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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Apple Leather

Apple Leather

If you have a look at all the recipes in the “Fruit” category on this blog, you’re going to notice that most of my fruit recipes feature apples. I just did the math, and as of today, we’re talking 62.5% of my fruit recipes. Here’s the reason why: when we moved into our current home in Hamilton, we didn’t realize that the giant tree in our backyard was in fact a very prolific old apple tree!

August is my unofficial Apple Month, when I try to keep as many apples out of the compost bin as possible. Do you want cooking apples next summer? Let me know if you do and they are yours! This Apple Leather recipe is from one of the Victorian cookbooks that I turn to again and again, Miss Leslie's Directions for Cookery from 1851.

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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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Cawdel of Almaund Mylk

Cawdel of Almaund Mylk

Cawdel of Almaund Mylk is a rather boozy and thick warm beverage that is slightly silty, made with white wine, ground almonds, sugar and ginger. This is a drink that you'll want to sip and be prepared for a strong alcohol taste, but if you are vegan and miss drinking eggnog, this is a recipe that you may want to try out.

So far, Cawdel of Almaund Mylk is the oldest recipe I've ever made on this blog. It is found in The Forme of Cury, which is a scroll of recipes written by the Master-Cooks of King Richard II in the 1390s. This is my first foray into Medieval Cookery, so I was surprised that many of its recipes contain almond milk! I did some research and found out that almond milk was a favourite of the British upper class in that era because there were many days in the Christian calendar when eating dairy was forbidden.

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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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Apple Butter

Apple Butter

Besides the fact that Apple Butter is very delicious, I had an ulterior motive for making this recipe. I made Apple Butter because I wanted to make use of the discarded apples from the historic cooking classes that I taught at Nelles Manor Museum this fall, so you'll find a bonus Apple Water recipe in this blog post.

Our Apple Butter recipe is found in Miss Leslie's Directions for Cookery, published in Philedelphia in 1851. Making Apple Butter is much, much easier in our era because we're able to cook down our apples in a slow cooker, without having to stir the apples " nearly all the time with a stick" in a kettle suspended over a fire!

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Albany Cake

Albany Cake

If a sweet scone and a cookie got married and had a baby, that baby would be Albany Cakes. However you classify Albany Cakes, this sweet bit of bakery with cinnamon and rose water flavours is deelish! This was another recipe that we made at the cooking classes that I taught this autumn at Nelles Manor Museum in Grimsby. Our Albany Cakes recipe comes from The Frugal Housewife's Manual, published in Toronto in 1840, but written by “A.B.”, a mysterious resident of Grimsby who likely would have known the Nelles family.

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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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