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Archive for November, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ONE AND ALL.

HUZZAH!

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Okay. Back to my Yorkshire Pudding experiment. Sorry for the delay.
Although, you didn’t miss too much, as I only did one other! Now,
as you may recall (or not!), I used an 18th century receipt (recipe)
for the previous pudding (from Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery).
I decided to jump ahead a few years, into the early 19th century,
for the second and selected the following from The Cook’s Oracle,
by William Kitchiner, M.D. (1831; first edition published 1817):

Yorkshire Pudding under Roast Meat,
the Gipsies’ way—(No. 529).

This pudding is an especially excellent
accompaniment to Sir-loin of Beef,—Loin
of Veal,—or any fat and juicy joint. Six
table-spoonsful of flour, three eggs,
a tea-spoonful of salt, and a pint
of milk—so as to make a middling
stiff batter, a little stiffer than you
would for pancakes; beat it up well,
and take care it is not lumpy; put
a dish under the meat, and let the
drippings drop into it till it is quite
hot and well greased; then pour in
the batter;—when the upper surface
is brown and set, turn it that both
sides may be brown alike; if you
wish it to cut firm, and the pudding
an inch thick, it will take two hours
at a good fire.
N.B. The true Yorkshire Pudding is about
half an inch thick when done; but it is
the fashion in London to make them
full twice that thickness.

TA-DA! Here it is:

This time, I followed the receipt as written (no halving of ingredients
or anything), as all the amounts were quite manageable. What was
interesting, however, is that this specifies “six table-spoonsful of flour,”
yet it also instructs the cook to make a “middling stiff batter,” and,
in fact, to make it:

a little stiffer than you
would for pancakes;

Really?! But with only six tablespoons of flour, that’s mighty difficult.
In fact, I’d say it’s nigh impossible! I used my reproduction pewter
“table spoon” to measure out the flour, and each spoonful was fairly
heaping. The resulting batter, however, was far from stiff, “middling”
or otherwise. I considered adding more flour, but I didn’t want to
deviate too much from the receipt. Besides, surely it was tested by
an assortment of 19th century cooks, yes? So maybe it was just my
mo-dern sensibilities of what constitutes “stiff”? Or…who knows?!
In any event, I just had to go with it and trust that it’d turn out
perfectly fine. And, lo and behold, it did! (see photo above)

Of course, as before, the cooking was done in my modern oven. No
telling how different things would’ve been if I’d been able to cook
either of my puddings as they would’ve been done centuries ago
(i.e. under roasting meat on a spit before a fire).

And then there are those three little words in the receipt’s title,
declaring this pudding is done per “the Gipsie’s way.” What does
that mean, exactly? What is the difference between how Gypsies
prepare it and how “regular” people do? How does that fit into
the equation? I have no idea, but I welcome any you may have!

However, it did seem a little egg-y. And a bit dense. It reminded
me of one of the quotes given with the Oxford English Dictionary’s
definition of Yorkshire Pudding:

1836
[Hooton] Bilberry Thurland 1. vii. 140
At the bottom of all…lay
about half an acre of sad
and heavy Yorkshire pudding,
like a leaden pancake.

It was, indeed, rather heavy and “like a leaden pancake”! But then,
the receipt DID say to mix up the batter “stiffer than you would for
pancakes”! So…I guess…”leaden” it is! Despite all that, however, it
tasted fine. It was even good re-heated the following day. Overall,
I deem it a success. Two Yorkshire Pudding receipts, both the same,
yet both different! HUZZAH!

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Here are the receipts (recipes) for the pumpkin pudding and
the apple tarts that I made recently at the Israel Crane House.
Both are from Amelia Simmons’ book American Cookery (1796).
As I mentioned previously, the fillings for each were cooked
down ahead of time. I used a basic pie crust, as well, rather
than the specific “pastes” that are given.

____________________

Pompkin.
No. I. One quart stewed and strained,
3 pints milk, six beaten eggs, sugar,
mace, nutmeg and ginger, laid into
paste No. 7, or 3, cross and chequer
it, and bake in dishes three quarters
of an hour.

Now, I only had about a pint of cooked pumpkin, so I cut this
receipt in half. In doing so, however, I think perhaps I erred
in the amounts of the other ingredients. I used three eggs
but I think two would’ve been enough. It IS a pudding, and
a custard-y one at that, but I thought the final result was
rather egg-y. And although I strained most of the cooked
pumpkin, I also left some of it chunky, hoping to make sure
the taste of it would be prominent. It might’ve been better,
however, to strain it all. Yet, at the same time, it was quite
good, as evidenced by those who had more than one piece!

____________________

Apple Tarts.
Stew and strain the apples, add cinnamon,
rose-water, wine and sugar to your taste,
lay in paste, No. 3. squeeze thereon orange
juice—bake gently.

I was very pleased at how these turned out. The apples were
tasty, so full of flavor, and the crust cooked just beautifully, very
light and flaky. And in this instance, retaining the chunky-ness
of the apples proved beneficial. They were so good, in fact,
that I even made a few more later at home!

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This past Sunday, I was once again cooking at the hearth
of the Israel Crane House over in Montclair, NJ. Despite
our recent Halloween snow storm and the lack of much
color on this area’s trees, it IS still fall! So I made these

season-appropriate dishes from American Cookery (1796)
by Amelia Simmons: a Pompkin [sic] pudding; and a few
Apple Tarts.

Now, due to limited weekend hours at the House, and
the fact that I have to lug my supplies over to Jersey
via public transportation, I did some prep work ahead
of time. Thus the pumpkin and the apples were pared,
cored, cut, and cooked down at home.

For the pudding, I had hoped to use a cheese pumpkin,
as it’s the most historically-correct. However, I couldn’t
find any (dagnabit!) this year, so I used a pie pumpkin.
A sugar pumpkin would work as well, although I’m not

sure that’s it not the exact same pumpkin. I’ve even seen
“use a sugar pie pumpkin” in some modern recipes! Your
common field pumpkins are probably not the best, as they
tend to be rather tough. Besides, they’re really only meant
for carving all those spooky jack o’lanterns.

For the tarts, I used Lady Apples, which have been around,
literally, for centuries. In fact, their first recorded use was
in Europe during the early 1600s. They were grown on this

continent, as well, and were highly popular from colonial times
into the 19th century. A fairly small apple, I’d say they’re much
more flavorful than other varieties. When they’re cooked down,
you can just smell the difference. It was amazing! Unfortunately,
they’re not widely available. I just happened on to them at one
of my local groceries, and so I bought several in order to make
these tarts.

OK. Enough of that. On to the cooking at Crane’s!

_______________

Everything’s on the table and ready to go:

First up, the Pompkin Pudding:

The pudding was indeed a pudding. It was light, airy, and
very custard-like. I’m not a fan of modern-day pumpkin pies,
as they tend to be dry and dense, but this…it was definitely
the opposite. HUZZAH!

We also offered up some lovely hot mulled cider:

Next, the Apple Tarts:

As you saw above, the pudding was similar to a pie in that
it had a crust (bottom only). I used the leftover dough to line
my tart pans:

The cooking’s done, the fire’s dying out. Time to head home.

____________________

NEXT: first, the recipes for the above and then (I promise!)
my other Yorkshire Pudding

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