Saturday, July 5, 2014

Historic Food Fortnightly, Challenge #3: Today in History

The Challenge: Today in History--make a dish associated with a particular date in history.  I took the lazy route, and decided to try a mid-19th century cherry pie recipe for the 4th of July (celebrating,  a la mode, 1860).
The Recipe: Cherry Pie from Practical American Cookery (1860)--I used the "puff paste" on page 150, since the pie receipt didn't specify which paste to use, and I didn't particularly want to use suet.
The Date/Year and Region: 1860, American (San Francisco)
How Did You Make It:  For the paste, cut 1/4 lb. butter into 1 lb flour, work in water until a paste is formed. Allow paste to relax, then roll it out, layer on thinly sliced butter, fold paste over butter, and roll out again.  Repeat until 1 lb butter has been incorporated.  Line pie plate with paste, add pitted cherries, cover with molasses, and sprinkle with flour.  Place top crust, and bake.
Time to Complete:  Under 90 minutes, including baking
Total Cost:  Uncertain (most ingredients were on hand)
How Successful Was It: Not successful.  I liked the paste crust, but the filling was far too liquid--I probably should have added less molasses and much more flour.  No quantities were given in the receipt, but I thought I was erring on the low side... The taste of the molasses overwhelmed the cherries, and when I tried to move the pie, it tended to leak thin cherry-molasses liquid everywhere.
How Accurate Was It:  Receipt followed to a nicety.  I used 3 3/4 c. flour for 1 lb (based on the serving size information on the flour bag).  Baked at 350 F for 40 minutes, as baking directions were vague ("more than half an hour"), but a slightly longer time or hotter oven would probably have been better.

Cherry pie from 1860 recipe.

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