Old-fashioned Baked Honey Custard

Individual Serving of Baked Honey CustardFall is in the air, the days are getting shorter, and I’ve been craving comfort food. So I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Baked Honey Custard. The recipe is a winner. Baked Honey Custard was easy to make, and had a delicate, silky texture. The honey and cinnamon flavors merged beautifully to create a delightfully flavored custard.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Baked Honey Custard
Source: American Cookery (January, 1920)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Baked Honey Custard

  • Servings: 7 - 9
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 cups milk

5 eggs

1/2 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon milk

Scald the milk by putting in a saucepan, then heat using medium heat until the milk steams and is almost ready to begin boiling; stir constantly while heating the milk. (Another option is to scald the milk using a microwave. Set aside.)

In the meantime, put the eggs into a mixing bowl, and beat just until smooth. Add the honey, cinnamon, and salt; beat until the ingredients are combined. Add a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of the hot scalded milk, while stirring. Continue to very slowly add the hot milk while stirring constantly.  [The egg is first combined with a little of the hot mixture to prevent it from turning into scrambled eggs when introduced into the hot combination.]

Pour into custard cups. Place cups 13 X 9 X 2 inch baking pan. Pour very hot water into pan around cups to within 1/2 inch of top of cups.

Bake about 45 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Remove cups from water. Serve custard warm or chilled.


Old-fashioned Flavored Beets


Flavored Beets in serving dish

Beets are a perfect vegetable. They are colorful, tasty, high in fiber, and nutritious. They are a good source of folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C.

I recently came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Flavored Beets. When I read the ingredient list, the Flavored Beets sounded a lot like the Harvard Beets that my mother made in my youth, so I decided to give the recipe a try.

The Flavored Beets turned out wonderfully. This recipe is a keeper. The delightful sweet sour sauce was lovely, and worked perfectly to enhance the rich, earthy flavor of the beets. The sauce was not as thick as I remember the Harvard Beet sauce my mother made, but the taste was very similar.

Here’s the original recipe:

recipe for flavored beets
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Discoveries

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Flavored Beets

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups sliced, cooked beets (I boiled, then sliced 4 medium beets – though canned beets would also work.)

3/4 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

Put the cornstarch and vinegar in a saucepan; stir until smooth. Add sugar and salt, and bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes while continuing to stir. Add butter, and stir until melted. Add beets, and reheat until the beets are hot while gently stirring. Serve


Old-fashioned Stuffed Peach Salad

4 Stuffed Peach Halves

I eat lots of fresh fruit; canned fruit not so much. But a hundred-year-old recipe reminded me that canned fruits are delicious. Stuffed Peach Salad was easy to make, attractive, and most importantly, tasty.

Recipe for Stuffed Peach Salad
Source: American Cookery (January, 1920)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Stuffed Peach Salad

  • Servings: approximately 5
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 15-ounce can peach halves

grapes, quartered

chopped walnuts

Drain peaches and arrange on plate. Fill the cavity of each peach with grapes and walnuts.


Old-fashioned Butterscotch Apples

dessert bowl with butterscotch apples

Fall is in the air! Evenings are a bit nippy, and the trees are starting to turn color. And, it’s the season for apples, so browsed through old magazines and books for an apple recipe. And, I think I found a winner.

I found a delightful hundred-year-old recipe for Butterscotch Apples. Stewed apples are served in a creamy brown sugar sauce.

Here is the original recipe:

recipe for butterscotch apples
Source: School and Home Cooking (1920) by Carlotta C. Greer

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Butterscotch Apples

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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5 large apples

2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 1 tablespoon butter (I used 1 tablespoon.)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Peel, core, and quarter the apples.

In the meantime, put the brown sugar and water in a large saucepan. Using medium heat, bring to  boil while stirring occasionally. Add the quartered apples. Cover and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently until the apples are tender (5-10 minutes) while stirring occasionally. (The apples can boil over, so watch carefully and reduce heat further if boiling too vigorously.) Remove the apples from the syrup using a slotted spoon; set both the apples and the syrup aside.

Put the cornstarch in another saucepan. Gradually stir in milk, and stir until smooth. Using medium heat, bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Add the syrup that the apples were cooked in.  Bring back to a boil, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the salt, butter, and vanilla.

To serve: May be served hot or cold. (I served it hot.) Put in the cooked apples in serving dishes, and spoon sauce over them.


Emily’s White Cake with Confectioner’s Chocolate Frosting

slice of cake on plate
Source: Balanced Daily Diet (1920) by Janet McKenzie Hill

I recently came across a recipe in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Emily’s White Cake, and decided to give it a try. I was intrigued by the recipe’s name. Who was Emily? – The recipe’s author? . . her daughter? . . . a neighbor who shared the recipe? . . .

I also wondered: Are recipes that are named after someone more likely to be good than more generically named ones? . . . or vice versa?

To make the frosting, I used a recipe in the same cookbook.

Here are the original recipes:

cake recipe
Source: Balanced Daily Diet (1920) by Janet McKenzie Hill
Frosting Recipe
Source: Balanced Daily Diet (1920) by Janet McKenzie Hill

The old recipe referred to moderate heat and high heat (and probably assumed that the cook was using a wood or coal stove). Many cakes are baked at 350° F, so I just used that temperature. It took a little longer to bake the cake than indicated in the old recipe.

The old cake recipe called for 3 tablespoons of baking powder – which seemed like a lot. I wondered if it was a typo – and really supposed to be 3 teaspoons. But in the end, I went with what the recipe said and used 3 tablespoons. The frosted cake tasted fine – though I  think that  it might have been better if I’d used less baking powder. (I ate a few cake crumbs, and they may have been a bit bitter, but it was not noticeable once the cake was frosted.)

[9/14/20 Note: Based on the research and comments of readers about other sources for this recipe – e.g., old Crisco advertisement that contained the recipe, other editions of the cookbook – I’ve determined that 3 tablespoons of baking powder was a typo and that it should be 3 teaspoons. I now include this information in the updated recipe.]

I doubled the recipe for Confectioner’s Chocolate Frosting to make enough to ice the cake layers. When I made the Confectioner’s Chocolate Frosting, the consistency and spreadability seemed a bit off, so I added 3 tablespoons of melted butter. This greatly improved the texture of the frosting, so when I updated the recipe I included butter as an ingredient.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Emily's White Cake with Confectioner's Chocolate Frosting

  • Servings: 8 - 10
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Emily’s White Cake

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

3 tablespoons baking powder (I used 3 tablespoons which is what the old recipe called for, but other sources for this recipe state that 3 teaspoons should be used. The larger amount worked, but if I made the recipe again I’d use 3 teaspoons of baking powder. See note in blog post for details.)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla or other flavoring

3 egg (whites only)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 9-inch baking pans.

Put egg whites in a medium mixing bowl; beat until stiff. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add flour, baking powder, salt, water, flour, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool, then assemble layers and frost.

Confectioner’s Chocolate Frosting

2 squares chocolate, melted

3 tablespoons butter melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoons boiling water (more water may be needed)

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Put the melted chocolate and butter in sauce pan, add the granulated sugar and water. Heat using medium heat, while stirring until smooth. Remove from heat add the vanilla and confectioner’s sugar. Stir until smooth. Add additional water, if needed.


Frozen Canned Apricots

I select most of the hundred-year-old recipes that I post on this blog because they genuinely sound like something I might enjoy. But, occasionally I chose a recipe because it seems so odd. This is one of these times.

The March, 1920 issue of American Cookery featured Frozen Canned Apricots – which is basically canned apricots frozen in the can. After they are frozen, they are removed from the can, and placed on a plate in the middle of a circle of marshmallow cream.

In 1920, there were few photos in magazines, but the editors of American Cookery were so enthralled with this recipe that they included not only the recipe, but also a photo.

Frozen Canned Apricots on Plate
Source: American Cookery (March, 1920)

The Frozen Canned Apricots were surprisingly tasty. My daughter said, “This is better than most of the recipes you make.” I decided that it was best not to probe too deeply into what that meant, but I think that it was praise.

There was a downside to the recipe. I didn’t really like the way it looked on the plate. If I made this recipe again, I think that I would just put the canned apricots and syrup in a freezer box,  freeze – and then scoop the frozen mixture into bowls with a little marshmallow cream topping.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Frozen Canned Apricots
Source: American Cookery (March, 1920)

The old recipe called for freezing the contents of the can using ice and salt (somewhat similarly to how ice cream is made). A hundred-years-ago, most cooks probably didn’t have freezers, but since I have one, I decided to just open a can of apricots, cover it with plastic wrap, and freeze it in the freezer. This worked fine.

The old recipe called for a pint (2 cups) of marshmallow cream. When I made the recipe, that seemed like too much, so I only used approximately 1 cup.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Frozen Canned Apricots

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 can apricots (15-16 oz.)

approximately 1 cup marshmallow cream

Remove lid from can of apricots. Cover with plastic wrap, then secure the wrap with a rubber band. Put in freezer until frozen. (I froze it overnight.) About an hour before serving, remove from freezer, and let sit at room temperature. When ready to serve, make a circle of marshmallow cream (approximately 7-8 inches in diameter) on a plate. Slide the frozen apricots out of the can, and then place the frozen apricots in the middle of the marshmallow cream. Serve immediately.


Old-fashioned Creole Eggs

Creole Eggs and Toast

I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for Creole Eggs, which are shirred (baked) eggs topped with tomato, green pepper, and onion. Shirred eggs are surprisingly easy to make. And, when topped with the tomato mixture, they are absolutely delightful.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Creole Eggs
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries (1920)

I found this recipe confusing – though the eggs turned out well. It is an odd mixture of very specific directions – “2 tablespoonfuls green pepper”; “Garnish each dish with a tablespoonful of the tomato mixture.” And, very general directions – “one to two eggs per individual” with no clue how many individuals the recipe was supposed to serve. If only 1 tablespoon of the tomato mixture was put on top of the eggs in each ramekin, it seems like this recipe would make enough tomato mixture for a lot of eggs. In the end, I decided that another option would be to just make fewer servings and use more of the tomato mixture per serving (2+ tablespoons).

It also was not clear how big “two large tomatoes” were supposed to be – though the comment that 1/2 can of tomatoes (a 1 pound can?) could be substituted for the fresh tomatoes made me think that it was calling for about a cup of canned tomatoes. The statement that just the “solids” from a can of tomatoes were supposed to be used, also made me think that the recipe was calling for about 1/2 cup of canned tomatoes after they were strained. And, that if fresh tomatoes are used (which is what I used), that there should be about 1/2 cup of diced tomatoes.

I used clear glass ramekins, and didn’t grease them or “dust” with breadcrumbs, because I was concerned that the photo would not look very nice with the breadcrumbs around the edge of the ramekin. I didn’t have any problems with the egg sticking excessively to the edge of the ramekins, so don’t think that it is necessary to grease and dust them. I also reduced the salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon, since the original amount called for seemed like a lot.

Bottom line – This recipe appears to be an attempt to provide exact measurements for a recipe that actually is very flexible. It’s not important to have exact amounts of onion, green, pepper, or tomatoes – just make an amount that seems appropriate for the desired number of servings.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Creole Eggs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 – 8 eggs (1 – 2 eggs per serving)

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons onion, chopped

2 tablespoons green pepper, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tomatoes, diced (about 1/2 cup) or 1 cup of canned tomatoes, strained (measure before straining) – I used fresh tomatoes.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add onion and green pepper; cook until tender. Stir in the tomatoes and continue cooking until the tomatoes are thoroughly cooked; stir occasionally while cooking. Stir in salt.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 400° F. Break 1 – 2 eggs into each of four ramekins. Place in a shallow pan that contains about 1 inch of hot water. Put in oven and bake until the white is set, and yolk is the desired firmness. (About 10-15 minutes.) Remove from oven and remove the ramekins from the pan with water.

Spoon the tomato mixture on top of the cooked eggs (about 2 tablespoons per ramekin), and immediately serve the eggs.