Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New Old Christmas Recipes for the Collection.

There seems to be no limit to the variations possible in traditional Christmas recipes. Here are three more for your enjoyment. They have also been added to the Vintage Christmas Recipes archive.

1829: An “Italian” cake from an English cookbook.

Another sort of Spongati, or Italian Christmas Cakes.
Five yolks of fresh eggs; one pound seven ounces of sugar in powder; seven ounces of bread, dried and powdered; one pound two ounces of almonds, blanched and roasted like cocoa; four ounces of wild pine-apple kernels; three drachms of fine cinnamon; three drachms of cloves; three and a half drachms of nutmeg; two ounces of preserved cedratys; and one drachm of ground pepper.
This mixture must likewise be put into a crust or covering made of the following paste, viz. steep two ounces of gum-dragon [gum traganth] in twice its volume of orange-flower water, and put on your marble slab fourteen pounds of pulverized sugar, and six pounds of fine starch; add your gum, and strain it through a cloth like the paste for drops; form a malleable paste by adding a little white wine; make your crust, put in the above ingredients, and cover them with a large wafer paper; make them an inch thick. You may have wooden moulds representing different subjects, into which you may put your paste, and fill the moulds as above, covering them with a wafer paper. They must be kept in a stove in a gentle heat a day before they are baked, in a slack oven.

[From: The Italian confectioner; or, Complete economy of desserts. William Alexis Jarrin; London, 1829]

1854: Christmas pudding made with snow (and potatoes). This is from a book of “recipes for cooking on hygienic principles” – what we would now call a health-food cookbook

Christmas Pudding.

Mix together a pound and a quarter of wheaten flour or meal, half a pint of sweet cream, a pound of stoned raisins, four ounces of currants, four ounces of potatoes, mashed, five ounces of brown sugar, and a gill of milk. When thoroughly worked together, add eight large spoonfuls of clean snow; diffuce it through the mass as quickly as possible; tie the pudding tightly in a bag previously wet in cold water, and boil four hours.
The book states that “It is a singular fact that puddings may be made light with snow instead of eggs – a circumstance of some importance in the winter season, when eggs are dear and snow is cheap. Two large tablespoonfuls are equivalent to one egg. The explanation is found in the fact that snow involves within its flakes a large amount of atmospheric air, which is set free as the snow melts.”

[From: The New Hydropathic Cook-book. Trall, R.T, New York, 1854]

1870: “Not healthful” mince pies – with maple syrup and cider.

Mince Pies.
Mince pies are not healthful, and one batch in a season is quite sufficient. A shin of beef boiled down till very tender, one pound of nice clear beef suet chopped very fine, a table-spoonful of salt, six pounds of greening apples peeled, cored and chopped, three pounds of raisins stoned, three of currants carefully cleaned, one pound of brown sugar, a cup of maple syrup, half a pound of citron, shredded, half a pound of candied lemon peel, a quart of the best cider. This mixture makes rich pies, but mince pies are nothing if not rich. These are also particularly fine in flavor. Instead of cider, some persons put in a quart of Madeira wine, and a little brandy; but it is better not to use alcohol in food when it can be avoided.

From: Jennie June's American Cookery Book. Jane Cunningham Croly, New York, 1870


Anonymous said...

Interesting blog. Have you ever attempted to make any of these quaint and antiquainted recipes? If so, any interesting stories there?

The Old Foodie said...

Hello Obermuda. I make them occasionally, but I more often use them for inspiration. I would love to have the time to practice a lot of this stuff, but the reality is that my life is too busy at present - I must stick to the theory only!