Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Brighton Cakes and Biscuits.

I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Brighton, and it occurred to me that I have not written a post specifically relating to this city. So, today I give you some fine seaside treats, which - nominally at least, are Brighton-related.

Brighton Cakes.
With one pound of dried and sifted loaf sugar, three ounces of sweet, and one ounce of bitter almonds pounded with a little rose water, and, if approved, four ounces of cleaned currants. Stir into this half a pound of fresh butter, beaten to a cream, mix it well together. The cakes may be baked in very small tins, or cropped in rough knobs upon floured tins.
The Practice of Cookery: Adapted to the Business of Every Day Life (Edinburgh, 1830) by Mrs Dalgairns.

Brighton Rock Cakes.
Made to look rough by pulling off the dough with a fork onto the baking pan.  Dg made of 1 1/2 lb. flour, 1/2 lb each sugar, butter, citron, and currants, 1/2 oz. ammonia dissolved in a little milk, worked together baled in pieces, size of walnuts.
 The Steward's Handbook and Guide to Party Catering (1903) by Jessup Whitehead.

And from a book published in Brighton's heyday, two variations on the theme of Brighton biscuits, the first with the rather odd instruction (for a seaside-named place,) not to bake them near the coast. The book is:  A treatise on the art of baking, with a preliminary introduction, shewing the various productions... with a number of valuable receipts, original and selected for the baker and domestic circle (Edinburgh,1828)  by John White.

Brighton Biscuit, first kind.
Take four pounds of raw sugar, and four ounces of salts, with one quart of water, mix them all together in an earthen-ware dish, with a little flour; let this stand twenty-four hours, then add three quarters of a-pound of butter, and make a very weak dough, roll it out, and cut the biscuit with a plain cutter, put them on tins well buttered, giving them room to spread, wash them with a little milk, and give them a moderate oven. These biscuits are very troublesome to bake; they should not be baken near the coast, but for immediate use, as the sea air spoils them in twenty-Four hours.

Brighton Biscuit, second kind.
Take four pounds of flour, rub into it one pound of butter, and beat up into a high froth four eggs, but, if they are small, six should be taken; beat into powder one ounce and a-half of salts, then take one pound and a-half of loaf-sugar, with as much water as will make a smooth dough, and some carroway seeds, roll it out in sheets, prickle each sheet the same as seed biscuit, and cut them with a plain cutter, rather larger than the Bath biscuit; put them on tins, wash them with milk and eggs, and bake them in a moderate oven, and wash them again when baken.


Beth W said...

Wait a minute. Ammonia? In the cakes? Is this the same ammonia we use for cleaning? Yikes!

Steve said...

I'm sorry but:

1/2 oz. ammonia dissolved in a little milk"

what the heck is that about?

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Elaine and Steve. It means "sal ammoniac" or ammonium chloride, which used to be used (I dont know whether it still is, in commercial bakeries( to give baked goods a crisp texture.

Sue said...

Ammonium chloride is bleach. Sal ammoniac or baker's ammonia is ammonium carbonate.