During these hot August days, I love light, refreshing desserts. And, I found a wonderful hundred-year-old recipe that fits the bill. Pineapple Bavarian Cream is delicious, and has just the right balance of sweetness and tartness,
Here is the original recipe:
When I made the recipe, I used a little less water than called for in the original recipe because, when I make molded gelatin-based desserts, I tend to have problems with the mixture not getting firm enough.
Note: This recipe makes about 3 cups. I doubled this recipe when I made it because I wanted to use a 6-cup mold.
1 packet (0.25 ounce) of unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
1 small can (8 ounce) can of crushed pineapple
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
Place the cold water in a small bowl; then sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let the gelatin absorb the water and soften for a few minutes.
In the meantime, drain the juice from the pineapple. Place the juice in a measuring cup, and add enough water to make it 1 cup. Place the pineapple juice and water mixture in a saucepan, and heat to boiling using medium high heat. Reduce heat to low. Add the softened gelatin, and stir until dissolved. Add the sugar and salt and continue stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, then stir in the lemon juice. Chill until the mixture just begins to thicken.
In the meantime, put the whipping cream in a bowl, and beat until soft peaks form.
Once the gelatin mixture has begun to thicken, stir in the crushed pineapple and then fold the whipped cream into the mixture.
Spoon into a 3-4 cup mold (or spoon into individual serving dishes or cups), and chill until firm (at least 4 hours).
To serve (if molded): Quickly dip the mold in hot water, then unmold onto serving plate.
Sometimes it is a challenge to make a recipe in an old cookbook. The cookbook may make assumptions about the knowledge level of the cooks who will use the cookbook that totally miss the mark when it comes to modern cooks; or one recipe may refer to another recipe which might then refer to still another.
For example, I recently found a hundred-year-old recipe for Canned Fruit Custard that at first appeared very simple – Make a thin (soft) custard and pour it over drained canned fruit. But there was just one problem; the cookbook did not contain a recipe for thin custard. Apparently cooks were just supposed to know how to make thin custard.
Unfortunately I am not as knowledgeable as cooks a hundred year ago, and didn’t know how to make a thin (soft) custard, so I searched through other old cookbooks for a recipe. I finally found a soft custard recipe in a 1920 home economics textbook.
All was good, but I then was surprised to discover that I needed to find still another recipe. The Soft Custard recipe said to “mix the materials in the same way as for steamed or baked custard.”
Whew, this was getting complicated. After I found all three recipes, I took a stab at synthesizing all the directions, I finally made Canned Fruit Custard using canned sweet dark cherries. The dessert was lovely, with the cherries coated with a creamy, slightly sweet custard sauce, but the whole process has left me feeling drained.
So that others don’t need to go through the process of synthesizing the recipes, here is the Canned Fruit Custard recipe updated for modern cooks.
2 pints canned fruit (15-16 ounce cans) – I used canned dark sweet cherries.
2 eggs, separated
2 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
To make the custard, first scald the milk. To do this, put the milk in a heavy sauce pan (use a double boiler if available); then heat using medium heat. Stir frequently until the milk just barely begins to bubble, then remove from the heat.
In a bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks slightly, then add sugar and salt. Beat to combine. Then place a small amount (approximately 1 – 2 tablespoons) of hot milk into bowl with the egg mixture, stir quickly. Add this mixture to the hot milk and stir. (This helps prevent the egg from coagulating when the egg is introduced to the hot liquid.) Return to stove and cook, using medium heat while stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken or coat a spoon. Quickly stir in the beaten egg whites. Remove from heat. Strain and then stir in the vanilla. Chill at least 3 hours.
Drain canned fruit. Put the fruit in dessert dishes, and spoon the soft custard over the fruit.
Tapioca can be used to make some wonderful old-fashioned desserts. We’re all familiar with tapioca pudding, but there are also some other fun recipes that call for tapioca in hundred-year-old cookbooks and magazines. I recently was intrigued by an old recipe for Coffee and Tapioca Trifle (Coffee Tapioca Pudding), and decided to give it a try.
Anyone who likes both coffee and tapioca will enjoy this dessert. Since the Coffee and Tapioca Trifle is made using coffee rather than milk, it was lighter than many tapioca desserts. It was delightfully refreshing, and had just the right amount of sweetness.
I used small pearl tapioca when I made the recipe.
Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Coffee and Tapioca Trifle (Coffee Tapioca Pudding)
Soak tapioca in room temperature water overnight. Drain.
Heat coffee (preferably in double boiler) until warm, add drained tapioca. Cover, turn heat to very low and cook until mixture thickens, and the tapioca pearls have plumped and are tender (5 – 45 minutes) depending upon the brand of tapioca used. Stir occasionally. (It will boil over very easily—and also has a tendency to burn on the pan bottom if care is not used). Stir in the sugar, and cook just a bit longer to allow the sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat, and put in serving dishes. Chill at least 3 hours before serving. Serve with whipped cream.
Steamed puddings are a traditional holiday food which once were slow-cooked on a wood or coal stove that was used for both heating and cooking. They are less popular now that our stoves aren’t constantly operating; but there are some wonderful hundred-year-old steamed pudding recipes that worth the time. For example, English Pudding is a tasty dessert favored with cloves and other cozy spices. It is delightful when served warm with Hard Sauce.
Here are the original recipes:
I anticipated that the Hard Sauce would be extremely thick, but smooth; however, when I followed the recipe the Hard Sauce it was so dry that it clumped somewhat. It was tasty – but just did not look quite right. I think that additional butter or water may be needed. This is the second time that I’ve made Hard Sauce using hundred year old recipes – and it did not turn out quite as I expected either time. Maybe Hard Sauce had a different consistency a hundred years ago than what it does now.
Put shortening, molasses, milk, flour, baking soda, ground cloves, mace, and salt in a mixing bowl; beat until smooth. Stir in raisins.
Put the mixture in a greased steamed pudding mold*, and steam for 3 hours. Remove from mold and serve warm with Hard Sauce. (This pudding is also excellent cold without the Hard Sauce.)
*Notes: I used a 2-liter mold, but had some extra space at the top and a smaller mold could be used. BBC Good Food has an excellent video that succinctly describes how to steam a pudding (or follow the directions that come with the mold).
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
Cream the butter, then slowly add the sugar while stirring constantly. While continuing to stir, add the lemon extract and vanilla.
Note: To make a smoother hard sauce, additional butter or water may need to be added.
Fall is the season for apples, and the perfect time to make apple desserts. I recently found a lovely hundred-year-old recipe for Baked Apple Roll; however, it has one quirky characteristic. The recipe does not call for any cinnamon.
The Baked Apple Roll is smothered in a very simple sugar, water, and butter sauce. The roll looked beautiful, but (since I’m so used to apple dishes being spiced with cinnamon), the roll tasted bland to me. If I made this recipe again, I might add some cinnamon – though I recognize that wouldn’t hold true to the old recipe.
Here’s the original recipe:
When I made the recipe, I halved it, and still had a large roll that made 4-5 servings. Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks.
3 cups chopped apples (about 2-3 large apples) (peel and core before chopping)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
Preheat oven to 325° F. In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 tablespoon butter. Add milk, and mix using a fork until dough starts to cling together. If it is excessively sticky, add additional flour. Turn onto a well-floured prepared surface, and roll dough into an approximate 11-inch square that is 1/4 inch thick. Evenly spread chopped apples on the rolled dough to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Start at one side and roll. Seal edges by pressing together to help prevent the juice from running out. Place in an oblong baking dish (approximately 7 inches by 12 inches or larger) with the “seam” at the top.
In a bowl, combine the sugar and water. Carefully pour the sugar mixture into the edge of the baking dish. Do not pour it over the top of the roll. Cut the 1/4 cup butter into small pieces, then “dot” the sugar/water mixture with the butter pieces. This will turn into a syrup as it cooks. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven and baste the roll with the hot sugar syrup. Return to oven and bake an additional 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven. The roll can be cut into slices, and served hot or cold with the syrup drizzled around the slices.
Sometimes simple desserts are the best. I recently found an easy-to-make, hundred-year-old recipe for Coconut and Orange Dessert that fits the bill. It is light and refreshing, and is just right on hot summer days.
Peel oranges, and remove white inner skin. Separate oranges into segments, and remove any seeds. Cut each segment into 1-inch pieces. Place orange pieces in a bowl and gently stir in most of the coconut (reserve about 2 tablespoons). Put orange and coconut mixture in serving bowl. Garnish with reserved coconut.
I recently came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Blueberry Duff in the February, 1919 issue of Good Housekeeping. Duffs often are steamed puddings – but this recipe is very easy to make and calls for baking the duff in the oven.
This Blueberry Duff is moist, rich, and spicy. It contains molasses, well as cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
The recipe calls for canned blueberries. I’m fascinated by what people ate during the winter months in the days before modern transportation allowed produce to be shipped thousands of miles. In 1919, fresh blueberries, were not available; but people regularly ate canned (either home canned or commercially canned) blueberries.
1 15-ounce (1 pint) can of canned blueberries (DO NOT use blueberry pie filling. This recipe calls for canned blueberries.)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup barley flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup molasses
whipped cream, optional
Drain canned blueberries; reserve both juice and berries.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Put all-purpose flour, barley flour, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, molasses, and blueberry juice in a mixing bowl; beat until thoroughly combined. Stir the blueberries into the batter. Pour batter into a well-greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish; put lid on dish. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and let sit for 10 minutes, then remove from dish by running a knife around the edge of the dish and inverting on a plate.
Serve either warm or cold. If desired, serve with whipped cream.