Pass the Pickled Eggs

So a couple of months ago, just before my birthday, I was talking about birthday presents with my cousin Ryan and his girlfriend. While my request for a penguin seemed perfectly reasonable, I was a bit surprised when he said that all he wanted for his birthday was some pickled eggs. When The Old Foodie posted a selection of historical pickled egg recipes a week later, it just seemed like the universe was sending me a message.
Fast forward several months and the week of his birthday I was not only ridiculously busy but also quite sick. I suppose I could have changed my mind and used a modern recipe with, you know, quantities and real instructions, but where is the fun in that? Oh and why just make one historical recipe when you can do two?

Girl with a Basket of Eggs by Joachim Beuckelaer (circa 1533–1575) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Girl with a Basket of Eggs by Joachim Beuckelaer (circa 1533–1575) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Recipes

And so, although the process was not without hiccups, the eggs were pickled and enjoyed and I sat down to write this post. Actually I’ve tried a number of times, but each time I got side-tracked into doing more research. In spite of scouring dozens of cookbooks, I cannot find an older English recipe than the sage recipe which was posted by The Old Foodie and dates from 1725.

“Boil New laid Eggs in Vinegar, Cloves, Pepper, and a Handful of Sage-leaves, till hard, then peel them and put them into Glasses; when your Pickle is cold, put it to them, and cover them down close.”[1]

Sage Pickled Eggs, recipe from 1725

Since the pickled egg is a favourite among re-enactment groups I had just assumed that they were much older, and so apparently do lots of modern cookbook writers. These led me back to Dorothy Hartley’s book Food in England which says that, “When eggs are plentiful, farmers’ wives take four or six dozen newly laid, and boil them hard; then, taking off the shells, they place them in earthenware jars and pour upon them scalding vinegar well seasoned with pepper, allspice, ginger, and garlic. The eggs are fit to use after a month.”[2] She says this recipe comes from 1700 or thereabouts, although nearly identical recipes appear throughout the 19th century, the earliest version I can find is from 1844 in The Mechanic’s Magazine[3].

In fact pickled eggs are much older, just not in England. Going back further, there is a reference to pickled eggs in Andrew Boorde’s A Dyetary of Helth from about 1542 which says that:

“In Turkey, and other hyghe chrystyan landes anexed to it, they use to seth two or thre busshels of egges togither harde, and pull of the shels, & sowse them, and kepe them to eate at all tymes; but hard egges be slow and slack of dygestyon and doth nutryfye the body grosly.”[4]

Sousing is the process of preserving meat or animal parts in a pickle, so these are definitely pickled eggs. Boorde’s comment that these eggs come from Turkey and surrounding lands is interesting in light of a recipe from Kitab Wasf al-At’ima al-Mu’tada or The Description of Familiar Foods. A 14th century cookbook written in Arabic, possibly from Cairo, The Description of Familiar Foods includes the following recipe:

“Baid Mukhallal – Take boiled eggs and peel and sprinkle with a little ground salt and Chinese cinnamon [cassia] and dry coriander. Then arrange them in a glass jar and pour wine vinegar on them, and put it up.”[5]

That’s definitely going to be the next pickled egg recipe I try, but I doubt that it will be as pretty as the second recipe that I made. Dyed pink with beetroot juice, this recipe comes from The Practical American Cook Book, Or, Practical and Scientific Cookery. The Old Foodie quoted an 1855 edition, but I have only been able to find an 1863 edition. Today these pink eggs are particularly associated with the Pennsylvania Dutch and they make a lovely addition to salads with their variegated colours.

Pickled Eggs. Boil them until hard; throw them hot into cold water, which will make the shell slip off smoothly after the eggs have remained in it about ten minutes; boil some red beets till very soft; peel and mash them fine, and put enough of the liquor into cold vinegar to color it pink; add a little salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cloves; put the eggs into a jar and pour the beets, vinegar &c., over them. This makes a pretty garnish for fish or corned meats. Cut the eggs in slices when used.[6]

Pink Pickled Eggs, Recipe from 1863

The Redactions

Safety Note: These are the quantities and processes that I used to make these recipes, but because the liquids are cold when poured over the boiled eggs there is a higher chance of bacterial growth than in modern pickled egg recipes. If you decide to try these recipes you should keep the eggs refrigerated and consume them within days of making them. You can also increase the safety heating the pickling liquid to boiling point and pouring it over the eggs. 

Sage Pickled Eggs

12 eggs

2 1/2 cups vinegar

3 cloves

1 tsp peppercorns

Small handful of sage

  1. Hard boil eggs, then allow to cool and shell them. Place into a sterilised jar.
  2. Mix the vinegar, spices and sage in a saucepan and just bring to the boil. Allow the liquid to cool and pour over the eggs.

Beet Pickled Eggs

12 eggs

1 beetroot, or use the whole, pre-boiled beetroots that you can sometimes find vacuum sealed

1tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup normal vinegar

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup juice from beetroot

3 cloves

  1. Quarter the beetroot, place in a saucepan and cover in boiling water. Bring the pot to the boil and cook until the beetroot is soft, this takes longer than you would think, about 30 mins. When soft, remove the beetroot and allow the pieces to cool enough to handle. Peel the beetroot, then dice it and roughly mash the cubes.

2. Put the eggs into a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a rolling boil and simmer for 8 minutes. Allow to cool and peel.

  1. Place the eggs in a sterilised jar, then add the beetroot over the top. Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over.

Pickled eggs, recipes from 1725 and 1863

The Round-Up

The Recipe: Pickled Eggs from Robert Smith’s Court Cookery: Or, The Compleat English Cook 128.(available here) and from The Practical American Cook Book by A Housekeeper (preview available here).

The Date:1725 and 1865

How did you make it?: See above.

Time to complete?: The beetroot took a very long time to cook, so those ones took over an hour and a half, but the sage ones were faster; including cooling time they probably took about an hour.

How successful was it?: I only tried the beetroot ones which were a beautiful colour, slightly rubbery but very pleasant. Ryan preferred the sage eggs, but that may be because he isn’t the biggest fan of beetroot.

How accurate?: I ended up changing the process of the sage eggs somewhat, because the first time that I made them I diluted the vinegar with water which would have changed the eggs preservative properties. The sage also through off a nasty scum when boiled like that. In the end I started again, boiling the eggs in water and then heating the other ingredients separately. The biggest difference in terms of ingredients is probably the type of vinegar used, but there was no indication of the type of vinegar in the recipes and I haven’t done enough research to really know what would have been used.

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[1] Robert Smith, Court Cookery: Or, The Compleat English Cook (London: Printed for T. Wotton, at the Three-Daggers in Fleet-Street, 1725), 128.

[2] Dorothy Hartley, Food in England (London: Little, Brown & Company, 1999), 345.

[3] Robertson, ed., Mechanics Magazine (London: James Bounsall, 1844), 352.

[4] Andrew Boorde, The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge Made by Andrew Borde, of Physycke Doctor. A Compendyous Regyment; Or, A Dyetary of Helth Made in Mountpyllier, ed. Frederick James Furnivall (London: Published for the Early English Text Society by N.T. Trubner & Co, 1870), 265.

[5] Charles Perry, “Kitab Wasf Al-At’ima Al-Mu’tada [The Description of Familiar Foods],” in Medieval Arab Cookery, by Maxime Rodinson, A.J Arberry, and Charles Perry (Totnes, U.K.: Prospect Books, 2001), 397.

[6] A Housekeeper, The Practical American Cook Book (New York: D Appleton and Company, 1863), 91.

And my penguin? He's already making friends.

And my penguin? He’s already making friends.

Bibliography

A Housekeeper. The Practical American Cook Book. New York: D Appleton and Company, 1863.

Boorde, Andrew. The Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge Made by Andrew Borde, of Physycke Doctor. A Compendyous Regyment; Or, A Dyetary of Helth Made in Mountpyllier. Edited by Frederick James Furnivall. London: Published for the Early English Text Society by N.T. Trubner & Co, 1870.

Hartley, Dorothy. Food in England. London: Little, Brown & Company, 1999.

Perry, Charles. “Kitab Wasf Al-At’ima Al-Mu’tada [The Description of Familiar Foods].” In Medieval Arab Cookery, by Maxime Rodinson, A.J Arberry, and Charles Perry, 373–450. Totnes, U.K.: Prospect Books, 2001.

Robertson, ed. Mechanics Magazine. London: James Bounsall, 1844.

Smith, Robert. Court Cookery: Or, The Compleat English Cook. London: Printed for T. Wotton, at the Three-Daggers in Fleet-Street, 1725.

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Historical Kitchens in Scotland

So as some of you know I have been traveling around Europe for the past couple of months. During my travels I have come across historical kitchens of all shapes and sizes and covering about four centuries. Since not everyone has a medieval castle just around the corner I thought I might share some of the pictures that I have taken. First up, two very different dwellings from Scotland.

 

Provand’s Lordship is the oldest house in Glasgow. Built in 1471 as part of St. Nicholas’ hospital, it later became the house of the Lord of the Prebend of Barlanark and the furnishings reflect this later 18th century period of occupation. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the main cooking fireplace but you can see a good picture of it on the website here.

 

 

A small fireplace and griddle.

A small fireplace and griddle.

The dining room, with 18th century furnishings.

The dining room, with 18th century furnishings.

An 18th century dresser with pewter and wooden tableware.

An 18th century dresser with pewter and wooden tableware.

The back of Provand's Lordship and part of the herb garden which would have provided medicinal herbs for the hospital across the road.

The back of Provand’s Lordship and part of the herb garden which would have provided medicinal herbs for the hospital across the road.

 

The second lot of pictures comes from the spectacularly positioned Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire. Although the promontory has been in use since Pictish times the majority of the buildings which can be seen today date between the 14th and 17th centuries, including the kitchens which are housed in the lower levels of the Palace. Construction of the palace began in the latter half of the 16th century with a basement level for the kitchens and accommodation and living areas above.

Dunnottar Castle

The kitchens are comprised of a number of rooms, some with specific functions and others probably for storage and preparation. At the far end of the kitchen range is an enormous fireplace which would have been the central focus of the kitchen, used for roasting and boiling. The most striking thing, however, is the gloom. The windows, where they existed, where tiny and although fires would have helped a bit, the effect of the smoke must have been absolutely suffocating!

 

The bread oven at Dunnottar Castle.

The bread oven at Dunnottar Castle.

The entrance of the bread oven at Dunnottar Castle. The fire would be lit inside the oven to heat the surrouding stone, then once the desired temperature was reached the fire would be raked out and the bread quickly put in. The bread cooked thanks to the heat from the stones, and as they cooled a succession of items could be cooked with bread first followed by pies and more delicate items which needed a cooler oven.

The entrance of the bread oven at Dunnottar Castle. The fire would be lit inside the oven to heat the surrouding stone, then once the desired temperature was reached the fire would be raked out and the bread quickly put in. The bread cooked thanks to the heat from the stones, and as they cooled a succession of items could be cooked with bread first followed by pies and more delicate items which needed a cooler oven.

Pit for brewing, I think that a large cauldron would be placed on top of the stone walls and a fire lit underneath. Weak beer was safe to drink and provided a large proportion of the average person's daily calories and nutrients.

Pit for brewing, I think that a large cauldron would be placed on top of the stone walls and a fire lit underneath. Weak beer was safe to drink and provided a large proportion of the average person’s daily calories and nutrients.

Again, possibly ovens?

Ovens? *Probably not ovens, see the comments below. 

The well which provided fresh water for all the residents and workshops inside the castle walls.

The well which provided fresh water for all the residents and workshops inside the castle walls.

 

Apologies for the quality of the pictures, the lighting was not good at all in the cellars! I hope you enjoyed the pictures, there are lots more to come once I get myself organised.

 

In a Jelly

Lemon Jelly, recipe from 1748

This is just a quick extra post, following up on my promise for the In a Jam challenge to provide the recipe for Lemon Jelly which I made. I had a surplus of lemons and as I was researching marmalade recipes for the challenge a couple of weeks ago I came across several rather intriguing recipes for Lemon Jelly.

It’s a jelly in the American sense of the word, as in a spreadable preserve rather than a semi-solid, wobbly dessert. In preserving terms, the use of jelly instead of jam means that it is made from the juice of the fruit, rather than the pulp which makes jellies much smoother but less efficient than jams. Typically in a jelly the fruit is cooked to release the juices, then strained through muslin for several hours to separate the juice from the pulp. The juice is then re-cooked with sugar until it reaches the setting point before being poured into hot jars.

These recipes are quite unusual, however, because two of them contain egg-whites.[1] Beacause of the difficulty in interpreting the recipe which I used, and because I would like to try the other recipes first, I have not given a redaction, but if you would like to try making the jelly it should be easy enough to follow my steps with the quantities given.

The House-Keeper’s Pocket-Book and Compleat Family Cook (4th ed. 1748 available as a PDF here) by Mrs. Sarah Harrison of Devonshire offers three recipes for Lemon Jelly (like the marmalade it is served in glasses as part of the dessert course).

 

The first recipe:

“TAKE five large Lemons and squeeze out the Juice, and beat the Whites of six Eggs very well; put to it twenty Spoonfuls of Spring Water, and ten Ounces of double-refin’d Sugar beat and sifted; mix all together, and strain it through a Jelly Bag, and set it over a gentle Fire, with a bit of Lemon-peel in it; stir it all the while, and skim it very clean; when it is as hot as you can bear your Finger in it, take it off, and take out the Peel, and pour your Jelly into Glasses.”[2]

 

The second recipe:

“TAKE three large Lemons, or four small ones, cut them in half, and take out all the Meat, and put it into a silver Pot; put as much Water as the Skin of your Lemons will hold into them, and let them stand three quarters of an Hour; then take the Whites of four Eggs, beat them very well, and let them stand till the Froth is fallen, strain your Lemons upon a Pound of double-refin’d refin’d[sic] Sugar broke into Lumps, let it stand till it is quite melted, then put in your Eggs well skimm’d being first strain’d through a thin Cotton Cloth; stir it till it will jelly, and take out your Peel before you put it in the Dish. You must see that your Lemons be free from Spots, or else your Jelly will not be white.”[3]

 

The third recipe:

“TAKE the best Lemons without Seeds, peel off the Rinds, and put the Meat in Quarters, having a Care of breaking the Skins; then take their Weight in double-refin’d Sugar, put your Sugar into a silver Bason [sic], and put it upon the Fire with as much Water as will wet it, and stir it till it comes to a clear Syrup; in the mean Time you must have your Lemon Quarters in another silver Dish upon the Fire, with as much Water as will keep them wet, and let them boil till they are tender; then put them into the Bason [sic] of Syrup, and set them on a soft Fire to heat, but not boil; as soon as ever they begin to simmer the least that can be, take them off, and shake them, and let them not be on the Fire again till they are pretty cold (for if they boyl they are spoil’d); and so continue setting them on and off till the Syrup will jelly; and then either put up the Jelly by itself in Glasses, and put the Quarters on a glass Sheet to dry, or on a Slieve [sic] in the Sun, or glass the Quarters and the Jelly all together, for they will do well both Ways.”[4]

Lemon Jelly, recipe from 1748

My Process

I used the second recipe which calls for three large or four small, spotless lemons. I cut them in half and spooned out all the pulp that I could. I placed the pulp into a saucepan, filled each half lemon with water and poured the water into the saucepan. I then left this to stand for 45 mins.

 

Whilst waiting for the pulp to be ready, I beat the whites of four eggs. This for me was the main problem with the recipe, it sounds like you beat the eggs to peaks and then allow them to drop, but does that even work? Or do you just beat it until slightly foamy? I beat it until I had foamy, very soft peaks on top, but after standing for a while there was also liquid underneath. On reflection I think it would be better to whisk it until it was a bubbly liquid, but maybe it is possible to allow it to drop by leaving more time.

 

Having beaten my eggs I strained the lemon pulp through muslin onto 450g of sugar with a piece of lemon peel (this is mentioned later in the recipe to be removed so I think it’s just missing the instruction to add it in). After gently stirring the mixture over a low heat until the sugar was dissolved I then added the egg whites by straining them through muslin into the saucepan. This is where it quickly became apparent that they were too well whipped. The liquid was easily incorporated into the jelly, as was some of the froth but most was not and had to be skimmed off the top of the jelly. I then cooked it until it reached setting point, removed the piece of lemon peel and poured it into dessert glasses.

 

Given what seemed to be an awful mistake, the jelly turned out remarkably well. It was one of the most delicious preserves I’ve ever eaten with a flavour similar to lemon-sorbet and the most delightful, effervescent texture. It felt light and bubbly on the tongue, an effect which I think must be because of the egg whites. It really was like Spring for the palate!

Lemon Jelly, recipe from 1748

 

Harrison, Sarah. The House-Keeper’s Pocket-Book; And Compleat Family Cook. 4th ed. London: Printed for R. Ware, at the Bible and Sun on Ludgate-Hill, 1748.

 

[1] Warning: If you are in an ‘at risk’ group (babies, toddlers, pregnant women, elderly people or the immune-compromised) for raw egg please don’t try the recipes containing raw egg.

[2] Sarah Harrison, The House-Keeper’s Pocket-Book; And Compleat Family Cook, 4th ed. (London: Printed for R. Ware, at the Bible and Sun on Ludgate-Hill, 1748), 148.

[3] Ibid., 148–149.

[4] Ibid., 149.

In a Jam

Marmalade Cropped more

After discussing the origins of the word marmalade several weeks ago (you can read the post here) the answer to this fortnight’s challenge “In a Jam” seemed obvious. You may remember that the original marmalade was actually a thick, quince paste which was imported from Portugal at the very end of the 15th century. Soon English confectioners and housewives were making their own version of the sweetmeat, using not only quinces but also apples, peaches, plums, damsons, pears and medlars.[1] Early recipes for orange marmalade hark back to these fruit pastes, Sir Hugh Platt’s book Delightes of Ladies published in 1602 has a recipe for ‘Marmelade of Lemmons or Orenges’ which is essentially a flavoured apple past while Gervase Markham in his book Country Contentments published in 1615 offers an orange marmalade which is strained into boxes, suggesting it was much thicker than what we would normally consider marmalade.

 

Sweetmeat Glass. 1750, Bohemian. Glass. via www.metmuseum.org

Sweetmeat Glass. 1750, Bohemian. Glass. via http://www.metmuseum.org

The earliest known recipe for marmalade in its modern form was written down by Rebecca Price in 1681, it was her mother’s recipe for a spoon-able jelly with shredded rind. Another early recipe is held by the Scottish Archives, it dates to 1683 and was probably written down by the Countess of Sutherland. You can see a copy of the recipe here, but be warned it is nearly illegible. In published recipe books the change didn’t occur until slightly later, in 1714 with the publication of Mary Kettilby’s A Collection of above Three Hundred Receipts.

Sweetmeat Glass. ca. 1740, German. Glass. via www.metmuseum.org

Sweetmeat Glass. ca. 1740, German. Glass. via http://www.metmuseum.org

 

Jellied marmalades, as opposed to cut marmalades which were the thick pastes popular until the end of the 18th century, came in two basic types: beaten or pounded and transparent. The difference is to do with the treatment of the peel, in a pounded marmalade the peel was pounded together with the pulp giving a cloudy jelly while transparent jellies were a clear jelly containing chips or finely cut strips of peel. Both types were served with the dessert course, alongside a range of other sweetmeats including ice creams, jellies, biscuits, nuts, fresh fruit, flummeries, creams, syllabubs and cakes. Wet sweetmeats like marmalade were served in salvers and ornate sweetmeat dishes, such as those pictured.

 

The dishes were laid out in symmetrical patterns on the table, arranged around an ornate centrepiece or pyramid of sweets. Hannah Glasse’s advice for young ladies arranging the table is as follows:

“The above middle frame [the centerpiece] should be made either in three parts or five, all to join together, which may serve on different occasions; on which suppose gravel walks, hedges, and variety of different things, as a little Chinese temple for the middle, or any other pretty ornament; which ornaments are to be bought at the confectioners, and will serve year after year; the top, bottom, and sides are to be set out with such things as are to be got, or the season of the year will allow, as fruits, nuts of all kinds, creams, jellies, whip syllabubs, biscuits &c. &c. And as many plates as you please according to the size of the table. All this depends wholly on a little experience, and a good fancy to ornament in a pretty manner; you must have artificial flowers of all sorts, and some natural out of a garden in summer time do very intermixed.”[2]

A later edition of the same book shows exactly how the dishes should be laid out[3]:

 

A bill of fare for the dessert course from The Compleat Confectioner by Hannah Glasse, 1800.

A bill of fare for the dessert course from The Compleat Confectioner by Hannah Glasse and Maria Wilson, 1800.

 

The Recipe

 

Like many recipes books of the time, Elizabeth Raffald’s The Experienced English House-keeper (1769) included recipes for both pounded and transparent marmalade. I used the recipe for Transparent Marmalade as follows:

 

“TAKE very pale Seville Oranges, cut them in Quarters, take out the Pulp, and put it into a Bason, pick the Skins and Seeds out, put the Peels in a little Salt and Water, let them stand all Night, then boil them in a good Quantity of Spring Water ‘till they are tender, then cut them in very thin Slices, and put them to the Pulp, to every Pound of Marmalade, put a Pound and a half of double refined Sugar beat fine, boil them together gently for twenty Minutes; if it is not clear and transparent, boil it five or six Minutes longer, keep stirring it gently all the Time, and take Care you do not break the Slices; when it is cold, put it into Jelly or Sweetmeat Glasses, tie them down with Brandy Papers over them.

They are pretty for a Desert of any Kind.”[4]

 

Although at first glance I thought that this recipe was quite similar to modern marmalade recipes, there were a couple of things that tripped me up. First was what to do with the pulp, I cut the oranges into quarters and then removed the peel from the flesh, however that left a lot of membrane on the flesh. I think there are probably two options for what you could do here, either do as I did and leave them more or less intact during the cooking process and then removing the membrane when the flesh has cooked down to a pulp. The other option would be to supreme the oranges which probably gives a slightly better result, but is a lot fiddlier.

The second question that I had to answer was what to do with the pith of the orange. Once again there are two basic options, leave it on because there are no specific instructions in the recipe, or after the peels have boiled you can use a spoon to scrape out the soft white pith. Basically the choice depends on how bitter you want your marmalade to be, with more pith making it more bitter, and on how exactly you want to follow the recipe. Since I’m not a huge fan of bitter marmalade, and because I thought it would make for a clearer jelly, I chose to remove the pith.

Transparent Marmalade

Transparent Marmalade in the foreground, and Lemon Jelly in the background. I’ll be posting a recipe for it soon!

 

Which brings us to the final, and probably most controversial issue. Seville oranges. To make this recipe properly you need Seville oranges. However, if you are like me and have a sudden compulsion to make marmalade with no Seville oranges to hand then don’t panic! Warning, I’m now going to say something that is worthy of excommunication in some circles, nonetheless I stand by the fact that you can make perfectly good marmalade with sweet oranges. It will be neither as intense nor as bitter as marmalade made from Seville oranges, but then in my book that’s not necessarily a bad thing. So if you can’t get Seville oranges/don’t want to, don’t be afraid to do as I did and use sweet oranges.

 

The Redaction

Mrs Raffald’s Transparent Marmalade

1 kg oranges

1 tsp salt

Sugar

 

  1. Quarter the oranges and pulling gently at one corner of the quarter, peel the skin from the flesh. If you would prefer to supreme the oranges see the link above but try to keep the peel in large pieces. Place the peels in a bowl with the salt and cover with cold water. Place the flesh in another bowl in the refrigerator, removing all the seeds that you can find, and leave both bowls overnight.
  2. The next day drain the peels, place them in a saucepan and cover them with fresh water. Bring to the boil and boil until a skewer will easily pass through the peels. Drain.
  3. Once the peels are slightly cooled take a spoon and scrape the white pith from the inside of the peels. Discard the pith then slice the peels into thin slivers, the thinner the better.
  4. Add the sliced peels to the pulp and weigh the mixture. Place the fruit in a saucepan and to every 450g of fruit add 680g of sugar. Bring to the boil and boil for 20 mins, mashing the fruit gently so that you can remove the membranes which can simply be lifted out and discarded.
  5. After 20 mins check the set of the marmalade by turning off the heat and placing half a teaspoonful on a cold saucer. If the marmalade separates into a jelly surrounded by a thinner liquid then it needs more time. You should be able to run your finger through the marmalade (but be careful it’s hot!), leaving a distinct channel with a wrinkled surface (if you’re not sure exactly how to test for a set there is a video link at the bottom of the page). If it is not setting then return it to the heat and cook for another 5 minutes before testing again. Continue until you reach setting point.
  6. Once you have reached setting point the marmalade can either be decanted into hot, sterilised jars to keep for several months, or into clean sweetmeat bowls if you want to serve it as a dessert.

 

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The Recipe: Transparent Marmalade from The Experienced English House-keeper by Elizabeth Raffald (available here)

The Date: 1769

How did you make it?: See above

Time to complete?: Probably about 1hr ½ active work, plus leaving it overnight.

Total cost: Maybe $3 for the oranges which I got on special and then the same for the sugar so $6 all up.

How successful was it?: Very tasty, just a hint of bitterness. One of my loyal taste-testers said it was the best marmalade she had ever had.

How accurate?: Well, I didn’t use Seville oranges, and I really need to look into what sugar was like at the time, but I’d say it was probably quite different. I had to make some decisions where the directions were unclear and it’s hard to tell how much that affected the authenticity but I’d say it was a decent approximation.

 

Marmalade Links

Learn how to supreme an orange here

Watch how to test for a set in jam here 

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[1] C. Anne Wilson, The Book of Marmalade (Great Britain: Prospect Books, 2010), 28–41.

[2] Hannah Glasse, The Compleat Confectioner (London: Printed and sold at Mrs. Ashburner’s China Shop, the Corner of Fleet Ditch; at Yewd’s Hat Warehous, near Somerset Hous; at Kirk’s Toyshop, in St Paul’s Church Yard; at Deard’s Toyshop, facing Arlington-Street, Piccadilly; By I. Pottinger, at the Royal Bible, in Pater-Noster Row; and by J Williams, opposite St. Dunstan’s Church, Fleet Street, 1760), 255.

[3] Hannah Glasse and Maria Wilson, The Complete Confectioner: Or, Housekeeper’s Guide: To a Simple and Speedy Method of Understanding the Whole Art of Confectionary; the Various Ways of Preserving and Candying, Dry and Liquid, All Kinds of Fruit, Nuts, Flowers, Herbs, &c. … the Different Ways of Clarifying Sugar … Also the Art of Making Artificial Fruit … To Which Are Added Some Bills of Fare for Deserts for Private Families (J. W. Meyers, 1800), 232.

[4] Elizabeth Raffald, The Experienced English House-Keeper: For the Use and Ease of Ladies, House-Keepers, Cooks, &c. : Wrote Purely from Practice and Dedicated to the Hon. Lady Elizabeth Warburton … : Consisting of Near 800 Original Receipts, Most of Which Never Appeared in Print … (J. Harrop, 1769), 201.

[1] Hannah Glasse and Maria Wilson, The Complete Confectioner: Or, Housekeeper’s Guide: To a Simple and Speedy Method of Understanding the Whole Art of Confectionary; the Various Ways of Preserving and Candying, Dry and Liquid, All Kinds of Fruit, Nuts, Flowers, Herbs, &c. … the Different Ways of Clarifying Sugar … Also the Art of Making Artificial Fruit … To Which Are Added Some Bills of Fare for Deserts for Private Families (J. W. Meyers, 1800), 232.

Bibliography

Glasse, Hannah. The Compleat Confectioner. London: Printed and sold at Mrs. Ashburner’s China Shop, the Corner of Fleet Ditch; at Yewd’s Hat Warehous, near Somerset Hous; at Kirk’s Toyshop, in St Paul’s Church Yard; at Deard’s Toyshop, facing Arlington-Street, Piccadilly; By I. Pottinger, at the Royal Bible, in Pater-Noster Row; and by J Williams, opposite St. Dunstan’s Church, Fleet Street, 1760.

Glasse, Hannah, and Maria Wilson. The Complete Confectioner: Or, Housekeeper’s Guide: To a Simple and Speedy Method of Understanding the Whole Art of Confectionary; the Various Ways of Preserving and Candying, Dry and Liquid, All Kinds of Fruit, Nuts, Flowers, Herbs, &c. … the Different Ways of Clarifying Sugar … Also the Art of Making Artificial Fruit … To Which Are Added Some Bills of Fare for Deserts for Private Families. J. W. Meyers, 1800.

Raffald, Elizabeth. The Experienced English House-Keeper: For the Use and Ease of Ladies, House-Keepers, Cooks, &c. : Wrote Purely from Practice and Dedicated to the Hon. Lady Elizabeth Warburton … : Consisting of Near 800 Original Receipts, Most of Which Never Appeared in Print … J. Harrop, 1769.

Wilson, C. Anne. The Book of Marmalade. Great Britain: Prospect Books, 2010.

The Pudding Bag – A Revelation

 

England has been famous for its puddings for centuries, and the word is now interchangeable with dessert, but it wasn’t always so. Historically puddings were essentially sausages with a filling stuffed into the stomach or intestines of an animal (the word probably comes from the Anglo-Norman word bodin meaning entrails)[1]. Sometimes they were kind of like dumplings, cooked in the broth with the meat for dinner.

 

Some of these types of puddings have survived into modern times e.g. black pudding, white pudding and haggis, but many others fell by the wayside because there are several main problems with this technique. Firstly, the ick factor. Secondly, processing the intestines is time consuming and, if not done properly, can make people very sick. Thirdly, fresh entrails are only available when you have slaughtered an animal and even then the quantity is limited.

 

The result of all this was that sometime in the late 16th or early 17th century realised there was a better way – the pudding cloth! Instead of slaughtering an animal and then spending hours, if not days, soaking and cleaning the intestines all the home chef had to do was butter and flour a piece of tightly woven cloth (calico is ideal). It was easier, faster and a lot less messy, plus the cloth can be re-used over and over again.

 

The earliest pudding boiled in a cloth that I’m aware of is in John Murrell’s ‘A New Booke of Cookerie’ from 1615. His recipe for a Cambridge Pudding contains breadcrumbs, flour, dates, currants, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, suet, milk, sugar and eggs and most importantly, it’s boiled in a cloth.[2] This however is the only pudding which he recommends using a cloth for, the other boiled puddings are all made in guts or cauls and he offers one fried pudding and one Italian baked pudding. By 1671 though napkins, bags and cloths were much more popular, used in 26 of Robert May’s recipes for puddings.[3]

 

Image taken from page 23 of 'Recollections of Old Christmas: a masque. Performed at Grimston. [By Thomas C. Croker.]' Courtesy of the British Library.

Image taken from page 23 of ‘Recollections of Old Christmas: a masque. Performed at Grimston. [By Thomas C. Croker.]’ Courtesy of the British Library.

Boiled puddings continued to be popular well into the Victorian era, but over time most puddings have also become sweeter (with a few exceptions such as haggis, see here for a sweet haggis recipe). At first they were starch, offal or maybe meat spiced up with a little dried fruit and some cinnamon but by the Victorian period the only reminder of most puddings’ savoury heritage was the suet. Others were based on eggs, such as the popular Quaking Pudding which I chose to make this week, it’s essentially a boiled egg custard with breadcrumbs or flour to keep it together.

 

The Recipe

 

Take a pint of good cream, six eggs, and half the whites, beat them well, and mix with the cream; grate a little nutmeg in, add a little salt, and a little rosewater, if it be agreeable; – grate in the crumb of a halfpenny roll, or a spoonful of flour, first mixed with a little of the cream, or a spoonful of the flour of rice, which you please. Butter a cloth well, and flour it; then put in your mixture, tie it not too close, and boil it half an hour fast. Be sure the water boils before you put it in.[4]

 

I chose to use Hannah Glasse’s recipe for Quaking Pudding (available here) because I was intrigued by the use of rice flour, which conceivably means it could be made gluten free. The only issue with that is flouring the cloth, for which I used normal flour but I imagine it could be done either with gluten free plain flour or possibly with rice flour.

 

In the end, the pudding was easy to put together but took a lot longer to boil than the recipe said. Setting up the saucepan etc is also a bit of a faff if you don’t just happen to have a copper boiling for wash day. To top it all off, I found the taste extremely plain and rather eggy, although some of my taste-testers enjoyed its simplicity. To make it a little more interesting I made a quick sauce based on aside on Ivan Day’s site which says it was frequently served with a sauce of melted butter, sugar and rose-water.[5] It helped a bit. If after that glowing endorsement you would still like to try it, my version of the recipe is below.

Quaking Pudding, recipe from 1774

 

The Redaction

 

Quaking Pudding

 

3 eggs

3 egg yolks, extra

2 cups cream

1/4 nutmeg, grated

1 1/2 tbsp rosewater

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp rice flour

20-30g butter

A couple of tbsp of flour

Slivered almonds to decorate

 

For the sauce:

30g butter, melted

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tbsp rosewater

 

You will also need a large piece of unbleached cotton or calico (wash well in hot water prior to use), kitchen string and a very large saucepan.

 

  1. Fill the saucepan with water and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Take the eggs and extra egg yolks and beat them with the cream. Stir in the grated nutmeg, rosewater and the salt. Add 1 tbsp rice flour and whisk till smooth.
  3. Lay the clean cloth on a flat surface and rub the butter into the cloth, squidging it in with your fingers to make a waxy barrier. Spread the flour over the buttered cloth, then carefully lift the cloth into a round bottomed bowl.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cloth. Gather the edges of the cloth and tie tightly, leaving a bit of room for the mixture to expand. Place gently into the boiling water and boil for 60 mins.
  5. Using tongs, carefully remove the pudding from the water. Cut the string and very gently unwrap the pudding. If as you begin to unwrap the pudding you find that it is still liquid you will need to carefully retie the string and boil the pudding for longer.
  6. To make the sauce mix the melted butter, sugar and rosewater together. Stud the pudding with the almonds and serve with the sauce.

 

The Recipe: Quaking Pudding from The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse (available here)

The Date: 1774

How did you make it? See above.

Time to complete?: 25 mins to put it together and 60 mins to boil.

Total cost: About $6 for the cream and the rosewater. Everything else was in the cupboard.

How successful was it?: It did turn out which was one of the things that I was worried about, but it took a lot longer to cook than the recipe indicated. The taste, however, was very bland and very eggy so not that great.

How accurate?: Pretty accurate, although I used thickened cream instead of plain cream which wasn’t ideal.

IMG_2226

[1] “Pudding, N.,” OED Online (Oxford University Press), accessed September 6, 2014, http://www.oed.com.ezproxy2.library.usyd.edu.au/view/Entry/154127.

[2] John Murrell, A Nevv Booke of Cookerie VVherein Is Set Forth the Newest and Most Commendable Fashion for Dressing or Sowcing, Eyther Flesh, Fish, or Fowle. Together with Making of All Forts of Iellyes, and Other Made-Dishes for Seruice; Both to Beautifie and Adorne Eyther Nobleman or Gentlemans Table. Hereunto Also Is Added the Most Exquisite London Cookerie. All Set Forth according to the Now, New, English and French Fashion. Set Forth by the Obseruation of a Traueller. I.M., 1615th ed., Early English Books, 1475-1640 / 1146:17 (London: Printed for Iohn Browne, and are to be solde at his shop in S. Dunstanes Church-yard, 1615), 37.

[3] KM Wall, “May Pudding Baggage,” Pilgrim Seasonings, May 21, 2013, http://blogs.plimoth.org/pilgrimseasonings/?tag=quaking-pudding.

[4] Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy: Which Far Exceeds Any Thing of the Kind Yet Published … (W. Strahan, J. and F. Rivington, J. Hinton, 1774), 219.

[5] Ivan Day, “Some Interesting English Puddings,” Historic Food, N.D, http://www.historicfood.com/English%20Puddings.htm.

 

Bibliography

 

Day, Ivan. “Some Interesting English Puddings.” Historic Food, N.D. http://www.historicfood.com/English%20Puddings.htm.

Glasse, Hannah. The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy: Which Far Exceeds Any Thing of the Kind Yet Published … W. Strahan, J. and F. Rivington, J. Hinton, 1774.

Murrell, John. A Nevv Booke of Cookerie VVherein Is Set Forth the Newest and Most Commendable Fashion for Dressing or Sowcing, Eyther Flesh, Fish, or Fowle. Together with Making of All Forts of Iellyes, and Other Made-Dishes for Seruice; Both to Beautifie and Adorne Eyther Nobleman or Gentlemans Table. Hereunto Also Is Added the Most Exquisite London Cookerie. All Set Forth according to the Now, New, English and French Fashion. Set Forth by the Obseruation of a Traueller. I.M. 1615th ed. Early English Books, 1475-1640 / 1146:17. London: Printed for Iohn Browne, and are to be solde at his shop in S. Dunstanes Church-yard, 1615.

“Pudding, N.” OED Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed September 6, 2014. http://www.oed.com.ezproxy2.library.usyd.edu.au/view/Entry/154127.

Wall, KM. “May Pudding Baggage.” Pilgrim Seasonings, May 21, 2013. http://blogs.plimoth.org/pilgrimseasonings/?tag=quaking-pudding.