Apple pudding, two ways…

If you’ve enjoyed a bumper crop of apples this year, you’re probably still trying to find good recipes for using them up. If you’ve already had your fill of apple pie and have stocked up your cupboards with apple jams and jellies, then here are another two ways with apples for you to try…

Recipe for Boston Apple Pudding, as transcribed from The Cook's Oracle in our Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

Regency recipe for Boston Apple Pudding, transcribed by our Unknown Ladies from Kitchiner’s  The Cook’s Oracle

Boston Apple Pudding

Peel one dozen and a half of good apples. Take out the cores, cut them small, put into a stewpan that will just hold them with a little water, a little cinnamon, two cloves and the peel of a lemon. Stir over a slow fire till quite soft. Then sweeten with moist sugar and pass it through a hair sieve. Add to it the yolks of four eggs and one white, a quarter of a pound of good butter, half a nutmeg, the peel of a lemon grated and the juice of one lemon. Beat all well together. Line the inside of a pie dish with puff paste and bake half an hour.

Georgian recipe for Baked Apple Pudding from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

Georgian recipe for Baked Apple Pudding from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

A Baked Apple Pudding

Take twelve […] large pippins. Coddle them over ye fire very slowly that they do not crack. When the are soft, peel, core them & pulp them through a cullander. Add to this three sponfuls of orange flower water, ten eggs well beat, all ye whites left out & strained, ½ a pound of butter melted. Make it very sweet. Grate the peel of two lemons & the juic of one. Half a hour will bake it.

And, if you’re still in need of inspiration, why not take a look back at another  apple pudding recipe we shared earlier in the year, which uses cream and crushed biscuits. One of our readers, Catherine, gave it a go – you can see the results by taking a look at her Georgian puddings, recreated

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Preserving fruits the sugar-free way

Two sugar-free recipes for preserving fruit.

The first, for green plums or apples, uses a layer of melted suet to seal the fruits from the air – a method commonly known as potting. We like the idea of boiling the fruits with kale leaf to them a lasting, vibrant green colour:

A method for potted plums or apples from the 18th century compilers of our The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

A method for potted plums or apples from the 18th century compilers of our The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

To Preserve Green Plumbs or Apples

Take the plumbs and pare them very thin and as you pare them, throw them into cold water, parings and all. Then put them in to scald and green them with a cale leaf. When they are green, take them of and let them coole, Then take the ordinary plumbs or apples and boyle them to mash and when they are all cold, take an earthern croc well scalded, and lay a layer of pulp and a layer plumbs till your pot is full. Then take rendred seuit and power on them so the will keep all the year.

Regency cookery writer Dr William Kitchiner has another method up his sleeve – in this case gently heating fruit in wide-mouthed bottles, and then sealing them with corks to create an effective vacuum:

Dr Kitchiner’s instructions for bottling fruit, as transcribed in The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

Dr Kitchiner’s instructions for bottling fruit, as transcribed in The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

Preserved Fruit Without Sugar

Take damsons &c when not too ripe, pick off the stalks and put them into wide mouthed bottles (put in only those that are whole). Shake them well down. Stop the bottles with new soft corks, not too tight. Set them in a very slow oven (nearly cold) four or five hours. When they begin to shrink in the bottles, it is a sure sign that the fruit is thoroughly warm. Take them out and, before they are cold, drive in the corks quite tight. Set them in a bottle rack or basket with the mouth down.

“Appel dumplins”

Apples being sold in Stratford place at the beginning of the 19th century

Apples being sold in Stratford place at the beginning of the 19th century

Today’s 18th century style apple ‘dumplins’ are baked rather than boiled, making them a little less messy than the orange and lemon versions our Cooking Up History tried out.

Appel Dumplins

Scoop some of the largest appels you can get & fill their skin with some good stewed appels. The[n] is the pap sweetned. Stick a piece of citron in the middle of them & set them in the oven that will bake tarts. Let them stand in the oven half an hour, then serve them with melted butter, rose water & sugar. This is for a first course.

Although sweet to taste, the dumplings were intended to be set out on the table as part of an array of first course dishes.

Today we structure our meals quite differently, and these baked apple skins would probably be thought of by most diners today as a dessert. If you are tempted to part with Georgian dining tradition, why not go the whole hog and serve them with a jug of warm custard…

To preserve raspberries

Raspberries offer a real taste of summer, but if you’d like to enjoy them all the year round, why not try this Georgian preserving recipe?

"To preserve rasberrys", a Georgian method from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

“To preserve rasberrys”, a Georgian method from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

To Preserve Rasberrys

Take aples & slice them & put them in a skilet to boyl & when thick, run them through a flannel bag. Then take an equal quantity of rasberrys & curran[t] juice with ye weight of sugar & boyl it tell it jelys. Then give yr raspberrys a boyl in it. Take them up and let them be only milk warm when you put them in yr crock.

The Cooking Up History sessions – 2: kidney florentine and fruit dumplings

Following the successful launch of our Cooking Up History sessions last month, we were inspired to put on our pinnies again to try out some more recipes from our Georgian cookbook. Willing volunteers David and Christina joined us in the Archives kitchen, and enthusiastically took up the challenge of recreating a couple of rather unusual recipes.

Our Archives Assistant Kim sits down with David and Christina to try the Florentine

Our Archives Assistant Kim sits down with David and Christina to try the Florentine

First up on the menu was a sweet and savoury dish called ‘Veal Kidney Florentine’.  Baked in a pastry case, the dish didn’t look anything out of the ordinary: a generously filled pie with a decorative latticed topping. We all agreed, however, the flavour was distinctly out of kilter with today’s cuisine, and tasted nothing like anything we had ever tried.

We were really pleased with the look of our veal kidney florentine

We were really pleased with the look of our veal kidney florentine

Not everyone was keen, but David was fairly positive. He thought the dish was “not unpleasant, but very unusual and exotic”. Perhaps not surprising given the unfamiliar blend of ingredients used in the filling: a tongue-tingling mix of kidney, apples, orange peel and lettuce, spices (mace and nutmeg) and a good glug of sherry.

Christina felt it was “more of a sweet dish like an apple pie rather than a savoury one”, and rather unusual therefore to find served as a first course. The method was easy to follow, and everyone agreed that the dish looked stunning, even if the taste didn’t quite live up to its appearance! We wondered whether the recipe could be tweaked for modern palates by adding more meat, and decreasing the fruit content, as the taste of the apple was pretty overpowering.

Our 18th century style orange and lemon dumplings

Our 18th century style orange and lemon dumplings

Moving on from the florentine, we had a go at ‘Orange and Lemon Dumplins’. To make these, we scooped the flesh out of lemons and oranges, and filled the zesty casings with a spice and brandy infused almond breadcrumb mixture.

The batter resembled the texture of thick porridge as we spooned it into the fruit shells. The ‘lid’ of each fruit was then put back, and secured by wrapping the whole citrus in muslin. We then faced an agonising decision. How long should we cook them for? The recipe suggested that they would “take as much boyling as a piece of beif”. How long is a piece of string?

The orange and lemon dumplings, boiling in their muslin wrappers

The orange and lemon dumplings, boiling in their muslin wrappers

In the end, we did cook the fruit too long. Overboiled, the dumplings were at the point of near collapse when we took them out of the pan.

The orange and lemon dumplings received a mixed reaction. Someone described the filling as “good comfort food” whilst David preferred the zestiness of the actual lemon and orange casings that held the mixture. We all thought  the dish was somewhat lacking in flavour. On reflection, maybe we hadn’t sweetened the mix enough. As with many other recipes in the Cookbook, there were no quantities to go by – only the vague instruction to add ‘some sugar to taste’.

The dumpling ingredients – sugar, brandy, almonds and citrus – had led us to think of the dish as a dessert, but in fact the Cookbook describes it as an accompaniment for a main course. Perhaps the blandness of the dish was intended to balance the flavour of the richer main course dish. Maybe we missed a trick by tasting the florentine and dumplings one after the other rather than together.  It is possible that eating the two dishes together would have offered us quite a different taste experience.

Tempted to take up the challenge? See our Cooking Up History page for all the recipes our intrepid volunteers have tried to date.

We’d love to know how you get on with these, or any other recipes from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies… Email your photos and findings to archives@westminster.gov.uk, or post a comment on the blog!

[Georgina]

Georgian puddings, recreated…

We’ve received these wonderful photos from Catherine, who’s been following our blog over the past few months and trying out the Cookbook recipes in her own kitchen…

First up, this rather stunning apple pudding, accompanied by a perfectly baked Naples biscuit:

Catherine made her own Naples biscuit to accompany her Georgian apple pudding.

Catherine made her own Naples biscuit to accompany her Georgian apple pudding.

Catherine says:

This Apple Pudding is very quick to make and a different way to serve apples.  Modern sponge fingers would work well, but I made a batch of Naples biscuits up since you can’t just go out and buy them these days.  I served it with one.  Now I just need a recipe to use the rest up….

Inspired? Find the recipe in our Biscuit Basics post!

She also made this very fine Spanish pudding:

We love the look of this 18th century style Spanish pudding, created by Catherine from a The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies recipe.

We love the look of this 18th century style Spanish pudding, created by Catherine from a Cookbook of Unknown Ladies recipe.

How did it taste? Well, Catherine tells us that while the combination of flavours might seem unusual, “it has a very pleasant, fresh ‘botanical’ flavour from the bay and rosewater”.

We love what Catherine’s created from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies.

Why not get creative too, and serve up an 18th century style pudding tonight? If you do, be sure to send us the photographs (archives@westminster.gov.uk) or leave a comment here on the blog to let us know how you get on!