To make fine pippen Tarts

To make fine pippen Tarts

To make fine pippen Tarts is a handwritten recipe from an early 1700s English manuscript in the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. It’s a recipe I’ve wagered in the battle to use up apples from the gargantuan apple tree in my back yard, and also a recipe that was interpreted in 2017 on the food history blog Cooking in the Archives. On this blog, Dr. Marissa Nicosia recreates Early Modern recipes from 1500- 1800 for the contemporary kitchen, and she is also one of my most enthusiastic supporters on twitter! You’ll find Cooking in the Archives at https://rarecooking.com/ and on twitter and Instagram as @rare_cooking.

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Carrot Fritters

Carrot Fritters

Carrot Fritters are very delicious, but they taste like oranges, not carrots. I think sneaky parents of picky eaters could puree the carrots very smoothly, call them Orange Pancakes and use this recipe to get some vegetables into their kids.

I made this recipe from the 1787 The Lady’s Assistant for Regulating and Supplying the Table at a recipe testing day at Nelles Manor Museum in Grimsby, Ontario. I’ll be teaching 3 open hearth cooking classes on July 28 & 30 at Nelles Manor and as of today, there are still tickets available for all three classes. Contact Nelles Manor at info@nellesmanor.ca or 289 – 235 – 7755 to reserve your spots

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Rhubarb and Banana Fool

Rhubarb and Banana Fool

One evening recently, I found myself driving home from visiting my Mom with a small harvest of fresh rhubarb from her garden in the passenger seat. Basically as soon as I set foot in my door, I searched for a historic rhubarb recipe that wasn’t Rhubarb Jam, Stewed Rhubarb or Rhubarb Pie (the things I do for fun!). Rhubarb and Banana Fool, from the 1900 cookbook Mrs. Beeton’s Cold Sweets, was the most intriguing to me.

A good description of this recipe in today’s terms would be a low-sugar banana and rhubarb smoothie, with a suggested whipped cream topping. Discovering the Rhubarb and Banana Fool recipe made me wonder: “When did people start eating bananas in North America?”, so I delve into answering that question by having a look at American and Canadian cookbooks and the establishment of the Boston Fruit Company. You’ll also find a bit of bonus info about Cochineal, an insect used as a red dye.

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Icing for Cake

Icing for Cake

Icing for Cake saved the day when I had about 5 dozen bland Ammonia Cakes that needed some extra pizzazz! Both Ammonia Cakes and Icing for Cake are found in the 1898 The New Galt Cookbook, which is a community cookbook compiled not far from where I grew up and where I live today. Icing for Cake is a simple white sugar and milk icing that hardens within minutes and you could drizzle it on cakes, cookies, donuts or squares.

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Ammonia Cakes

Ammonia Cakes

Ammonia Cakes: probably the least appetizing cookie name that I’ve ever come across. These cakes use ammonium bicarbonate (baker’s ammonia) as the leavening agent and I assure you that they don’t taste like ammonia, but they will temporarily stink up your kitchen while they bake! Ammonia Cakes fall on the bland side of the cookie spectrum, so I was lucky to find the recipe Icing for Cake in the same recipe book and I iced them the next day.

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Honeycomb, or Roll Gingerbread

Honeycomb, or Roll Gingerbread

I was intrigued by this gingerbread cookie recipe from The Cook's Complete Guide (1810): gingerbread cookies rolled like wafers! The historic recipe instructs us to "bake it gently; when hot cut it in squares, and while warm roll it over a stick, like wafers, till cold". But yet, my gingerbread cookies that I ended up with are flat squares. This is one of those occurrences when a historic recipe doesn't turn out as expected the first time around (they instantly cracked and broke when I tried to bend them). This is a delicious lightly flavoured Lemon Gingersnap, so I recommend it, whether it is rolled or flat.

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Orange Drops

Orange Drops

I wanted to make a candy recipe in honour of Halloween this year, so I did a search on my favourite place to discover new old cookbooks, the Internet Archive, and found the 1788 gem A new collection of receipts in confectionary.

Orange Drops are a candy made of a dehydrated purée containing orange peel, white sugar and a bit of orange juice. Depending on how you dehydrate them, Orange Drops can be crispy or soft like a jujube. If you love Candied Orange Peel, you'll probably enjoy these Orange Drops! They’re less sweet than Candied Orange Peel (probably because they don't have the white sugar coating found on candied peels), so expect a balanced sweet & sour citrus flavour.

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Apple Frazes

Apple Frazes

Apple Frazes are a tasty apple pancake from the 18th-century classic: The art of cookery made plain and easy by Hannah Glasse. Through making this recipe, I've learned that adding little bit of sherry to your pancake batter is a very good idea!

I had the pleasure of frying my Apple Frazes over an open hearth built in the 1780s at Nelles Manor Museum, where I'll be teaching Open Hearth Cooking Classes. The September Classes have sold out, but we've added a third class on November 4th at 1:00. At this class we'll be making the same Autumn recipes as the classes in September, only at the end of the Fall season rather than the beginning.

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Shrewsbury Cake

Shrewsbury Cake

Shrewsbury Cake is one of first recipes that I tested out for the Open Hearth Cooking Classes that I'm teaching at Nelles Manor in Grimsby, Ontario in September. They are crisp & buttery, and the flavour of caraway seeds balances out the sweetness of these cookies. Shrewsbury Cake is from the first English-language cookbook that was both compiled & printed in Canada. The Frugal Housewife's Manual was published in Toronto in 1840, but the cookbook author is credited as “A. B. of Grimsby”. I love this connection to the Nelles family, since they likely would have known the mysterious A. B. who wrote the book.

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Queen's Drops

Queen's Drops

Queen's Drops are a basic sugar & spice cookie with a hint of dried currants. The recipe is found in The Cook Not Mad from 1831, which has the distinction of being the first English-language cookbook to be published in Canada! They are delicious with both white or brown sugar, but I prefer the extra flavour that comes with using brown. The dried currants provide little intense sweet flavour pops, and our recipe suggests using "any agreeable spice", so feel free to customize and add your favourite baking spices.

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