmed milk, and six ounces of white sugar. Beat very light the yolks of six eggs. Stir them gradually into the milk, alternately with the cocoa-nut and sugar. Put the mixture into a pitcher; set it in a vessel of boiling water; place it on hot coals, and simmer it till it is very smooth and thick; stirring it all the time. As soon as it comes to a hard boil, take it off the fire; pour it into a large bowl, and set it out to cool. When cold, put it into glass cups. Beat to a stiff froth the white of egg that was left, and pile it on the custards.
From Miss Leslie’s Directions for Cookery by Eliza Leslie, 1851
Comment: The advice to “put the pitcher in a vessel of boiling water” would today be phrased simply as “cook in a double boiler” which prevents the eggs from curdling or cooking before they have time to blend smoothly with the other ingredients. Those who have never made pudding from scratch are usually surprised as much by how easy it is, as by how much better the resulting dessert is than “puddings” made from powders in a little box.
Eliza Leslie was the premier cook and cookbook writer of the middle 19th century, rather as Julia Child was to the 20th. Her first book, Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats, was published in 1828 under the authorship of “A Lady of Philadelphia” since the conventions of the time did not consider book authorship a suitable profession for a “proper” woman. It sold like, you should pardon the expression, hotcakes, and Miss Leslie was soon in a position to claim the credit of authorship on her subsequent books to which she was entitled.
Her works are entirely enjoyable to the modern reader as she was one of the few of the time who did not intersperse her recipes with moralistic hectoring, lectures on the proper treatment of servants, diatribes on the evils of alcohol, tips on childrearing and husband-pleasing, or similar irrelevancies.