Combine brown sugar and milk in saucepan; add cream of tartar and stir. Continue stirring while heating over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Quit stirring and bring to a slow boil. Reduce heat to low and continue boiling (without stirring) until candy reaches the soft ball stage (235-240 degrees F.) (about 10-15 minutes). Stir in butter and remove from heat, beat until the mixture thickens. Stir in walnuts. Pour into a buttered 8 X 8 inch pan. When cool, cut into pieces.
I’m always on the lookout for quick and easy holiday bread recipes, so was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Orange Nut Bread. Graham flour, candied orange peel, and pecans give this bread a nutty, yet distinctly sunny, orange flavor.
I definitely plan to make this recipe again. It’s tasty, and the candied orange peel makes it just enough different from most nut bread recipes that it is sure to be a hit this holiday season.
Here’s the original recipe:
I was surprised that the recipe called for no shortening, and for less sugar than many modern nut bread recipes – but it all worked. This bread has a nice texture; and, while a little drier than some quick breads, is very tasty.
When I made this recipe I used less salt than called for in the original recipe. Two teaspoons of salt seemed a tad excessive.
I recently came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Chinese Chews. The recipe was for walnut and date cookie balls. Why were they called Chinese? Were the balls supposed to seem special because the name evoked thoughts of exotic, far away places? I think of the middle east when I think of dates – but not China. That said, improbably named recipes inevitably intrigue me, so the next thing I knew I was making Chinese Chews.
Chinese Chews are a sweet chewy treat, and would make a nice addition to a holiday cookie tray.
They were fun to make. The dough is spread thinly in a pan or baking sheet, and then baked until it just begins to brown. The baked dough is then removed from the oven, cut into pieces, and rolled into balls which are then coated in granulated sugar.
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and eggs. Then stir in the dates and walnuts. Spread thinly on a baking sheet. (There may not be enough to cover the entire sheet.) Place in the oven and bake until the dough sets and just begins to brown (about 15 minutes). The baked dough should look “not quite done.” Remove from oven and cool about five minutes.
Use a spatula to remove the baked dough from the pan Take chunks of the baked dough and shape into 1-inch balls. (Don’t worry if baked dough comes out of the pan in odd-shaped pieces. I put all the pieces in a bowl, and intentionally combined some of the “crustier” portions from the edge of the pan with some of the softer portions from the center to make balls that had a nice consistency.) Roll each ball in granulated sugar. Work quickly because the balls are easier to shape when the dough is still warm.
Cook’s note: The hundred-year-old recipe called for pastry flour. I used all-purpose flour and it worked fine.
If you like pumpkin pie, but are looking for something a bit richer and more flavorful, Squash Pie is the pie for you.
I used heirloom hubbard squash to make this hundred-year-old Squash Pie recipe, but other winter squash would work equally well.
This recipe uses less milk and more eggs than the typical modern pumpkin pie recipe. Similarly the spices are just a little different from modern recipes. Many modern recipes call for cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger – the old recipe lists cinnamon and nutmeg, but does not call for any ginger. All of these tweaks are good – but the texture and taste are a little different than modern Pumpkin Pies.
Here’s the original recipe:
Paste is an archaic term for the pie pastry. When I made this recipe I used my usual pie pastry recipe, but sometime soon I’ll try the old recipe for “Chopped Paste.”
Here’s the Squash Pie recipe updated for modern cooks:
1 3/4 cups winter squash (hubbard, butternut, etc.), pared and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 9-inch pie shell
Put cubed squash in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 20 minutes); remove from heat and drain. Puree squash. (There should be approximately 1 cup of pureed squash.)
Preheat 425° F. Put pureed squash in mixing bowl, add sugar, eggs, milk, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pie shell. Place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°. Continue baking (approximately 40-50 minutes) until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
I’m currently auditioning foods to serve on Thanksgiving. Some people love to try new recipes when family and friends convene for the holidays. I, on the other hand, prefer to try new recipes ahead of time to help ensure that all goes smoothly on the big day.
So when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Creamed Carrots and Onions, I had to give it a try. It just said Thanksgiving to me, and brought back vague memories of wonderful creamed vegetables lovingly prepared by my grandmother and other elderly relatives when I was a child
The recipe did not disappoint. The Creamed Carrots and Onions passed their audition. They were easy to make, colorful, and tasty — and definitely deserve a spot on the Thanksgiving table.
2 cups bite-sized carrot chunks (peel or scrape carrots, then cut into chunks)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup milk
Put onions in saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add carrots and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender. The carrots should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat and drain.
In the meantime, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Gently stir in the cooked carrots and onions. Remove from heat and serve.
I tried to make a hundred-year-old recipe for Cranberry Tarts, but I think I actually made Cranberry Turnovers. Is there regional variation in the meaning of “tart”?
I’m probably just looking for an excuse to justify my mistake, but I’m really hoping that someone other than me thinks that a tart is made by putting a filling in pie crust dough and folding it over.
Let me explain –
On Saturday morning, I made a tasty filling using chopped cranberries and raisins. I then hummed as I prepared the pie crust dough, rolled it out, cut it into rounds, put some filling on one-half of each round, flipped the top half over, sealed, and baked.
The results were outstanding. The “tarts” were enticing with a wonderfully balanced filling that was slightly acidic, yet also slightly sweet. All was good.
Then I decided to google “Cranberry Tarts” to see if there were similar modern recipes – and discovered to my horror that I had not made tarts, but rather that I’d made turnovers.
My recipe success, suddenly became a recipe disaster. I’d misinterpreted the recipe.
In any case, here’s the original recipe :
And, here’s the (turnover) recipe updated for modern cooks:
enough pie dough to make a 2 crust-pie (or use packaged prepared pie crust or puff pastry)
Put the cranberries, raisins, sugar, flour, and salt in a saucepan; stir to combine. Add the water, then bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. If the filling to too thick, add additional water. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 425° F. If using pie pastry, roll until 1/4 inch thick, then cut int circles or rectangles. (I used an inverted cereal bowl to cut the rounds.) Place 2 tablespoons of the cranberry mixture on one side of each round or rectangle, fold the pastry over and press edges together. Put filled pastries on a baking sheet; brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Put in oven and bake until the top is lightly browned (about 20 minutes).
Cook’s note: I needed to add about 1/4 cup more water than the hundred-year-old recipe called for to create a filling that had the typical pie-filling thickness. I also did not cook it for as long as the original recipe called for since it was so thick.
Old-fashioned Boiled Cider Pie is a delightful Fall treat. This pie has a smooth and delicate filling with a mild apple flavor and (even though it contains no milk) a lovely custard-like texture.
This recipe is from a 1905 cookbook published by a church in Berwick, Pennsylvania. I found the cookbook last summer when I was visiting the area in Central Pennsylvania where I had lived as a child. My husband and I were to meet someone for lunch – but we finished a visit with another friend earlier than anticipated. So when we saw that a tiny country church was holding a rummage sale, we decided to stop in to fill the time.
There was a sign which said, “Donate whatever you think the items you select are worth.” I was immediately drawn to the book table. There were lots of colorful cookbooks from the 1960s and 70s on the tabke. But then I noticed an a small dog-eared cookbook with pages browned by age. I gently flipped through the book. Several pages were missing. But I could tell that it was old, really old; and that it was a church cookbook compiled by women in the nearby by town of Berwick. My heart beat a little faster. I really wanted this book.
But there was no price. I was to donate whatever I thought it was worth. I dug into my wallet, and pulled out a $1 bill, a $5 bill, and a couple 20’s.
I picked up the 1905 Berwick cookbook, and another small pamphlet from the 1930s that contained recipes. I handed the church member serving as cashier $6 for the two items. She said, “Some of the other cookbooks are nicer, are you sure you want these?”
I said, “I like old cookbooks” and walked out to the car. The woman obviously felt like I paid more than enough for the items I bought. Yet I’ve felt a little guilty ever since. To me, the hundred-year-old cookbook was a find worth much more than what I paid. Should I have made a larger donation?
2 8-inch (small) pie shells or 1 9-inch deep-dish pie shell
Put the cider in a saucepan, and bring to a boil using medium heat. Reduce heat and boil gently until it is reduced to approximately 1/2 cup (about 45 minutes). Stir frequently. Remove from heat. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Put egg in mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add sugar and flour; stir until combined. Then stir in the water and boiled cider. Put in pic shell and place in oven. Bake until the top is lightly browned, and the filling does not move in waves. (This pie takes a long time to bake. Start checking it after 45 minutes, but don’t be surprised it it takes more than 1 1/2 hours for the filling to thicken.) Remove from oven. Cool pie before serving.