We’ll be making a carrot pudding during our hearth cooking class,
“A Simple Mid-Day Meal,” this coming Saturday at The Israel Crane
House. Of course, my favorite receipt (recipe) will be used, which
as my regular readers know, is from Kidder’s Receipts for Pastry
and Cookery (1740s). And it calls for the use of…Naples Biskets!
So, I’ve been busy baking. This time, however, just to mix things
up a bit, I decided to use a receipt that’s different from “my usual.“
I chose John Nott’s version from his The Cooks and Confectioners
Dictionary (1726). Incidentally, it’s the same receipt that we used
during the brick oven historic baking workshop at Ft. Lee this past
summer (as part of Deb Peterson’s Symposium). Now, one of the
major differences between this receipt and my “usual” is its use
of caroway seeds. Which, by the way, are to be “finely powdered.”
Yep, time to get out the mortar and pestle!
Nott’s receipt requires “double-refined Sugar,” as well. Superfine
Sugar found at most groceries is perfect to use, and I had some,
but, unfortunately, not enough. I really didn’t want to run out to
buy more, so I made my own:
I think you can see the difference. Here’s the “regular” sugar:
and the “pounded” or “powdered” sugar:
Finally, I was ready to mix up the Naples Bisket batter, pour it into
individual ramekins, and slide them into the oven:
In an effort to make it go faster, and so I wouldn’t have to bake
more batches than necessary, I used every ramekin I have, no
matter what the shape. Both ceramic and tin. In the end, however,
some worked better than others. (more on that later)
I think they turned out pretty well, yes?
Here’s Nott’s receipt:
To make Naples Biskets.
Take a Pound and half of fine Flour, and
as much double-refined Sugar, twelve Eggs,
three Spoonfuls of rose-water, and an Ounce
and half of Carraway-seeds finely powdered,
mix them all well together with Water; then
put them into tin-plates, and bake them
in a moderate Oven, dissolve some Sugar
in Water, and glaze them over.
(NOTE: I didn’t bother with the glaze.)
Now, a pound and a half of flour is roughly the equivalent of six
cups in modern measurements. Which would mean a boat-load
of Naples Biskets! I really only need two, if that. Well, and maybe
a few for folks to try on Saturday. So I cut all the measurements
in half. I still ended up with a seemingly endless quantity. Doing
so made for a much more manageable batter, as well.
Of course, these taste quite differently than my “usuals.” It’s not
bad, just different. The caraway seeds lend a hint of rye bread,
of course. I did put in the rosewater. Sometimes I leave it out,
because, well, it’s just over-powering. Reminds me of the smell
of ladies “lounges” (restrooms) back in the day of such things.
But it wasn’t bad. In fact, I hardly noticed it. Maybe the caraway
taste helps to mask it? The tops of them are interesting, too.
Even without the glaze, they still kinda shine (see photo above).
They easily flake off, as well. Not good! And I usually don’t have
trouble getting them out of the baking dishes, but I had a heck
of a time with these. I didn’t butter them at first, but even when
I did, they still stuck like glue. Not sure what that’s all about. Ahh
well, I may just stick with the other receipt from now on!
In any event, it was fun to try something different. And we’ll
definitely put these Naples Biskets to good use this weekend.
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