Friday, September 9, 2016

HFF #2.18: Let's Get Saucy!

The Challenge: They can be the perfect addition to a delicious dish, the crowning glory, or stand on their own. Make your best sauce and show us how to use it!

The Receipt: Sweet Pudding Sauce  from Modern Household Cookery by Sarah Josepha Hale (page 54-55)
Boil together for fifteen minutes the thin rind of half a small lemon, an ounce and a half of fine sugar, and a wine glassful of water; then take out the lemon peel and mix very smoothly an ounce of butter with rather more than half a teaspoonful of flour; stir them round in the sauce until it has boiled one minute; next add a wine glassful and a half of sherry, or Madeira, or two thirds of that quantity and a quarter of a glass of brandy; when quite hot serve the sauce. Port wine sauce is made in the same way with the addition of a dessert spoonful of lemon juic,e some grated nutmeg, and a little more sugar; orange rind and juice may be used to give it flavour when preferred to lemon. Rind: half a lemon. sugar: one and a half ounce, water: one wine glassful; fifteen minutes. Butter: one ounce, flour: large half teaspoonful; one minute. Wine: one and a half wine glassful or one of wine and a quarter of a glass of brandy. 

To go under it: a plain rice pudding (page 223 of the same):
Wash well and pick eight ounces of rice, and put it into a deep dish with two quarts of milk; add to this two ounces of butter, four ounces of sugar, and a little cinnamon or nutmeg, ground; mix them well together and bake in a very slow oven. It will take about two hours.
The Date/Year and Region: 1854, London

How Did You Make It:  Mixed 8 oz of rice, 4 oz of sugar, approximately 1/3 of a nutmeg (grated) and a scant 2 oz of butter [estimated] in a pan, then poured over about 1.5 quarts of skim milk until the pan was full.  Stirred, then placed mixture in an oven pre-heated to 300F.  Baked about 2.5 hours, until rice was cooked, though the liquid in the pudding was not completely evaporated at that time.

Brought to boil on the stove 4 oz of water containing 1 oz of granulated sugar and the peel of half of a small lemon.  Allowed to boil for almost 15 minutes*, at which point very little of the original liquid remained.  Added approximately 1 oz of butter and a generous 1/2 tsp of flour to the pan, stirring all the while; added 6 oz of sherry and kept the sauce on low heat until ready to serve.

*The first time I attempted this, I went the whole 15 minutes, and ended up with a pan of charred sugar.  The liquid volume is reduced to almost nothing at that point, so I erred on the side of caution with the second batch.

Time to Complete: Nearly 3 hours.

Total Cost: Ingredients on hand.

How Successful Was It? Excepting the inedible cherry pie from year one, this was probably my worst HFF dish to date.  

Despite the decreased quantity of milk, there was a lot of extra liquid in the rice pudding.  Nonetheless, the rice cooked nicely, and while it did not taste bad, the pudding somewhat bland and generally uninspiring.  The sauce basically tasted like sherry with some butter--unfortunately, the lemon flavor didn't come through at all.  The general effect was both rich and insipid.  I'm not in a hurry to try this one again.

Edit: After leaving the rest of the pudding in the cooling oven, it did eventually solidify.

How Accurate Is It? I didn't deviate from the instructions, except in reducing the amount of milk by 1/4, and having to estimate the butter quantities.

Rice pudding with sweet sauce, Sarah Hale's Modern Household Cookery 1854
It tasted better than it looks, but not enough to make it again.
Cranford fans: I ate it with a fork.

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