Tuesday, November 29, 2016

HFF 2.24: Redo!

The Challenge: Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Or, sometimes they go so well, you just want to do it again! Pick a challenge you already did and want to revisit, and try it once more.

I didn't actually use this receipt for an earlier challenge--I first tried it for the Candlelight Tour Dinner Party; the lemon cake from that event was used to fulfill challenge #10 in the first HFF round.  I realized half-way through that the pudding actually called for a pastry crust, and have been intending to remedy the error ever since.  Also, I wanted to experiment with less rosewater, as it was... overwhelming the first time.

The Receipt: Pumpkin Pudding from Miss Leslie's Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats
Half a pound of stewed pumpkin. Three eggs. Quarter of a pound of fresh butter or a pint of cream. Quarter of a pound of powdered white sugar. Half a glass of wine and brandy mixed. Half a glass of rose water. One tea spoonful of mixed spice nutmeg mace and cinnamon.  
Stew some pumpkin with as little water as possible. Drain it in a colander, and press it till dry. When cold weigh half a pound and pass it through a sieve. Prepare the spice. Stir together the sugar, and butter, or cream, till they are perfectly light. Add to them, gradually, the spice and liquor. 
Beat three eggs very light, and stir them into the butter and sugar alternately with the pumpkin.  
Cover a soup-plate with puff-paste and put in the mixture. Bake it in a moderate oven about half an hour.  
Grate sugar over it when cool.  
Instead of the butter, you may boil a pint of milk or cream, and when cold, stir into it, in turn, the sugar, eggs, and pumpkin. 
The Date/Year and Region: 1836 (9th edition), Boston

How Did You Make It: [I made a double receipt, ie two pie-sized puddings, as I had canned pumpkin to use up.] 

Creamed the butter and sugar in the electric mixer, then stirred in the spice (1/2 tsp mace, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1 tsp cinnamon), 1 wineglass of liquor (about 2 Tbsp brandy, topped off to about 4 oz with red table wine) and 1/4 cup of rosewater. [Last time, I could the "1/2 glass" to mean half a wineglass each of rosewater and of 50/50 wine/brandy.  The pudding ended up looking like pumpkin pie and tasting of rose...and only of rose.]  Beat six eggs and added them tot he mixture, along with a pound of pumpkin.

I made up puff paste (1 lb of flour, 1 cup, 1 lb of butter, made in the usual fashion--this was sufficient for two puddings and a generous plate of pie-crust cookies), lined two 9" pie plates with it, and poured in the pudding.  The pie tins were not particularly full, so 8" pans might work better in the future.  I baked it at 350F for about 40-50 minutes.  The pudding was basically solid at that point (if flooded with molten butter), though I'd be tempted next time to cook it at a slightly higher temperature or for a longer time.

Time to Complete: I didn't keep track.  It made up fairly quickly, and took about 40-50 minutes to bake.  Call it 1:15 at the most.

Total Cost: One pound of butter (for two puddings) on sale for $2, all other ingredients on hand.

How Successful Was It? Alright.  The rosewater wasn't as over-powering this time, which was a benefit.  That, combined with the red wine, gave it an "interesting flavor profile" in the opinion of my test subjects the people who tried it.  The general consensus was that it was alright, different, and not too sweet. I think that it could, perhaps, have used a few more minutes of baking time.

How Accurate Is It? I used the modern stove and kitchen utensils, and canned pumpkin. The spice and rosewater/wine proportions were estimated

Historical Food Fortnightly 1830s Pumpkin Pie/Pudding
Pumpkin Pudding, 1836

Friday, November 25, 2016

HFF 2.23: Sweet Sips and Potent Potables

I'm a little late posting this one.  In fairness, it was done within [four days of] the challenge fortnight.

The Challenge: Sweet Sips and Potent Potables

The Recipe: Posset  (page 168) from Cookery, Rational, Practical and Economical, Treated in Connexion with the Chemistry of Food by Hartelaw Reid

Posset consists of hot wine added to custard (see page 107) the whole being well mixed by pouring it alternately from one vessel to another. It is generally made with canary or sack wine and called Sack Posset. 
Page 107:
Custard Sauce for Sweet Puddings and Fruit Pies or Tarts--Heat in a very clean saucepan till just about to boil a pint of new milk. Beat together in a basin the yolk of two eggs, a little cream and some pounded loaf sugar. Pour over this the hot milk and immediately return the whole to the saucepan and continue pouring it from the saucepan into the basin and back again until thoroughly mixed. Lastly return it to the saucepan set it over the fire and stir it continually till nearly boiling. Serve it cold in a glass dish or jug with nutmeg grated over the top.

According to Wikipedia, Canary or sack wine is a fortified white wine, such as sherry.

The Date/Year and Region: 1855, London

How Did You Make It: As instructed, I warmed 1 pint of milk until almost boiling, meanwhile mixing two eggs, 1/3 cup cream, and 1/3 cup granulated sugar (quantities guessed).  I poured the milk into the mixture, poured everything back into the pan, and repeated pouring.  I then heated up the whole mixture to almost-boiling, then set it aside to thicken.  While it cooled (in the freezer), I heated a bottle of sherry on the stove.  When the custard was cool, I poured the sherry into it, and repeated the pouring twice more until it was thoroughly mixed.

Time to Complete: I didn't note the time.  A bit over an hour, perhaps?

Total Cost: Ingredients on hand.

How Successful Was It?: Not very.  It ended up somewhat grainy in texture, and didn't taste particularly noteworthy--mostly just like sherry.  Perhaps it would work better with different quantities of cream and sugar in the custard?  Or with the right kind of wine?  I probably won't be making this again.  In fact, all of the recipes I try which contain sherry end unsuccessfully, so I probably will avoid it in the future.

How Accurate Is It?: Usual disclaimer about using modern heat sources.

Posset, 1855 recipe

Friday, November 4, 2016

Quilt Idea

Squirelling this design away for when I have more time. I've been meaning to do a red-on-white appliqué quilt at some point...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

HFF 2.22: Soups, Stews and Porridges

The Challenge: Whether it’s a delicate broth or a hearty porridge, if it’s served in a bowl, it’s fair game!

The Receipt:  Chicken Soup from Mrs. Hale's New Cook Book (page 56)
Chicken Soup Cut up a large fowl, and boil it well in milk and water; thicken with cream, butter, and flour. Add vegetables of different kinds cut in small pieces such as potatoes, turnips, the heart of cabbage, one or two onions, celery, &c, with thyme, parsley, cayenne or black pepper, and mace. Boil all together and just before you dish it, add wine, or a little lemon juice, and salt to your taste.
The Date/Year and Region: 1859, Philadelphia

How Did You Make It: As no measurements are given, I guessed on all of them--with variable results. Carved up a pre-cooked chicken (very badly), and boiled the meat in 4 cups of water and 4 cups of skim milk for about two hours.  Strained the broth through a cloth, then added the meat back it (to ensure that any bones or other fragments were removed). Added 1/2 c. of cream, 3 Tbsp butter, and about 1/2 c. of flour.  Sliced and added 4 small russet potatoes, 1 turnip, half of a large onion, and half of a head of cabbage.  At this point, I added another 2-3 cups of water, as the broth had boiled down.  Flavored with 1/2 tsp mace, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp dried thyme, and 1 Tbsp parsley flakes.  Added 1 cup of white wine before serving 

Time to Complete: Several hours.

Total Cost: Uncertain.

How Successful Was It? Too much cayenne pepper.  It smelled very nice--primarily of chicken and mace--but all I could taste was the cayenne.  I would like to try this again starting without about 1/8 tsp of cayenne (or switching to black pepper) and slowly adding more.

How Accurate Is It? I used the modern stove and kitchen utensils, but otherwise kept to period ingredients and techniques. 
1859 Mrs. Hale's Chicken Soup
Chicken soup in progress.