16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Thursday, August 31, 1911: Went to town this afternoon. Had to get a lunch box. Helped pick the pears. Harriet Seibert was here awhile in the afternoon. She rode her old nag down instead of walking.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
I wonder what the Muffly’s did with the pears. Maybe they made Pear Fritters. Fritters were popular a hundred years ago. Here’s an old recipe:
4 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
Grated rind of l lemon
½ cup milk
Shortening or lard for frying
Peel, quarter, and core pears. Sprinkle with lemon juice and 4 tablespoons sugar. Let stand for 1 hour.
In a bowl beat together 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, salt, lemon rind, eggs, and milk. Dip prepared pear quarters in fritter batter. Fry in deep fat until golden. Drain on brown paper or paper towels.
Adapted from recipe in Lowney’s Cook Book (1907)
When I made this recipe I had some left-over batter. I could have coated additional pears–or maybe I should have made only half as much batter.
When frying the pears, flip them very gently. If I wasn’t careful, the batter had a tendency to slip off the pears.
My husband and I really enjoyed eating the pear fritters. We sprinkled a little powdered sugar on them–and they made a wonderful dessert.