Welcome to the third week of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Great Rare Books Bake Off! This week we will be discussing oven temperatures and sharing main course and side dish recipes from our collection. Please visit our introduction post to find out how you can participate.
The way oven temperatures have been described in recipes has changed drastically over time. A range of temperatures are required for different types of food and very few of the recipes in our collection specify exact temperatures. Instead, they might use terms such as “quick oven” or “slow oven,” and cooks had to estimate the temperature of their oven by how long they could hold their hands in the oven before it was too hot to bear. Converting a historic recipe for a modern kitchen may require some trial and error to find the temperature that will cook your food just right. Oven temperature conversion charts are also available online to help guide your efforts.
Yorkshire pudding is a British side dish that isn’t what most people would consider a traditional “pudding.” Instead, it is more like an airy bread roll that can be served filled with meat and vegetables or as a side for a traditional British Sunday roast. What is now known as Yorkshire pudding was once called Dripping Pudding, but was renamed by Hannah Glasse in her book The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy in 1747. FSU Special Collections & Archives has a 1751 edition of the book. The recipe for Yorkshire pudding is shown below.
The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy By Hannah Glasse (1751) http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_TX705G541751
Yorkshire pudding: Take a Quart of Milk, four Eggs, and a little Salt, make it up into a thick Batter with Flour, like a Pancake Batter. You must have a good Piece of Meat at the Fire, take a Stew-pan and put some Dripping in, set it on the Fire, when it boils, pour in your Pudding, let it bake on the Fire till you think it is nigh enough, then turn a Plate upside-down in the Dripping-pan, that the Dripping may not be blacked; set your Stew-pan on it under your Meat, and let the Dripping drop on the Pudding, and the Heat of the Fire come to it, to make it of a fine brown. When your Meat is done and set to Table, drain all the Fat from your Pudding, and set it on the Fire again to dry a little; then Hide it as dry as you can into a Dish, melt some Butter, and pour into a Cup, and set in the Middle of the Pudding. It is an exceeding good Pudding, the Gravy of the Meat eats well with it.
The Great Majestic range cook book by Majestic Manufacturing Co. (1910-1919) http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_TX715G843
Sweet Potato Custard: 1 pint of milk, 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar; beat yolks until light, add milk and sugar; press steamed potatoes through a sieve and stir into custard until it is thick; season with cinnamon and a Tbsp of butter. Bake in an under-crust; make a meringue of the whites and spread over the top and return to the oven and brown. Irish potatoes may be used in the same way.
English Roast Turkey: Stuff with bread crumbs (not using the crusts) rubbed fine; moisted with butter and 2 eggs, seasoned with salt, pepper, parsley, sage, thyme or sweet marjoram; sew up, skewer and place to roast in a rack within a dripping pan; spread with bits of butter, turn and baste frequently with butter, pepper, salt, and water; a few minutes before it is done glaze with the white of an egg; dish the turkey, pour off most of the fat, add the chopped giblets and the water in which they were boiled; thicken with flour and butter rubbed together, stir in the dripping pan, let boil thoroughly and serve in a gravy boat.
The Country kitchen: the farmer recipe book. (1911) http://purl.flvc.org/fsu/fd/FSU_TX715C8631911
Scalloped potatoes: Pare and slice the potatoes; let stand in cold water 1 hour; take a pudding dish, put in 1 layer of potatoes; sprinkle with salt and pepper; add some small lumps of butter, then dredge a little flour over; another layer of potatoes, etc., until dish is as full as you wish; then pour sweet milk over, enough to cover the whole; bake in a moderate oven until potatoes are done.
Spinach: Wash and pick 1/2 peck young spinach; wilt by pouring boiling hot water over it; drain in colander; chop fine with small onion; put a lump of butter the size of a hickory nut and 1 Tbsp flour into hot pan; when brown add spinach and a cup of water; season to taste; cook until tender.
Yorkshire Pudding Recipe Attempt
I was excited to try the recipe for Yorkshire pudding from The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse (1751). I have had Yorkshire pudding with a Sunday roast in England so I was curious to see if my attempt would taste anything like the authentic pudding I had eaten.
I made some changes to the amounts of ingredients from the original recipe. I used 4 eggs but decreased the amount of milk from a quart to 2 cups. No exact amount of flour was given so I added until my batter resembled a thinner pancake batter, about 1 cup of flour. Since I didn’t have any drippings or an open fire available, I settled for a thin coating of cooking oil on a cast iron pan heated in the oven. For obvious reasons no oven temperature was given in the original recipe so I consulted several other modern Yorkshire pudding recipes online and settled for a 450 degree oven. Once the pan was preheated and the oil was hot I poured the batter into the sizzling pan.
Most modern Yorkshire Pudding recipes recommend not opening the oven once the pan is in because the pudding can deflate and fall. I kept my oven light on and checked the pudding every few minutes. I took it out once the sides were puffed and the pudding was golden brown, about 20 minutes. I made the pudding on a Sunday evening that we were having steak for dinner so we had a sort of Americanized version of a Sunday roast supper.
I’m happy with my first attempt! The edges were airy and fluffy but the center was too dense. The recipes was easy and quick, I would just tweak the ingredient amounts next time -Kristin Hagaman
We saved the best for last! Join us November 24th for the final week of the Great Rare Books Bake Off – dessert week!