Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Poor Author’s Pudding.

I have decided, purely on the basis of blog-writer’s whim (try arguing with that; just you dare try), to temporarily discontinue the Gawthorpe Hall series. Instead, I have decided, purely on the basis of fun, to give you a couple of recipes from the wonderful Eliza Acton (Modern Cookery for Private Families, 1845). They seem particularly apt, given that my book Pie: A Global History was released a few months ago, and the next magnum opus (make that double magnum) – Menus from History, is finally in the hands of the production team (which means that the dreaded indexing is finished. Hallelujah!)

The Poor Author's Pudding.
Flavour a quart of new milk by boiling in it for a few minutes half a stick of well-bruised cinnamon, or the thin rind of a small lemon; add a few grains of salt, and three ounces of sugar, and turn the whole into a deep basin: when it is quite cold, stir to it thrce well-beaten eggs, and strain the mixture into a pie-dish. Cover the top entirely with slices of bread free from crust, and half an inch thick, cut so as to join neatly, and buttered on both sides: bake the pudding in a moderate oven for about half an hour, or in a Dutch oven before the fire.
New milk, 1 quart; cinnamon, or lemon-rind; sugar, 3 oz.; little salt; eggs, 3 ; buttered bread : baked ½ hour.

The Publisher's Pudding.
This pudding can scarcely be made too rich. First blanch, and then beat to the smoothest possible paste, six ounces of fresh Jordan almonds, and a dozen bitter ones; pour very gradually to them, in the mortar, three quarters of a pint of boiling cream; then turn them into a cloth, and wring it from them again with strong expression. Heat a full half pint of it afresh, and pour it, as soon as it boils, upon four ounces of fine bread-crumbs, set a plate over, and leave them to become nearly cold; then mix thoroughly with them four ounces of maccaroons, crushed tolerably small; five of finely minced beef-suet, five of marrow, cleared very carefully from fibre, and from the splinters of bone which are sometimes found in it, and shred not very small, two ounces of flour, six of pounded sugar, four of dried cherries, four of the best Muscatel raisins, weighed after they are stoned, half a pound of candied citron, or of citron and orange rind mixed, a quarter saltspoonful of salt, half a nutmeg, the yolks only of seven full-sized eggs, the grated rind of a large lemon, and last of all, a glass of the best Cognac brandy, which must be stirred briskly in by slow degrees. Pour the mixture into a thickly buttered mould or basin, which contains a full quart, fill it to the brim, lay a sheet of buttered writing-paper over, then a well- floured cloth, tie them securely, and boil the pudding for four hours and a quarter; let it stand for two minutes before it is turned out; dish it carefully, and serve it with the German pudding-sauce of page 403.
Jordan almonds, 6 oz.; bitter almonds, 12 ; cream, ¾ pint; breadcrumbs, 4 oz.; cream wrung from almonds, ½ pint; crushed macaroons, 4 oz.; flour 2 oz.; beef-sue^ 5 oz.; marrow, 5 oz.; dried cherries, 4 oz.; stoned Muscatel raisins, 4 oz.; pounded sugar, 6 oz.; candied citron (or citron and orange-rind mixed), ½ lb.; pinch of salt; ½ nutmeg; grated rind, 1 lemon; yolks of eggs, 7; best cognac, 1 wineglassful; boiled in mould or basin, 4 ¼ hours.
Obs.—This pudding, which, if well made, is very light as well as rich, will be sufficiently good for most tastes without the almonds: when they are omitted, the boiling cream must be poured at once to the bread-crumbs.

Don’t you love the idea of obtaining the almond cream by wringing it “with strong expression” ?

Eliza gives two versions of the suggested German pudding sauce:

A German Custard Pudding Sauce.
Boil very gently together half a pint of new milk or of milk and cream mixed, a very thin strip or two of fresh lemon-rind, a bit of cinnamon, half an inch of a vanilla bean, and an ounce and a half or two ounces of sugar, until the milk is strongly flavoured ; then strain, and pour it, by slow degrees, to the well-beaten yolks of three eggs, smoothly mixed with a knife-end-full (about half a teaspoonful) of flour, a grain or two of salt, and a tablespoonful of cold milk; and stir these very quickly round as the milk is added. Put the sauce again into the stewpan, and whisk or stir it rapidly until it thickens, and looks creamy. It must not be placed upon the fire, but should be held over it, when this is done. The Germans mill their sauces to a froth; but they may be whisked with almost equally good effect, though a small mill for the purpose—formed like a chocolate mill— may be had at a very trifling cost.

A Delicious German Pudding-Sauce.
Dissolve in half a pint of sherry or of Madeira, from three to four ounces of fine sugar, but do not allow the wine to boil; stir it hot to the well-beaten yolks of six fresh eggs, and mill the sauce over a gentle fire until it is well thickened and highly frothed; pour it over a plum, or any other kind of sweet boiled pudding, of which it much improves the appearance. Half the quantity will be sufficient for one of moderate size. We recommend the addition of a dessertspoonful of strained lemon-juice to the wine.
For large pudding, sherry or Madeira, ½ pint; fine sugar, 3 to 4 oz.; yolks of eggs, 6; lemon-juice (if added), 1 dessertspoonful.
Obs.—As we have already said in the previous receipt, it is customary to froth sweet sauces in Germany with a small machine made like a chocolate-mill. Two silver forks fastened together at the handles may be used instead on an emergency, or the sauce may be whisked to the proper state, like the one which precedes it.
Great care must be taken not to allow these sauces to curdle. The safer plan is to put any preparation of the kind into a white jar, and to place it over the fire in a pan of boiling water, and then to stir or mill it until it is sufficiently thickened : the jar should not be half filled, and it should be large enough to allow the sauce to be worked easily. The water should not reach to within two or three inches of the brim. We give these minute details for inexperienced cooks

Quotation for the Day.

I pray that death may strike me in the middle of a large meal.
I wish to be buried under the tablecloth between four large dishes.
Marc Desuagiers


EB said...

I love the author's vs. the publisher's pudding. Brilliant.

The Old Foodie said...

I love it too! Good old Eliza clearly had some issues related to her work and her publisher!

KT said...

That's wonderful - "we give these minute details for the inexperienced cook." I must be more inexperienced than I thought - it never would have occurred to me to tie two forks together to substitute for a whisk! That's a great trick!