Hogmanay is Today.
The last day of the year – the chief of “the daft days” - is upon us. As we all know, it is especially celebrated in Scotland where it is called Hogmanay (although they probably got the name from old French, thanks to the Auld Alliance).
If we are to celebrate properly we must consider Scottish food today. On the off-chance that haggis, crappit-heads, Glasgow tripe and sheeps-head broth are not to your liking, I give these recipes from that good Scots lady who called herself Mistress Margaret Dods, but was really the novelist Christian Isobel Johnstone (1781-1857).
From The Cook and Housewife's Manual (1826)
Scottish Shortbread, or Short-cake.
To the fourth of a peck of flour (two pounds) take six ounces of sifted sugar, and of candied citron, orange-peel, and blanched almonds, two ounces each. Cut these in rather long thin slices, which cut in dice and mix with the flour. Rub down among the flour a pound of butter in small bits, melt a half-pound more, and with this work up the flour, &c. The less kneading it gets the more short and crisp the cakes will be. Rollout the paste lightly into a large well-shaped oval cake, about an inch thick, and divide this the narrow way, so as to have two cakes somewhat the shape of a Saxon arch. Pinch the cakes neatly at the edges, and dab them on the top with an instrument, the dabber, used for that purpose, or with a fork. Strew caraway-comfits over the top, and a few strips of citron-peel. Bake on paper, rubbed with flour. The cakes may be square, or oblong.
Obs. Plainer shortbread may be made using less butter and no candied peel. The whole of the butter may be melted, which makes the process easier. Chopped almonds, and buter, are used in larger quantity or Scotch shortbread wanted very rich for sending as a holiday present to England.
Auld Man’s Milk.
Beat the yolks and whites of six eggs separately. Put to the beat yolks sugar and a quart of new milk, or thin sweet cream. Add to this rum, whisky, or brandy to taste (about half a pint). Slip in the whipt whites and give the whole a gentle stir up in the china punch-bowl, in which it should be mixed. It may be flavoured with nutmeg or lemon-zest. This Highland morning-cup is nearly the egg-nog of America.