Marguerites are something of a culinary Marie Celeste, if you ask me. You’ll find them in recipe books from the teens, the 20s, the 30s, even the early 40s–and then they’re gone. They vanish without a trace . . . But The Joy of Cooking doesn’t mention them. Neither does Betty Crocker. By 1960, the day of the Marguerite had passed.
I can see why they’ve vanished from modern recipe books. The Marguerites had a nondescript taste and aren’t nearly as sweet as many modern snacks; yet at the same time, I liked them and they were a surprisingly satisfying snack.
Marguerites are fun to make and made a nice presentation. The salt on the crackers was noticeable in the finished product, which was both salty and sweet.
Will I make Marguerites again? I’m not sure – yet a piece of me thinks that I might. They’re an easy snack to whip up, and eating just a couple really did take the edge off my late afternoon hunger.
Here’s the original recipe:
The 1 tablespoon of jelly called for in this recipe was not nearly enough since each cracker needed to be spread with the jelly, When I updated the recipe, I didn’t list an amount, I just indicated that currant (or other tart) jelly was needed to make this recipe.
Pulverized sugar is an old term for powdered sugar.
Preheat oven to 325° F. Put egg whites in bowl and beat until stiff. Add granulated sugar, and beat a little more to get the sugar evenly distributed in the egg whites. Set aside.
Put crackers on a baking sheet. Spread currant (or other tart) jelly on each cracker. Put approximately a tablespoonful of the beaten egg white on top of each jellied cracker; gently spread using a fork, and then sprinkle with powdered sugar and chopped nuts.
Place in oven and bake until the beaten egg whites are lightly browned (about 15 minutes).
Fall 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.