Canned Apricot Sherbet

dish with scoops of canned apricot sherbetThe store where I shop recently expanded its selection of canned fruits. Several weeks ago I noticed that there were canned apricots on the shelf and decided to buy a can. I put the can in a kitchen cupboard and figured that I’d eat the apricots “someday,” so I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a recipe for Canned Apricot Sherbet just a few days later.

The sherbet was easy to make with just three ingredients – canned apricots, sugar, and water. It was light and refreshing, and makes a delightful summer treat.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Canned Apricot Sherbet
Source: Balanced Daily Diet (1920) by Janet McKenzie Hill

Today sherbet is often a summer dessert, but a hundred years ago sherbet and ice cream were often winter treats. Many people did not have ready access to ice in the summer, but could easily use ice or snow to make frozen desserts during the winter.

The directions in the old recipe about using snow to make the sherbet reminded me of when I used to post my grandmother’s diary entries. As some of you may remember, I originally started this blog as a place to post my grandmother’s diary entries a hundred-years to the day after she wrote them. She kept the diary when she was a teen living on a farm in central Pennsylvania. On Sunday, February 12, 1911 she wrote about making ice cream:

Pa and Ma went away today and we had the house to ourselves while they were gone. Of course we had a fine dinner for my sister is an excellent cook, or rather she thinks she is. Any way we had dinner. Ice cream consisted of part of it. I had to turn the freezer, which I soon tired of. (I usually tire of anything I don’t like.) Any how I froze that cream so hard that it all crumbled up in big chunks . . .

Where did Grandma get the snow or ice that she used to make the ice cream? Did she gather snow from a snow bank? . . . or did she find some large ice cycles that had fallen off the roof? . . . or maybe she went down to the nearby creek to gather ice. . . or . . .

Then, two weeks later on Sunday February 26, 1911, she wrote:

I went to Sunday school this afternoon and staid for church and catechize. The walking was extremely bad, but still I went. We had chocolate ice cream for supper. We all rather like it, so we have it occasionally which is about once in a week.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Canned Apricot Sherbet

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 can apricots (regular size can – approximately 1 pound)

2 cups sugar

1 cups cold water

Drain apricots and press through a sieve.  (I used a Foley mill. The apricots could also be pureed using a food processor or blender.) Set aside.

Put sugar and water in a mixing bowl; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in apricot pulp.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours, then place in ice cream maker and freeze. (I used a 1 1/2 quart automatic electric maker.)

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Old-fashioned Maple Nut Cake

 

Slice of Maple Nut Cake on PlateOld-fashioned nut cakes bring back warm memories of family gatherings many years ago. There always seemed to be at least one nut cake – and often more – at family reunions. They were made by great aunts or other miscellaneous relatives. (I often was unsure of the relationship.) So when I saw a recipe for Maple Nut Cake in a hundred-year-old promotional cookbook published by the Royal Baking Powder Company, I decided to give it a try.

The cake is made in a loaf pan. The old recipe recommended using chopped pecans in the cake, so I went with that nut. The cake is iced with Maple Icing. It turned out wonderfully, and tasted just like those old-time cakes of memory.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Maple Nut Cake
Source: New Royal Cook Book (1920), published by the Royal Baking Powder Company

And, here are the original Maple Icing recipes. (The cookbook contained two icing options.):

Two Recipes for Maple Icing
Source: New Royal Cooking Book (1920) by Royal Baking Powder Company

I interpreted a “moderate oven” to be 350° F. However, the cake was not even close to being fully baked after 45 minutes, so I continued baking until a pick inserted in the center came out clean, which was about 1 hour and 10 minutes after I put the cake in the oven.

I made the first Maple Icing recipe. I softened the butter, and did not bother to heat the milk.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Maple Nut Cake

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Maple Nut Cake

2 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts – preferably pecans

additional chopped nuts for top of cake

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites stiff peaks form.

In a separate mixing bowl put the flour, shortening, brown sugar, egg yolks, vanilla,  baking powder, and salt;  beat until combined. Then stir in the nuts, and gently fold the whipped egg whites into the mixture. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 1 hour 10 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Frost top with Maple Icing. (If desired, the cake can be removed from the pan. A slightly thinner icing can be made, and the icing can then be drizzled over the cake and allowed to run down the sides.).  While the icing is still soft, sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Maple Icing

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

approximately 2 tablespoons milk

Put confectioners’ sugar, butter, and maple flavoring in a bowl. Add milk and beat until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add additional milk.

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Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling

2 orange biscuits with orange filling

When browsing through hundred-year-old magazines, sometimes a recipe just jumps out at me. Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling was one of these recipes. Back then, there were few photos in magazines, but there was a picture of the biscuits. This recipe was obviously one that the magazine editors really liked, so I decided to give it a try.

orange biscuits with orange filling on plate
Source: American Cookery (April, 1920)

This recipe did not disappoint. The Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling had just the right amount of sweetness, and a bright, sunny, citrus flavor. They are perfect with coffee or milk. The Biscuits would also be a lovely brunch pastry. This recipe is a keeper, and I feel certain that I’ll make it again.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling
Source: American Cookery (April, 1920)

One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot, so I only used 1/2 teaspoon of salt when I made the recipe. I cut the slices about 3/4 inch thick because it was difficult to cut 1/2 inch slices, and that just didn’t seem quite thick enough. I also could not figure out why the filling needed to be cooked when it was then cooled – and would again become a butter and sugar spread – so I did not cook it prior to spreading on the biscuits. This worked fine.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Orange Biscuits with Orange Filling

  • Servings: approximately 15 biscuits
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Orange Biscuits

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons lard, shortening, or butter

3/4 cup milk (may need to use slightly more)

orange filling (see below)

sugar

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl. Cut in the lard, shortening, or butter. Add milk, and gently stir to combine using a fork. If too dry and does not cling together as a dough, add a small amount of additional milk. Place the dough on a prepared surface and roll into a square about 12″ by 12″. Spread with the Orange Filling, then roll like a jelly roll. Cut into 3/4 inch slices. If needed, gently reshape so that each slice is round. Put in a greased cake pan(s) about 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar. Put in oven, and bake about 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Orange Filling

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon orange juice

grated rind (zest) of 1 orange

Put butter, sugar, and orange juice in a small bowl; stir to combine. Add grated orange rind, and stir to evenly distribute throughout the butter mixture.

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Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop

Casserole Dish with Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop

Au Gratin Potatoes are tasty, so when I came across a hundred-year-old recipe that looked similar to an Au Gratin Potato recipe – but with a twist (the recipe called for corn in addition to potatoes) – I decided to give it a try.

The Cheese, Corn, and Potatoes were very nice. The rich, cheesy sauce worked nicely with the corn and potato combination.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop
Source: Household Arts for Home and School by Anna M. Cooley and Wilhelmina H. Spohr (1920)

The recipe calls for Cheese Sauce. Here is the Cheese Sauce recipe.

Recipe for Cheese Sause
Source: House Arts for Home and School by Anna M. Cooley and Wilhelmina H. Spohr (1920)

Ever make a recipe that turned out well, but that required some interpretation and tweaks along the way? Well, this was one of those recipes.

The first decision I needed to make was what kind of canned corn should I use – whole kernel or cream style? I have a vague sense that canned cream-style corn has been around longer than the whole kernel (though I’m not sure), so I went with cream style. I had two cans of corn – 8.25 ounce can and a 14.75 can. The small one contained a little less corn than called for in the recipe; the large on a little more. (The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of corn.) I decided to go with the small can even though it only contained a little more than 1-cup of corn.

Next I needed to figure out issues related to the Cheese Sauce. The Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop recipe called for 2 cups Cheese Sauce, however, when summing the amounts in the list of ingredients in the Cheese Sauce recipe, it was clear that it made less than two cups. The Cheese Sauce recipe called for 1/2 cup of grated cheese, but it did indicate that more could be used. I decided to use 1 cup of cheese so I’d have approximately the correct amount of sauce.  All was good.

But, once I’d prepared the Cheese Sauce, I realized that 1 1/2 cups of diced potatoes didn’t seem like very many potatoes given the amount of sauce that I had, so I decided to peel, dice, and cook an additional potato. This gave me about another cup of diced potatoes, so I now had a total of 2 1/2 cups. (If I’d used whole-kernel corn, perhaps the amount of sauce would not have seemed to excessive – not sure.)

When I assembled the ingredients, I just stirred the corn and cooked, diced potatoes into the Cheese Sauce rather than layering; and, then poured into the casserole dish to finish cooking.

Whew, this recipe required lots of interpretation. Sometimes the recipes that look the simplest end up being the trickiest. This recipe required lots of little adjustments, but the final dish turned out well.

Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop on Plate

I combined the two old recipes into one. Here is the updated recipe for modern cooks:

Cheese, Corn, and Potato Scallop

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1 cup milk

1 cup cheese (I used cheddar cheese.)

2 1/2 cups cooked potatoes, diced

1 – 1 1/2 cups canned corn (I used a small – 8.25 ounce can – of cream-style corn, which is a little over 1 cup of corn.)

Preheat oven to 400° F. In a saucepan , melt butter using medium heat; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Add cheese, and continue stirring until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens. Add corn and potatoes, and reheat until hot. Pour into a casserole dish and put in oven; bake for 25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the sauce bubbly.

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Got Stale Bread? Make Toast

2 slices of toastThere’s nothing quite like freshly baked bread – but unfortunately it doesn’t stay fresh very long and I sometimes end up with bread that is a bit stale. No problem – a hundred-year-old cookbook recommends using stale bread to make toast.

description of making toast out of stale bread
Source; The Cook Book of Left-Overs (1920) compiled by the More Nurses in Training Movement

Whew, this sounds complicated. Maybe I’ll just use my electric toaster. Hopefully it won’t remove the “superfluous moisture” too quickly.

Old-fashioned Asparagus and Chicken Soup

Bowl of Asparagus and Chicken Soup

Sometimes I think of soup as a winter dish, but I’m discovering that there are also some wonderful soups that feature Spring vegetables. I recently came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Asparagus and Chicken Soup. Chicken and asparagus tips are embedded in a delightful light asparagus-flavored broth that has a very nuanced peppery taste.

The Asparagus and Chicken Soup seemed very modern (and I never would have guessed that the recipe was a hundred years old if I hadn’t known that I’d found it in a 1920 magazine). It reminded me a bit of some of the lovely chicken miso soups that I’ve eaten in Asian restaurants.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Asparagus and Chicken Soup
Source: American Cookery (May, 1920)

The recipe called for three teaspoons of salt, which seemed like a lot, so I only used one teaspoon of it. I didn’t serve the soup with croutons or Royal Custard, and must admit that I didn’t even know what Royal Custard was until I googled it, and discovered that, according to The Spruce Eats, Royale Custard (Eierstich) is an egg custard and a popular soup garnish in Germany. It sounds lovely, and if I make this soup again, I may have to also make some Royale Custard.

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Asparagus and Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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6 cups water

2 pounds chicken parts (I used boneless chicken breast.)

2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon celery salt

Put water and chicken in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours.

In the meantime, cut the tips off the asparagus stalks and set aside. Cut the reminder of the stalks into 1-inch pieces. After the 2 hours, add the asparagus pieces to the water and chicken, and simmer for an additional 1/2 hour. Remove from heat, and remove the chicken. Cut and shred the chicken into small pieces. Strain the liquid and asparagus pieces.

Put the cooked asparagus pieces through a sieve to extract the juice and puree the asparagus. (A ricer or Foley mill can be used.)

Return broth, shredded chicken, and asparagus puree to the saucepan or Dutch oven, then add the salt, pepper, and celery salt. Heat until hot, then add asparagus tips, cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the asparagus tips are tender, then serve.

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Sour Cream Pie with Dates

 

slice of sour cream pie with dates on plateWhen I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Sour Cream Pie with Dates, I decided to give it a try. This rich, custard-style pie has lots of embedded date pieces; and is a unique combination of old-fashioned goodness, and a sophisticated blend of sweet and sour.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Sour Cream Pie with Dates
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Sour Cream Pie with Dates

  • Servings: 5 -7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 cup sour cream

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dates, chopped

8-inch (small) double-crust pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put sour cream, sugar, egg, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir in dates. Place in pastry-lined pie pan. Cover with top crust. Seal and crimp. Cut slits in top crust (or poke top crust several times with a fork). If desired, brush with a small amount of milk; sprinkle with sugar. Bake in oven for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is browned and filling has set.

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