Thursday, July 17, 2014

Several Ways to use Peach Leaves.

I have a few ideas for peach leaves today - and they will be launched into cyberspace while I am myself in the air, on my last leg home from the UK.

Peach Leaf Yeast.
Peach leaves, used in the same way as hops, make excellent yeast. They may be used fresh fro the tree in summer, but the winter supply should be picked before the first frost comes, and dried. A small handful of leaves, scalded in a teacup of milk, makes a nice flavouring for a cake - often used instead of almond. After scalding, let the milk cool before using in the cake.
The Southern Agriculturist and Register of Rural Affairs: Adapted to the Southern Section of the United States, 1832.

Ratafia Cream.
In a tea-cupful of thin cream boil two or three large laurel, or young peach leaves ; when it has boiled three or four minutes, strain, and mix with it a pint of rich sweet Cream ; add three well-beaten whites of eggs, and sweeten it with pounded loaf sugar. Put it into a sauce-pan, and stir it gently one way over a slow fire till it be thick ; pour it into a china dish, and when quite cold, ornament it with sweetmeats cut out like flowers; or strew over the top harlequin comfits.
The Practice of Cookery: Adapted to the Business of Every Day Life, by Mrs Dalgairns, 1832

Plain Custards.
Tie together six or eight peach leaves, and boil them in a quart of milk with a large stick of cinnamon broken up. If you cannot procure peach leaves, substitute a handful of peach-kernels or bitter almonds, or a vanilla bean split in pieces. When it has boiled hard, strain the milk and set it away to cool. Beat very light eight eggs, and stir them by degrees into the milk when it is quite cold, (if warm, the eggs will curdle it, and cause whey at the bottom,) and add gradually a quarter of a pound of sugar. Fill your cups with it; set them in a Dutch oven, and pour round them boiling water sufficient to reach nearly to the tops of the cups. Put hot coals under the oven and on the lid, (which must be previously heated by standing it up before a hot fire,) and bake the custards about fifteen minutes. Send them to table cold, with nutmeg grated over each. Or you may bake the whole in one large dish.
Directions for Cookery, in its various Branches, by Eliza Leslie, 1844

To every pound of cherries put half a pound of lumpsugar, half an ounce of bitter almonds, and four peachleaves; cut the stalks of the cherries, and put them with the sugar, &c in bottles, filling the bottles with brandy. When Morello cherries are used, after three months the liquor may be poured off, and more brandy added.
A New System of Domestic Cookery: Founded Upon Principles of Economy and Adapted to the Use of Private Families, Mrs Rundell, 1842.


Roger Mortimer said...

Have not encountered Mrs Dalgairns before. Enjoy her concise, easily-followed, style.

SometimesKate said...

I have a Shaker cookbook that included a recipe for a cake that is only made in the very early spring because its flavour comes from beating it with peach twigs in which the sap is running.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Roger. Mrs Dalgairns is a delight, isnt she?

The Old Foodie said...

Hi Sometimes Kate. What an interesting idea! I dont remember coming across it before. Thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

There is a spelling mistake in the last bit of the custard instructions. I will not repeat the error here, but I will point out that it ought to read "bake the whole".

The Old Foodie said...

OOPs! That WAS a bad typo! Fixed. I am very grateful!