Saturday, November 15, 2014

HFF #12: If they had it...

The Challenge: Make a food that is older than you expected.

The Recipe: To Make a Fondue (From Mrs. Beeton's)

Date/Year & Region: 1861, British

How Did You Make It:  (Made half-scale) Weigh 1 egg for reference(2 oz); measure out 2 oz of butter, 2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese.  Separate two eggs, beat the whites to a light froth and set aside. Beat egg yokes with grated cheese and chopped butter.  Salt and pepper added to taste (guessed). Fold in egg whites.  Bake 15 min at 350 F.  Serve immediately.

Time to Complete: 20 min

Total Cost: $1.92 for a half-size (cost of eggs, butter, cheese)

How Successful Was It: Yummy; like a very light and cheese-y omelette.  Next time, I would cut the butter a bit finer before mixing, or possibly reduce the amount (there were some little pockets of melted butter which hadn't incorporated.

How Accurate Was It: Directions followed to a nicety.  As noted, I did make this batch half-sized, and opted to bake it in a glass bowl (the receipt called for a souffle pan or cake tin).  The definition of "fondue" has evidently changed a bit in the last 150 years.

Fondue from Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

HFF #11: Foods Named After People

Going the easy route with Mrs. Beeton's Victoria Sandwiches (ie, Victoria Sponge/ Victoria Cake, not that either of those terms is showing up on Google books up to 1890).

The Challenge: Make a food that is named after someone.

The Recipe: Victoria Sandwiches

Date/Year & Region: 1861, British

How Did You Make It:  Weighed 4 eggs (10 oz including shells for 4 AA large eggs).  Beat the eggs.  Creamed 10 oz. of butter.  Added 10 oz. each of sugar and flour to the butter and incorporated thoroughly.  Mixed in eggs and continued mixing the entire thing for about 10 minutes, making a fluffy sort of batter.  Baked at 350F for about 30 minutes (called for 20 on a moderate oven, could have probably used a few more minutes).  Sliced cake in half, spread with blackberry preserves, and replaced upper portion; cut into slices (sandwiches).

Time to Complete: About 20 minutes prep, 30-35 to bake, and another 5 to arrange.

Total Cost: Uncertain.  About $4.

How Successful Was It: Tastes alright. Plain and somewhat dense for a cake (as expected, given the ingredients), but nice.  I could see this making a lovely strawberry shortcake.  The density made the cutting step neater and less crumbly than I expected it to be.  The preserves did squish around when sliced, so I'd be tempted to slice the piece next time before halving and adding the filling.

How Accurate Was It: Pretty good.  Lacking a 'yorkshire pudding' tin (which has apparently changed shape in the last 150 years), I opted for a square glass cake pan.  Based on how long it was taking to cook through, I would next time try it with a casserole dish or sheet cake pan, making a thinner cake.  I also realized half-way through that "pounded sugar" probably meant powdered rather than granulated, but it turned out alright.

Victoria sponge cake sandwiches, 1861 recipe.