Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category
3 c. flour
3 c. sugar
3 cups of flour, 3 cups of sugar, and ten eggs.
Transactions of the Wisconsin State Agriculture Society–1860
Comment: Yes, that’s the entire recipe, as published in the booklet which was commonly issued after state fairs in those days. (Most of the pamphlet was taken up with lists of the winners in the various categories of livestock competitions, vegetable competitions, flower arrangements and the like, with prominent note of the names of various elected officials and similar exalted citizens who presented the awards. ) Exactly what to do with these ingredients to produce a prize-winning sponge cake was left to the experience of the cook, a tradition we have little choice but to continue.
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.
1 lb. potato flour
1/2 lb. brown sugar
1/2 c. cream
Rind of 1 lemon, grated
Take one pound of potato flour, half a pound of the best brown sugar, a teacupful of cream, two eggs, and the rind of a citron [lemon], grated. Mix the flour with the cream; then add the eggs, well beaten, the sugar and the lemon; whisk them all together fifteen or twenty minutes, and bake in cheese-cake tins in a moderate oven.
The Hydropathic Cook-Book by R. T. Trall, M.D. 1854
Comment: The Hydropathic Cook-Book is a now-extremely-rare survivor of what was once a vast and thriving segment of the publishing business and indeed the “medical” industry. Sylvester Graham (b. 1794) was perhaps the founding father of this phase of the Better Living Through Diet philosophy. The only item which still bears his name is the “graham cracker,” and lamentably enough it bears no trace of his whole-wheat, no-sugar dietary scheme.
Similarly, these “Frost Cakes” are without question the sexiest items in “Dr.” Trall’s book. As the name hints, without directly admitting, they were intended as substitutes for Christmas cookies, pies, cakes and sweets in general. One batch of these small cakes would give a hard core adherent of the Hydropathic Diet a sugar rush the likes of which we can hardly imagine, since it would be just about the only sugar she or he got all year long. Whether it was sufficient to make up for having potato flour as the base ingredient is another question.
2 oz. almonds
1 tbs. orange-flower or rose water
1 pint cream
1 oz. unflavored gelatine
1 c. milk
1/2 c. sugar
Blanche the almonds and, when cold, pound them to a paste in a Wedgewood mortar, adding orange-flower or rose-water to prevent oiling. Hear the milk to boiling, put in the gelatine, the sugar and almonds, and stir five minutes, or until they are thoroughly dissolved. Strain through thin muslin, pressing the cloth well. When cool, beat in the cream, a little at a time, with an egg-whip, or churn in a syllabub-churn until thick and stiff. Wet your mould, put in the mixture, and let it stand seven or eight hours in a cold place.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: To blanche almonds, put them in something like a small strainer or cloth bag and dunk them in boiling water for a couple of minutes. When cooled, rub them between your hands to remove the brown coating. If your almonds are already peeled you can go straight to the mortar-pounding, or cheat and use a blender. Rose water and orange-flower water were once very commonly used in fancy cooking but nowadays are most often found in markets catering to a Middle Eastern clientele.
While a mortar and pestle is still easily acquired (the Wedgewood version may be a tad on the expensive side but is not really required) the matter of the syllabub-churn is considerably more challenging. It is basically an almost micro-miniature sized butter churn and even many antique dealers have never seen one. An old-fashioned hand-cranked eggbeater would probably do the trick, but avoid the electric variety unless you can set it to turn very slowly.
Six whites of eggs
Six large table-spoonfuls of jelly
A pint of cream
Put the jelly and white of egg into a pan, and beat it together with a whisk, till it becomes a stiff froth, and stands alone. Have ready the cream, in a broad shallow dish. Just before you sent it to table, pile up the froth in the centre of the cream.
From Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats by “A Lady of Philadelphia” (Eliza Leslie), Philadelphia, 1828.
Comment: This would have been a pleasant dish for an afternoon tea at which a guest you wished to impress would be attending. It could be made today in no time flat with the benefit of electric mixers, were it not for the tragic fact that just as such utensils were becoming commonplace, the custom of afternoon tea rather faded into oblivion. Beating jelly into egg whites to the point where they form a “stiff froth” was a considerable amount of labor when it had to be done entirely by hand.
2 tbs. farina
1 pint milk
1/4 to 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Lemon or nutmeg
Two table-spoonfuls of farina, a pint of milk, two eggs, a small cup of sugar, and a half teaspoonful of salt; flavor with lemon or nutmeg. To mix it, set the milk in a pail into a kettle of hot water. When the top of the milk foams up, stir in the farina gradually, and add the salt. Let it remain in the kettle ten of fifteen minutes, and stir it repeatedly. Take the pail from the kettle, beat the eggs and sugar together, and stir them in; add the essence, and pour the mixture into a buttered dish. Bake half an hour or forty minutes. No sauce is necessary.
The Young Housekeeper’s Friend by Mrs. [M. H.] Cornelius, 1863
Comment: Farina is a finely ground flour of great antiquity but of surprisingly vague definition. While it can be made from any grain, most available versions are made of wheat. “Cream of Wheat” cereal, once very popular and still available in most places, is essentially farina.
We should point out that it is not really necessary to go out and buy a pail in order to make this recipe. The technique of indirect heating is what is accomplished by the use of a double boiler. It must be remembered that “pudding” did not mean in the 19th century what it does today.