Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category
4 lb. flour
1 lb. butter
1 lb. sugar
1 pint milk
1/2 pint yeast (use 2 cakes or packets commercial yeast)
Carroway seeds as desired
Four pound flour, 1 pound butter, 1 pound sugar, 6 eggs, 1 pint milk, half pint yeast; mix the flour and sugar with carroway seed, melt the butter, and with the milk mix it all together; bake them quick.
From American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, 2nd edition, Albany NY 1796
Comment: This recipe is so old that the original book uses spellings with the “medial S,” a now (thankfully) obsolete letter resembling a lower case “f”. Assuming that our readers do not wish to wade through directions like “1 pound fugar” and “half pint yeaft,” we have taken the liberty of modernizing things a bit.
“Bake them quick” does not mean to tear through the process as if you were trying to set a speed record, it means to use a hot oven. We suggest trying 400 degrees, checking them frequently, and removing when they appear done, then noting the time required for future reference in case they prove popular and you want to make them again.
The fact that yeast is involved suggests that after mixing this dough should be given some time to rise, but since Ms. Simmons does not make mention of any such thing we can only shrug helplessly and leave the matter to the discretion of the cook.
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.
2 pints milk
8 oz. cream
small piece vanilla bean
12 oz. sugar
Two pints of milk, eight ounces of cream, four grains of vanilla, twelve ounces of sugar, split the vanilla [bean], and cut it into small pieces; beat it with a little sugar in a marble mortar till it becomes powdered;
put it into a stew-pan or skillet, with the milk, cream, and sugar; let them boil till the whole is sufficiently thick, then strain through a cloth, and pour into a bowl to cool.
From “Madame de Genlis” in The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge, 1847
Comment: “Madame de Genlis’” term for the quantity of vanilla to be used here is a bit unclear. A “grain” was indeed a unit of measurement, but a very small one: 20 grains made a scruple, three scruples made a drachm (or “dram”) and it took eight drachms to make an ounce. So “four grains” would hardly seem to be enough to flavor this quantity of milk, cream and sugar. We leave the matter to the discretion of the cook. Additionally, it would seem like the author has taken for granted the final step of putting the recipe through an ice-cream freezer (which were perfectly well known in the 19th century) as the resulting product would otherwise be known as “vanilla pudding.”
It was quite common in 19th century cookbooks for individual recipes to be attributed to a specific source, usually a person known to the author or otherwise locally famous for superior cookery skills. This added a touch of uniqueness to what was otherwise just a collection of the same receipts as were carried in every other cookbook in the store. It also gave both author and donor a shot at a bit of fame in a time when this was a rare opportunity for women. “Respectable” women, at any rate.
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.
1 lb. sugar
1 pint cream
1 lb. flour
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. brandy
Beat six eggs very light, sift into them a pound of loaf sugar powdered, and a light pound of flour, with half a grated nutmeg, and a glass of brandy; beat all together very well, add a pint of cream, pour it in a deep dish, and bake it–when done, sift some powdered sugar over it.
From The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph, 1860 edition.
Comment: The “powdered sugar” called for here is not the very fine product sold under that name today. In the 19th century sugar was sold in solid form, usually large cones, as that was the form in which they came from the manufacturing sugar mills. These were often too large for most customers to store conveniently so city merchants might break pieces off to sell separately, but this still required the cook to subdivide it further.
A hammer and chisel might be used to knock off chunks of various sizes, but if the sugar was intended for a recipe such as this these chunks would themselves have to be processed with a grater or a mortar and pestle. Grating gave a result much like plain granulated sugar of today, while the mortar and pestle could grind to whatever degree of fineness was called for.
Here the sugar that goes into the pudding itself can probably be of the granulated sort, while a finer grind, like powdered sugar of today, would be used for the final topping
1 lb. sugar
2 lb. flour
1 tbs. ground coriander
3/4 lb. butter
1/2 c. brandy
Mix a pound of sugar, with two pounds of flour, and a large spoonful of pounded coriander seeds; sift them, add three quarters of a pound of melted butter, six eggs, and a gill of brandy; knead it well, roll it thin, cut it in shapes, and bake without discoloring [browning] it.
From The Virginia Housewife by Mary Randolph, 1824
Comment: We once had a call from a reader looking for a recipe she remembered her grandmother making long ago. She described the resulting item and said as best she remembered it had been called “Strawberry Cake” despite containing no strawberries at all. Much puzzlement ensued, until we turned up this one. Gratification was intense among all parties.
While Mrs. Randolph would have you bake this item but not brown it, it may be a bit difficult to tell when exactly it is done. Some experimentation may be called for, but try to keep them as pale as possible without leaving the insides raw.
This is a very old recipe of English origin, as can be told by the title. Many towns in England have a “signature” food product, such as Bath Buns, Chantilly Basket and the like. No municipality has yet staked a claim on Toad in the Hole, nor Bangers and Mash, but again, further research may be called for. We shall prepare a grant application forthwith to fund the project.