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Orange Cream

The orange wine will want our care soon. But in the meantime, for elegance and ease and luxury, the Hattons and Milles’ dine here to-day, and I shall eat ice and drink French wine, and be above vulgar economy. Luckily the pleasures of friendship, of unreserved conversation, of similarity of taste and opinions, will make good amends for orange wine.
-Jane Austen to Cassandra
June 30, 1808

By Jane Austen’s day, oranges were no longer a novelty, though they were certainly an expensive delight. Orange Marmalade, also known as Dundee Marmalade, was developed in Scotland and so popular that, by 1797,  James Keiller and his mother Janet opened a factory to produce “Dundee Marmalade”,a preserve distinguished by thick chunks of bitter Seville orange rind. The business prospered, and remains a signature marmalade producer today. Martha Lloyd’s household book contains a recipe for “Scotch Marmalade” and the Austen’s were known to bottle their own Orange Wine.

There are no reports of sweet oranges occurring in the wild. In general, it is believed that sweet orange trees have originated in Southeast Asia, northeastern India or southern Chinaand that they were first cultivated in China around 2500 BC.

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Bread and Butter Pudding with Currants

Bread and Butter puddingBread and Butter Pudding with Currants Bread and Butter pudding is a bread-based dessert popular in many countries’ cuisine, including that of Ireland, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Malta, Argentina, Louisiana Creole, and the southern United States. In other languages, its name is a translation of “bread pudding” or even just “pudding”, for example “pudín” or “budín” in Spanish; also in Spanish another name is “migas” (crumbs). There is no fixed recipe, but it is usually made using stale (usually left-over) bread, and some combination of ingredients like milk, egg, suet, sugar or syrup, dried fruit, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, mace or vanilla. The bread is soaked in the liquids, mixed with the other ingredients, and baked. It may be served with a sweet sauce of some sort, such as whiskey sauce, rum sauce, or caramel sauce, but is typically sprinkled with sugar and eaten warm in squares or slices. In Canada it is often made with maple syrup. In Malaysia, bread pudding is eaten with custard sauce. In Hong Kong, China, bread pudding is usually served with vanilla cream dressing. This recipe for “Bread and Butter Pudding” comes from Maria Eliza Ketleby Rundell’s  A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1814, and features currants in a starring role.   The following recipe is reprinted with permission from “Table for 2…or More” Butter Bread Pudding (serves 1-2, depends on who much one can eat) Few slices of French loaf, about ¼ of a stick Some butter softened (more…)
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Mrs. Musgrove’s Christmas Pudding

 Immediately surrounding Mrs. Musgrove were the little Harvilles, whom she was sedulously guarding from the tyranny of the two children from the Cottage, expressly arrived to amuse them. On one side was a table occupied by some chattering girls, cutting up silk and gold paper; and on the other were tressels and trays, bending under the weight of brawn and cold pies, where riotous boys were holding high revel; the whole completed by a roaring Christmas fire, which seemed determined to be heard, in spite of all the noise of the others. Charles and Mary also came in, of course, during their visit, and Mr. Musgrove made a point of paying his respects to Lady Russell, and sat down close to her for ten minutes, talking with a very raised voice, but from the clamour of the children on his knees, generally in vain. It was a fine family-piece. -Persuasion Plum Puddings have long been associated with the Christmas Season. In this recipe, as in most other “Plumb” recipes of the time, raisins take the place of the plums or prunes modern cooks would expect. Christmas pudding really came into its own in Victorian times, finally being immortalized in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. This recipe calls for a melted butter sauce; the flaming brandy sauce now so common was a later addition.  It is also a lighter color than later recipes, with their treacle, molasses and brandy; it is meant to be served fresh, instead of kept for weeks (more…)
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Cassandra Austen’s Baked Custard

“Mrs. Bates, let me propose your venturing on one of these eggs. An egg boiled very soft is not unwholesome. Serle understands boiling an egg better than anybody. I would not recommend an egg boiled by anyone else – but you need not be afraid, they are very small, you see – one of our small eggs will not hurt you. Miss Bates, let Emma help you to a little bit of tart – a very little bit. Ours are all apple-tarts. You need not be afraid of unwholesome preserves here. I do not advise the custard. Mrs. Goddard, what say you to half a glass of wine? A small half-glass, put into a tumbler of water? I do not think it could disagree with you.” Mr. Woodhouse, Emma by Jane Austen   Cassandra Austen was Jane Austen’s dearest friend and confidant, as well as her only sister. Much of what we know of Austen’s personal life is the result of the letters exchanged between these sisters over the course of Jane Austen’s life. Custards, rich concoctions of milk, eggs and spices have been made for centuries. The basic recipe is the base of many other dishes including baked meats, frozen ices and crème desserts. It is simple to prepare and loved by both children and adults, though Mr. Woodhouse certainly felt obliged to recommend against it.   A Custard Sweeten a quart of new milk to your taste; grate in a little nutmeg, beat up eight eggs well (leaving (more…)
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Let them eat [Cheese]cake!

cheesecakeOur journey yesterday went off exceedingly well; nothing occurred to alarm or delay us… At Devizes we had comfortable rooms and a good dinner, to which we sat down about five; amongst other things we had asparagus and a lobster, which made me wish for you, and some cheesecakes, on which the children made so delightful a supper as to endear the town of Devizes to them for a long time. Jane to Cassandra 13, Queen’s Square, Friday (May 17) 1799 An ancient form of cheesecake may have been a popular dish in ancient Greece even prior to Romans’ adoption of it with the conquest of Greece.The earliest attested mention of a cheesecake is by the Greek physician Aegimus, who wrote a book on the art of making cheesecakes (πλακουντοποιικόν σύγγραμμα—plakountopoiikon suggramma). Cato the Elder’s De Agri Cultura includes recipes for two cakes for religious uses: libum and placenta. Of the two, placenta is most like most modern cheesecakes, having a crust that is separately prepared and baked. It is important to note that though these early forms are called cheese cakes, they differed greatly in taste and consistency from the cheesecake that we know today. To Make Almond Cheesecakes Take 1/2 lb. of blanch’d almonds pounded small with a spoonful of orange flower water, a lb of double refined sugar, 10 yokes of eggs well beat. Add the peels of two oranges or lemons (which must be boiled very tender). Then beat in a mortar very fine, then mix (more…)
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A Regency-Inspired Lemon Ice Recipe

lemon iceA Regency-Inspired Lemon Ice Recipe “The Hattons’ & Milles’ dine here today– & I shall eat Ice & drink French wine and be above Vulgar Economy.” Jane Austen July 1, 1808 Ice Cream has been enjoyed for hundreds of years. Some legends attribute the first frozen dessert to Emperor Nero, of Rome. It was a mixture of snow (which he sent his slaves into the mountains to retrieve) nectar, fruit pulp, and honey. Another theory states that Marco Polo, 13th century bard and adventurer, brought recipes (said to be used in Asia for thousands of years) for water ices to Europe from the Far East. Whatever the story, it is now an established treat- not just in the summer (or winter when ice is plentiful)- but all year long. Traditional ice cream was not invented until sometime in the 1830’s. In fact, the Ice Cream Maker wasn’t even patented until 1843 (by a woman, no less!) Even still it was a popular treat among those who could afford it. During his reign in the 1600s, King Charles I of England offered a cook a job for life if he made him ice cream and kept it a secret. George Washington loved ice cream so much that he ran up a $200 bill for the dessert treat one summer in the late 1700s and Dolly Madison served ice cream in the White House at the second inaugural ball in 1812. The key factor in the manufacture of ice cream was ice. (more…)
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Jam Tartlets

The Queen of Hearts She made some tarts,     All on a summer’s day; The Knave of Hearts He stole those tarts,     And took them clean away. The King of Hearts Called for the tarts,     And beat the knave full sore; The Knave of Hearts Brought back the tarts,     And vowed he’d steal no more. “The Queen of Hearts” is a poem based on the characters found on playing cards, by an anonymous author, originally published with three lesser-known stanzas, “The King of Spades”, “The King of Clubs”, and “The Diamond King”, in the British publication The European Magazine, no. 434, in April 1782.However, Iona and Peter Opie have argued that there is evidence to suggest that these other stanzas were later additions to an older poem. There has been speculation about a model for the Queen of Hearts. In The Real Personage of Mother Goose, Katherine Elwes Thomas claims the Queen of Hearts was based on Elizabeth of Bohemia. Benham, in his book Playing Cards: History of the Pack and Explanations of its Many Secrets, notes that French playing cards from the mid-17th century have Judith from the Hebrew Bible as the Queen of Hearts. However, according to W. Gurney Benham, a scholar who researched the history of playing cards: “The old nursery rhyme about the Knave of Hearts who stole the tarts and was beaten for so doing by the King, seems to be founded on nothing more than the fact that ‘hearts’ rhymes with ‘tarts’.” The poem’s story (more…)
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Baked Apple Pudding

I am glad the new cook begins so well. Good Apple Pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness. Jane to Cassandra 17 October, 1815 In 1660 Robert May published The Accomplisht Cook, which became the most important cook book of it’s time. Robert was a professional chef who had trained in Paris. Catering to the aristocracy, he introduced many new recipes at a time when English cuisine was just beginning to borrow from the French. One of his recipes, A Made Dish of Butter and Eggs, was gradually modified (the original called for 24 egg yolks!) into Marlborough Pie (or Marlborough Pudding), and taken to the new world by the pilgrims. This recipe soon became a Thanksgiving favorite and remains so, to this day. Martha Lloyd, Jane Austen’s Sister in-law , kept a similar recipe in her Household Book. A Baked Apple Pudding (with Pastry) Take a dozen of pippens, pulp them through your cullender, take six eggs, sugar enough to make sweet, the rind of two lemons grated, a 1/4 of a lb of butter (melted with flour or water). Squeeze the juice of the two lemons, let the apples be cold before the ingredients are put together. Make a puff paste in the bottom of the dish, half an hour bakes it. Martha Lloyd’s Household Book Marlborough Pie 1 1/2 cup applesauce 3 Tbs. butter, melted 1 cup sugar, or to taste 1/2 tsp. salt 3 Tbs. lemon juice 1 tsp. lemon rind, grated 4 eggs, (more…)