Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Carrot as a substitute for eggs?

Now here is an interesting idea: from the Adelaide Observer (South Australia), of 19 July 1845.

Carrots a Substitute for Eggs in Puddings.
It is not generally known, and will not, perhaps, be credited, when it is observed that boiled carrots, when properly prepared, form an admirable succedaneum for eggs in the making of puddings. They must, for this purpose, be well boiled and mashed, and afterwards passed through a coarse cloth, or horsehair sieve. The pulp, when thus cleared of any chance fibrous or granular matter, may be introduced among the other ingredients constituting the pudding, with the total omission of eggs, in a quantity proportionate to the size of the former. A pudding composed partly of the above material will be found to be considerably lighter than if the same had been made with eggs, and will impart a far more grateful and agreeable flavour. Upon the principle of economy, the above fact is well worthy the prudent housewife's attention, and there are some housekeepers, approved culinary practitioners too, who, in making their Christmas plum-puddings, adopt the recipe under notice in preference to using eggs for this purpose. Any person who will try the above experiment upon a small scale, will be fully satisfied with the justice of the remarks here submitted. —Sun.

Carrots as a substitute for eggs? I am intrigued, but slightly disbelieving. I have come across the concept before, in a recipe for carrot pudding from 1848 in which the author claimed that carrots have “something the properties of eggs, in being light.”

The idea was discussed in the American magazine Popular Science in May 1918, which seems to be sourced from wartime Food Conservation Notes. The author of the article goes so far as to say that puddings made with carrot instead of eggs were not only lighter, but more palatable. In spite of the name of the magazine however, no attempt was made to explain the phenomenon.

Carrots Used as a Substitute for Eggs in Puddings.
In these days of high prices, anything that can be used as a substitute, and give results at the same time, will be a welcome addition in helping to keep down the high cost of living. Boiled carrots, when properly treated, form an excellent substitute for eggs in puddings, etc. Boil the carrots until they are tender and nearly ready to fall apart; drain carefully, and mash and press through a coarse cloth or strainer. The pulp is then introduced among the other ingredients of the pudding, and the eggs totally omitted. Puddings made in this manner are lighter than where eggs are used, and are more palatable. The carrots also impart a fine yellow color to the pudding so that nobody can tell whether eggs were used or not.

Carrot pudding seems to have been quite a thing for a couple of centuries. I have previously given several recipes for carrot puddings (made with eggs) from 1744, 1774, and 1823, but if carrots could indeed substitute for eggs, it would be good news for the egg-allergic, and for vegans, perhaps. For those of us not so constrained or inclined, however, I would suggest that any carrot pudding made without eggs might be better made with them.

As the recipe for the day, in keeping with the secondary theme of carrots in sweet dishes, I give you a rather interesting and elegant (but not eggless) carrot “cake” which is really more of a pudding, from The Cook's Dictionary and House-keeper's Directory (1830) by Richard Dolby.

Carrot Cake.
Take a dozen large and very red carrots; scrape and boil them in water with a little salt; when done, drain them, take out the hearts, and rub the rest through a bolting; put them in a stewpan, and dry them over the fire. Make a cream pâtissière, with about half a pint of milk; and when done mix it with the carrots; add a pinch of minced orange-flowers pralinée, three quarters of a pound of powder-sugar, four whole eggs; put in, one at a time, the yolks of six more, and a quarter of a pound of melted butter; mix all these ingredients together well; whip up the six whites to a froth, and stir them in by degrees. Butter a mould, and put some crumb of bread in it, in a minute or two, turn out all the bread, and three quarters of an hour before the cake is wanted, pour the preparation into the mould and bake it. Serve it hot.

1 comment:

tess said...

I suspect that replacing some of the eggs with strained carrots might result in what i'll call the "SnackWells effect" -- substituting fibre-less carb (i.e. sugar) for fat and protein. Admittedly, I haven't boiled or steamed a LOT of puddings, but even with well-beaten eggs in them, they always seem to turn out rather dense.