An anti-miserabilist approach to historical cooking

Tag: Apples (page 1 of 1)

Carolina Snowballs Re-do

Carolina Snowballs, recipe from 1858

Way back in 2015 I made a late nineteenth century recipe for Peach Snowballs from Mina Lawson’s The Antipodean Cookery Book. Even though the peaches tasted great, the rice didn’t form a homogeneous layer the way that it is supposed to (for good examples see Savoring the Past and World Turn’d Upside Down).

Peach Snowballs, recipe from 1895

Not very successful peach snowballs

These snowballs are sometimes called Carolina Snowballs, because they were made with Carolina gold rice, grown in Carolina and Georgia. This kind of rice is no longer widely available, but in recent years has been resurrected by the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation (and sold by Anson Mills) so I’ve been meaning to try this recipe again using the proper type of rice.

 

The story of Carolina Gold is well beyond the scope of this blog post (a good place to start is Karen Hess’ The Carolina Rice Kitchen: The African Connection) but it is impossible to write about this rice without acknowledging its deep entanglements with slavery (for which see Michael Twitty’s The Cooking Gene).

 

By at least 1690, rice was being raised in South Carolina and plantation owners made their fortunes by exploiting the experience that enslaved West African workers had of growing rice.[i] West African men brought expertise in constructing complex irrigation systems to control the level of water in the rice fields. The knowledge of how to grow the rice, as well as how to make and use the equipment necessary for processing came from the women who had traditionally cultivated and prepared the rice in West Africa.

 

Wet rice cultivation, as practiced in South Carolina and Georgia, was extremely profitable at the expense of enslaved workers’ health. Conducted knee-deep in murky water under an unrelenting sun, the work itself was exhausting, dangerous and never-ending. The water harbored a host of threats including snakes, alligators, parasites and biting insects which spread diseases like malaria.[ii] As Jennifer Morgan points out “Rice is among the most onerous and labor intensive food crops, and the duration of the growing season and the dangerous and repellent nature of the work placed it at the extreme end of any continuum of forced agricultural labor in the early Atlantic world.”[iii]

African style rice pounder

African style rice pounder at the Whitney Plantation in Louisiana

As in Western Africa, rice came to play a central role in the diet of the South, from the homes of the labourers themselves to the wealthiest tables where it was cooked, of course, by enslaved African cooks and African American domestic servants. The complex cuisine that resulted was a combination of West African and European traditions, creating a distinct style of rice cookery. As historian Michael Twitty enumerates, this includes:

“chicken pilau, breads, puddings, rice cakes, crab fried rice—rice as the necessary accompaniment to barbecue hash, okra soup, crawfish étoufée, and red beans, as they had in Saint-Domingue/Haiti—and sugar and rice for a quick breakfast; all come down to us through the centuries as legacies of this heritage. So also have soups made with peanuts or peanuts and oysters, benne (sesame seed) and hot-pepper sauces, crab gumbos, and a battery of food with which the only acceptable accompaniment is rice cooked perfectly, with every grain steamed, separate and distinct.”[iv]

 

One of the maybe surprising results of this cuisine in the Carolina snowball. Possibly descended from the French bourdelot , an apple wrapped in pastry and boiled or baked, the snowball is an apple (or more rarely another type of fruit) wrapped in rice and boiled in a pudding cloth.[v]

 

What is really surprising is the longevity of this recipe; Hess quotes a recipe from The Lucayos Cook Book which might date back to as early as 1690, although the provenance of this manuscript isn’t great and it is unclear where the original is.[vi] At the very least, a recipe for Carolina Snow Balls in the eighth edition of Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery published in 1763, and similar recipes continued to be published well into the 1920s.[vii]

 

Probably the reason for this extraordinary perseverance is that this recipe is about as cheap and easy a dessert as you can make. While rice was an expensive and exotic product in the medieval period, it became considerably more available in the Early Modern period – exports from South Carolina alone increased from 10,407 pounds in 1698 to more than 72 million pounds in 1774.[viii]

 

As the price of rice dropped, this kind of dessert became much more achievable for middle class consumers (such as Glasse’s readers). The short list of ingredients, the simplicity of the method, limited equipment required, and the hot, filling result would all have appealed to housewives and cooks needing a sweet dish.

 

[i] Henry C. Dethloff, “The Colonial Rice Trade,” Agricultural History 56, no. 1 (1982): 232.

[ii] Michael W. Twitty, The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South (New York, NY: Amistad, 2017), 240.

[iii] Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (Philadelphia: University of Philadelphia Press, 2004), 162.

[iv] Twitty, The Cooking Gene, 262.

[v] Karen Hess, The Carolina Rice Kitchen: The African Connection (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1998), 146.

[vi] Hess, 144–45.

[vii] Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy; Which Far Exceeds Any Thing of the Kind yet Published … To Which Are Added, by Way of Appendix, One Hundred and Fifty New and Useful Receipts, and a Copious Index, 8th ed. (London: Printed for A. Millar [and others], 1763), http://archive.org/details/b30502500.

[viii] Dethloff, “The Colonial Rice Trade,” 234.

 

The Recipe

Capture

The version I’m following is from The Housekeeper and Gardener (1858) by Rebecca Upton. This is one recipe were it does really make a difference to have the right type of rice. On his blog, Kevin Carter suggests that medium grain rice is best but the Carolina Gold, which is a long grain rice, worked well for me (but other long grain rice did not). Make sure, if buying Carolina Gold that you buy the variety called Carolina Gold and not the brand Carolina Rice produced by Riviana Foods.

 

The recipe calls for two spoonfuls of rice, but how much is that? Two tbsp didn’t feel like enough to me, but I think that the 100 g I put in was maybe a little too much (James Townsend suggests ½ cup or about 115 g). The trickier bit is getting the rice evenly distributed, and smaller apples might help here.

IMG_8111

The Redaction

Carolina Snowballs

 

Per Snowball

1 large apple

Orange and lemon (approx. ¼ peel of 1 orange and 1 lemon) finely chopped peel, or grated zest

80-100 g Carolina gold rice

 

 

For Sauce (for 1-2 apples)

55 g butter

30 ml white wine

1 ½ tbsp sugar

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground nutmeg

 

  1. Core the apple(s). Place a clean pudding cloth in a bowl, with the cloth hanging over the edges of the bowl.Put a spoonful of the rice in the bottom of the cloth, then place the apple on top. Put the citrus peel inside the hole left by coring the apple(s). 2. Add the rest of the rice around the apple, then gather the corners of the cloth and tie the pudding up. Leave a little room for the rice to expand, but not too much so it doesn’t get soggy. The actual knot should be tight. Massage the rice around the apple so that it is spread evenly.
  2. Place the pudding in a saucepan of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sauce by melting the butter in a small saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients and heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  4. When the pudding is done, carefully remove it from the saucepan and dip it in cold water for a few seconds. Place the pudding in a bowl, cut off the string and carefully unwrap it. It may help to place another bowl on top and flip it, since the base normally looks better than the tied end. Serve with warm sauce.

 

Last Lunch on the Titanic

Last year whilst in Belfast I visited the Titanic Quarter. Not many people realise it but Belfast claims the honour of having built the Titanic, and at the heart of the recently rejuvenated docks like Titanic Belfast. Part museum, part artwork, part monument to Belfast’s working class history, it’s a great way to pass a few drizzly hours in the city.

Titanic Luncheon Menu

Included in the exhibition is a remarkable object, a menu from the last lunch served on the Titanic. The 1st Class menu was taken from the sinking ship in the handbag of one Mrs. Dodge who escaped in a lifeboat with her son. Her husband also found a spot in a lifeboat, thanks to the steward Frederic Ray whose compliments can be found on the back of the menu.

 

The luncheon menu contains some 40 dishes for diners to choose from, and unfortunately making all of them was a bit beyond my budget. Instead I made a small selection which you can see in my own menu below.

 IMG_3875Titanic Luncheon Menu by Turnspit and Table

 

The Recipes

 

All the recipes are from American cookbooks and I tried to keep them as close chronologically as I could.

 

Cockie Leekie from ‘Mrs Rorer’s New Cook Book’ 1902

 

“1 fowl

2 quarts of water

1/2 pound of prunes

Yolks of two eggs

1 pound of beef marrow bones

2 dozen leeks

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoonful of salt

1 saltspoonful of pepper

 

Purchase the marrow bone from the round; have the butcher saw it into two-inch lengths, making four bones. Draw and truss the fowl; put it into a soup kettle; cover with cold water, bring to boiling point and skim. Add the marrow bones, the bay leaf and pepper;simmer gently for one hour. Add the leeks, neatly trimmed; simmer one hour longer. Add the prunes which have been soaked in water over night, and the salt; bring again to boiling point, and it is ready to serve. Remove the strings from the chicken, dish it in the centre of a large platter, put the prunes around, garnish the edge of the dish with carefully boiled rice, the marrow bones, and the leeks. Strain the soup into a tureen over the well beaten yolks of the eggs, and serve with squares of toasted bread. Serve egg sauce with the chicken. This dish takes the place of both meat and soup.”

 

Notes – I used a lot more water than the two quarts called for, I basically covered the chicken. I also used a lot fewer leeks, only 2 instead of the 2 dozen called for in the recipe. 10 mins before serving I spooned in the dumpling mixture and put the lid on to let them cook. To serve you pour the hot soup over the beaten eggs, forming strings of egg in the soup. I cut pieces of toast into small squares and floated them in the soup. I then served the chicken itself with the second course.

Cockie Leekie Soup

Dumplings from ‘Mrs Rorer’s New Cook Book’ 1902

“Put into a bowl one pint of flour with which you have sifted a rounding teaspoonful of baking powder and a half teaspoonful of salt; add about two-thirds of a cup of milk. Take the bowl and a teaspoon to the side of the fire and drop the mixture all over the top of the stew by teaspoonfuls. Cover the saucepan and cook slowly for ten minutes without lifting the lid. Dish by putting the dumplings around the edge of the platter; the stew in the centre, straining over the sauce; dust with a little chopped parsley, and send at once to the table.

Notes – I dropped large teaspoonfuls into the soup about 10 mins before serving and then served them with the boiled chicken. To be honest I didn’t like the mushy texture and lack of flavour.”

Cockie Leekie Chicken

Chicken à la Maryland from ‘The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book’ 1896

 

Maryland Chicken

“Dress, clean, and cut up two chickens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper,dip in flour, egg, and crumbs, place in a well-greased dripping-pan, and bake twenty minutes in a hot oven, basting after first five minutes of cooking with one-third cup melted butter. Arrange on platter and pour over two cups Cream Sauce.”

 

Cream sauce recipe is available here.

 

Notes- This was one of the lovely surprises of the evening. Juicy chicken with a crispy shell it was easy to make and really delicious. I also really liked it served with the cream sauce.

Chicken a la Maryland

Custard Pudding from ‘The Washington Women’s Cookbook’ 1909 (pg 66)

“One pint sweet milk, one cup sifted flour, stir together and cook until thick. When it is cool stir in flour, beaten eggs, two cups sugar and one cup chopped citron. Bake until it sets; serve cold with or without sauce.”

 

Notes – This was another surprise. When I was making it I was very concerned because it’s not a normal custard recipe and the cooked milk and flour was basically glue. I seived it to get rid of the lumps and continued with the recipe (except I replaced the chopped citron with some grated lemon peel) before baking it in a water bath for about 45 mins and it actually turned out very well. Probably better served hot.

Custard Pudding

Apple Meringue from ‘The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book’ 1896

Apple Meringue.

Use Meringue I. and pile lightly on baked apples, brown in oven, cool, and serve with Boiled Custard.
Canned peaches, drained from their liquor, may be prepared in the same way; it is then called Peach Meringue.

Baked Apples.
Wipe and core sour apples. Put in a baking-dish, and fill cavities withsugar and spice. Allow one-half cup sugar and one-fourth teaspooncinnamon or nutmeg to eight apples. If nutmeg is used, a few dropslemon juice and few gratings from rind of lemon to each apple is an improvement. Cover bottom of dish with boiling water, and bake in a hot oven until soft, basting often with syrup in dish. Serve hot or cold with cream. Many prefer to pare apples before baking. When this is done, core before paring, that fruit may keep in shape. In the fall, when apples are at their best, do not add spices to apples, as their flavor cannot be improved; but towards spring they become somewhat tasteless, and spice is an improvement.

Meringue I.

Whites 2 eggs.
2 tablespoons powdered sugar.
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or
1/4 teaspoon vanilla.
Beat whites until stiff, add sugar gradually and continue beating, then add flavoring.

Notes – This was a bit of a multi-step recipe. You bake the apples first, then make the meringue before scooping the meringue onto the apples and baking again. It was very nice but very, very sweet. I think you could probably refrain from putting sugar on the apples at all, just a little spice.
Apple Meringue

Other Elements

– There were nuts and olives on the table for snacking

– I served baked potatoes, sliced tomato and beetroot with the chicken as per the menu. They also suggested lettuce but I just didn’t have any.

– Small bread rolls can be placed inside the folded napkins.

– Cheese is served with salad, bread or crackers before the dessert (but possibly between the pastry and dessert).

Stilton

Resources

  • ‘Last Dinner on the Titanic’ by Rich Archbold and Dana McCauley
  • For how to set a table I suggest ‘The Butler’s Guide to Running the Home and Other Graces’ by Stanely Auger and Fiona St. Aubyn, although my own table setting was limited by what I had on hand. For more about table settings and serving dinner you can try ‘Dinner is Served’ by Arthur Inch and Arlene Hirst.
  • For table etiquette see ‘The Etiquette of Today’ by Edith B. Ordway (although it is a little late).
  • I folded the napkins into a Bishop’s Hat using these instructions

Flat Fruit

The next challenge for the Historical Food Fortnightly is “Ethnic Foodways” and given that I’m in France I thought this was a great opportunity to explore the history of some of the local specialities. Well, I have to report mixed results. The modern sources all seem to be quoting each other, and even if you can discover what the original source was, that’s no guarantee that it is an any way accessible (my Latin is non-existent and $300 first edition cookbooks are a little out of my price-range). Nonetheless, I think I have been able to pin down enough to give you a bit of a glimpse into two local specialities (the second is coming soon).

First up, pommes et poires tapées or dehydrated, flattened apples and pears. They might not sound too appetising at this point, but they’re actually not all that different from the dried apple rings you can buy in the supermarket. Drying fruit to preserve it is a time-honoured tradition, going all the way back to prehistory. In France, archaeologists interpret pieces of carbonised fruit dating to the late Iron Age as evidence of dried fruits.[1] Jumping forward a bit but staying surprisingly close geographically, in 1560 the king’s physician Jean Bruyérin-Champier referred to pears and apples which were dried in ovens around Orleans and Tours.[2]

Pommes tapéesBy the beginning of the 18th century, a rather unusual technique had developed with whole fruits (apples, pears and peaches) being dried in the oven for several days, and gently pressed with a wooden implement to flatten them. It is widely believed that fruit dried in this way was a staple for sailors, and that the flattening was to make them more space-efficient on ships. The industry expanded over the next hundred years, and in 1878 the region was exporting some 500,000 kg of dried fruit, but the glory days of  pommes tapées weren’t to last. Refrigeration and cheap imported fresh fruit took their toll and production nearly stopped in the 20th century, only starting up again in the ‘80s.[3]

Michel Albin explains that there are certain features of the ‘traditional’ technique

  1. Plants aren’t watered while growing to give naturally drier fruit.
  2. The wood fire oven is heated for three days and three nights to infuse the bricks with heat.
  3. The temperature is held between 60 and 90˚C for up to four days, being brought back up to temperature as necessary.
  4. The fruits are pressed one by one (sometimes with a platissoire).
  5. The fruit is then returned to the oven for a final drying period.[4]

Pommes tapées

 

Historical sources, however, show quite a lot of variation in the methods used to dry the fruit. Some fruit is dried whole, some is cored and/or peeled first. Some is blanched before drying, some dipped in a sugar syrup flavoured with their own peel and yet others are sprinkled with sugar. To flatten them you can use a special implement called a platissoire, press them with the palm of your hand, squash them between your fingers or as in the recipe below with a wooden bat.

This recipe is from La nouvelle cuisinière bourgeoise published in 1817:

“Pelez des pommes très-seines, des reinettes ou autres ; avec une spatule creusé, extirpez-en le cœur ; mettez-les ensuite sur des claies, assez distantes les unes des autres, pour qu’elles ne se touchent pas ; mettez vos claies au four ; le lendemain, les pommes sont assez séchées pour que vous puissiez les taper avec une batte de bois ; remettez-les sur les claies ; faites chauffer le four modérément ; puis remettez-y vos pommes jusqu’à lendemain ; recommencez a les taper ; remettez-les de nouveau au four, jusqu’à ce qu’elles aient acquis le degré de sécheresse nécessaire ; puis mettez-les dans des boites, dans un endroit très-sec.”[5]

(Peel unblemished apples, Reinettes or another type. With a hollow spatula (apple-corer) remove the cores; then place them on racks far enough apart so that the apples aren’t touching one another, and place your racks in the oven. The next day, the apples should be dry enough for you to flatten them with a wooden bat, then put them back onto the racks. Bring the oven to a moderate heat and return the apples to the oven overnight, then begin to press them again. Place them in the oven once again until they have reached the right degree of dryness. Then pack them into boxes and store in a very dry place.)

But having spent three days heating your oven and four drying the apples or pears, how are you going to enjoy the fruits of your labour? Well don’t worry because you have between 3 and 10 years to decide, assuming the fruit was well dried. Nowadays the back of the packet recommends eating them as a snack, rehydrating them in liquid (e.g. wine, tea or cider) or incorporating them into your favourite sweet and savoury dishes (think pork roast with apples or a fruity tagine). You can also buy a variety of secondary products: jam, terrines, wine, fruit in wine, brandy or syrup, or pastries with a fruity filling.

Pommes tapées in Mulled Wine

 

As to how they were enjoyed historically, well that’s where I hit a bit of a brick wall. The one clear reference I found is from 1856 and says to enjoy them as a dessert, cooked in wine and sugar.[6] To be really historically correct, I suppose you would have to stop there. But. Considering that they are now enjoyed in a spiced, wine syrup, generally using spices which have been available in France for centuries, and because it’s coming up to Christmas, I decided to rehydrate the apples that I had bought in what is basically mulled wine.

And if you don’t have a wood-fired brick oven/four days/any desire to make your own? You can order pommes et poires tapées and assorted variations on them here or here. Another option would be to try something similar with dried apple rings, which aren’t as tough and chewy, but would give you a similar experience. This recipe makes a warming, spiced dessert which would be perfect served in crystal glasses on a cold winter’s night.

Pommes tapées in Mulled Wine

 

1 bottle of red wine, pretty much any type will do but you will have to adjust the sugar to taste

Sugar, probably between 1/4 and 1/2 a cup depending on the wine and how you like it

125g of pommes tapées, about 10 dried apples.

2 cinnamon sticks

3-4 cloves

Half an orange, sliced

 

  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 30 mins or until the apples have swollen and are soft. Serve hot.

Pommes tapées in Mulled Wine

The Recipe: Extrapolated from a reference in Bulletin de L’instruction Primaire : Journal D’éducation et D’enseignement, (available here)

The Date: 1856

How did you make it? See above.

Time to complete?: 30 mins.

How successful was it?:  Quite chewy, but really very tasty. I think it make a lovely winter dish, and it smells just like Christmas!

How accurate?: Well, I think it’s a combination that is possible, but without an actual recipe it’s very hard to tell.

Links

An English recipe for pommes tapées is available here

A French recipe for wine made from dried pears is available here

And to dry your own pears you could try this recipe (also in French)

[1] Benedicte Pradat, “L’économie Agro-Pastorale Dans Le Loiret À L’âge Du Fer (du Hallstatt Ancien À La Tène Finale) : Synthèse Des Données Carpologiques,” Revue Archéologique Du Centre de La France 49 (2010): 132.

[2] Michel Albin, “Pommes Tapées,” in L’inventoire Du Patrimoine Culinaire de La France, Région Centre – Produits Du Terroir et Recettes Traditionelles (France: Editions Albin Michel, 2012), 227.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid., 228.

[5] Cousin d’avallon, La Nouvelle Cuisinière Bourgeoise, 4th ed. (Paris: Chez Davi et Locard, Pigoreau et Philippe, 1817), 248.

[6] A Y, “Économie Rurale et Domestique: Conservation et Préparation Des Fruits,” Bulletin de L’instruction Primaire : Journal D’éducation et D’enseignement, Aout 1856, sec. Vo. 3, No. 16, 126.

Bibliography

Albin, Michel. “Pommes Tapées.” In L’inventoire Du Patrimoine Culinaire de La France, Région Centre – Produits Du Terroir et Recettes Traditionelles, 226–28. France: Editions Albin Michel, 2012.

Cousin d’avallon. La Nouvelle Cuisiniere Bourgeoise. 4th ed. Paris: Chez Davi et Locard, Pigoreau et Philippe, 1817.

Pradat, Benedicte. “L’économie Agro-Pastorale Dans Le Loiret À L’âge Du Fer (du Hallstatt Ancien À La Tène Finale) : Synthèse Des Données Carpologiques.” Revue Archéologique Du Centre de La France 49 (2010): 103–61.

Y, A. “Economie Rurale et Domestique: Conservation et Préparation Des Fruits.” Bulletin de L’instruction Primaire : Journal D’education et D’enseignement, Aout 1856, sec. Vo. 3, No. 16.

2nd July 1881

The next Historical Food Fortnightly challenge was Today in History which meant making a dish based on, or inspired by, a momentous occasion that took place on that day, and I have to admit I have stretched the limits of the challenge quite a bit. Struggling to find a momentous occasion I turned to Trove (an online database of historical Australian newspapers) and chose a recipe for Marlborough Pie which I found published in The Queenslander on the 2nd July 1881.[1]

 

Marlborough Pie

Marlborough Pie

Also known as Marlborough Pudding, the pie is actually more of a tart, filled with a creamy lemon and apple mixture and baked until golden. I have to admit that I had never heard of it and I was quite excited about the change of focus (Australian and Victorian rather than English and Early Modern) so imagine my chagrin when I discovered that this dessert had a venerable history stretching all the way back to the 17th century!

The earliest version of the Marlborough Pie that anyone has identified is the recipe for ‘ A Made Dish of Butter and Eggs’ in Robert May’s The Accomplisht Cook[2] which says:

Take the yolks of twenty four eggs, and strain them with cinamon, sugar, and salt; then put melted butter to them, some fine minced pippins, and minced citron, put it on your dish of paste, and put slices of citron round about it, bar it with puff paste, and the bottom also, or short paste in the bottom.[3]

Various other versions were published throughout the 18th century. Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy has a recipe for ‘A Buttered Tort’ which replaces the lemon with Seville orange, and used pulped apple rather than minced[4]. However, it wasn’t until the recipe had crossed to America that the word Marlborough became attached to the custardy apple tart, appearing as ‘Marlborough Pudding’ in the first cookbook published in America, Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery.

Take 12 spoons of stewed apples, 12 of wine, 12 of sugar, 12 of melted butter and 12 of beaten eggs, a little cream, spice to your taste; lay in paste no. 3, in a deep dish; bake one hour and a quarter.[5]

Reading this recipe I was struck by the simplicity of the proportions, 12 spoonfuls of each ingredient. Like a pound cake, it’s an easily memorable recipe which could have been shared between the early American settlers. Although the proportions had changed by the time The Queenslander published their version in 1881, the recipe is still a mere two sentences long. For the 87, 000 women living in Queensland that year[6], many of them on remote stations, the recipes in the paper with their easy to find ingredients and no nonsense instructions (even measuring in tumblers) must have been a source of variety and a connection to the outside world.

Slab hut in Queensland ca. 1880. Image courtesy of the State Library of Queensland.

The Recipe

Marlborough Pie – Grate six apples, one cup sugar, three tablespoons melted butter, four eggs, juice and grated rind of a lemon. Bake in an under but without top crust.[7]

For the pastry I used another recipe from the same newspaper, Mrs Wicken’s recipe for Short Pastry:

Ingredients: 1 lb flour, 10 oz or 12 oz butter, juice of one lemon, very little water. Mode: Rub the butter very lightly into the flour until quite fine, mix into very dry stiff paste with lemon juice and water. Roll out at once, and it is ready for use.[8]

Although both recipes are rather sparse they worked very well and only a few points were unclear. I wasn’t sure if I should blind bake the pastry before adding the filling, however, as neither the recipe I was following, nor the Hannah Glasse recipe mentioned baking the case prior to adding the apple mix, I chose not to blind bake. Given how wet the filling was, I think that blind baking would probably help keep the crust a bit crisper, but the pie was still delicious without it.

 

The Redaction

Marlborough Pie

 

For pastry:

227g flour

170g butter, cut into 1cm cubes

Juice of half a lemon

A little water

 

For filling:

6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp melted butter

4 eggs

Juice and grated rind of a lemon

 

1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C and grease a 9” pie dish. In a large bowl rub the butter into flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the lemon juice and just enough water to bring the dough together into a ball. Try to avoid over-mixing or kneading the dough.

2. Roll it out onto a lightly floured board and roll out to half a centimetre thick. Carefully lift the dough onto the pie dish and press gently into the base of the dish. Cut off the excess dough and crimp the edge as desired.

3. Grate the apples into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour into the pie dish and smooth the filling with a spoon.

4. Bake for 35 mins or until golden and the filling is no longer liquid. You may need a baking dish below the pie if it is shallow as the liquid may boil over the edge of the dish. Serve hot or cold.

Marlborough Pie

 

The Recipe: Marlborough Pie (recipe available here) and Mrs. Wicken’s Short Pastry (recipe available here)

The Date: 1881 and 1888 respectively

How did you make it? See above.

Time to complete?: 30 mins prep, 35 mins baking

Total cost: I already had all the ingredients in the house.

How successful was it?: Very tasty, I would definitely make this again. The pastry was buttery and flaky while the apples had just a bit of crunch left. Although the pie was quite sweet, the lemon juice really cut through the sweetness.

How accurate?: The biggest point of inaccuracy is probably the type of apples. I’m not sure which type of apples I used but I think they were Pink Ladies which were only developed in the 1970’s.

 

Newspaper articles found in Trove reproduced courtesy of the National Library of Australia.

 

[1] “THE HOUSEKEEPER. Sundry Recipes.,” The Queenslander, July 2, 1881.

[2] Amy Traverso, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook (W. W. Norton & Company, 2011), 201.

[3] Robert May, The Accomplisht Cook, Or, The Art and Mystery of Cookery. (London: printed by R.W. for Nath: Brooke, 1660), 270.

[4] Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy: Which Far Exceeds Any Thing of the … (Printed for W. Strahan, J. and F. Rivington, J. Hinton, 1774), 289, http://archive.org/details/artcookerymadep02glasgoog.

[5] Amelia Simmons, American Cookery (Applewood Books, 1996), 36.

[6] Queensland Treasury and Trade Office of Economic and Statistical Research, “Historical Tables, Demography, 1823 to 2008 (Q150 Release),” accessed July 2, 2014, http://www.qgso.qld.gov.au/products/tables/historical-tables-demography/index.php.

[7] “THE HOUSEKEEPER. Sundry Recipes.”

[8] “PASTRY AND SWEETS.,” Euroa Advertiser, June 22, 1888.

 

 Bibliography

Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy: Which Far Exceeds Any Thing of the … Printed for W. Strahan, J. and F. Rivington, J. Hinton, 1774. http://archive.org/details/artcookerymadep02glasgoog.

May, Robert. The Accomplisht Cook, Or, The Art and Mystery of Cookery. London: printed by R.W. for Nath: Brooke, 1660.

Office of Economic and Statistical Research, Queensland Treasury and Trade. “Historical Tables, Demography, 1823 to 2008 (Q150 Release).” Accessed July 2, 2014. http://www.qgso.qld.gov.au/products/tables/historical-tables-demography/index.php.

“PASTRY AND SWEETS.” Euroa Advertiser. June 22, 1888.

Simmons, Amelia. American Cookery. Applewood Books, 1996.

“THE HOUSEKEEPER. Sundry Recipes.” The Queenslander. July 2, 1881.

Traverso, Amy. The Apple Lover’s Cookbook. W. W. Norton & Company, 2011.

 

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