Old-fashioned Baked Pears

baked pears

Pears are a wonderful Fall fruit that often get overshadowed by apples, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Baked Pears. The pear halves were easy to make and very tasty. The Baked Pears were coated with a buttery brown sugar sauce.

I was surprised how little sauce this recipe made – just enough to coat the pear halves. There was not enough to spoon extra over the pears when serving. I did not really miss the extra sauce, but extra sauce would have made a nice presentation.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Baked Pears
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

I skipped the whipped cream when I made this recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Baked Pears

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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8 pears (Use pears that are ripe, but still firm.)

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the pears in half lengthwise, and then core the pears. Arrange the pear halves in a large baking dish (such as a lasagna dish or a rectangular cake pan). Sprinkle each pear (2 halves) with one tablespoon sugar, and dot each half with 2 or 3 small pieces of butter. Place in oven and bake until tender (about  30-35 minutes). Increase heat (425° F.) to lightly brown the pears. (The pears can be browned using the broiler, if a dish is used that can go under the broiler.)

Remove from oven. Best when served warm. If desired, serve with whipped cream.

Smaller versions of this recipe could easily be made. For each pear, just use a tablespoon of brown sugar, and a little butter.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

 

Old-fashioned Jelly Omelet

Jelly Omelet on plate

I’m always looking for looking for nice breakfast foods, so decided to try a hundred-year-old recipe for Jelly Omelet. For the omelet, the eggs are separated and the whiten beaten, which results in a light and fluffy omelet. I’ve seen many recipes in old cookbooks that call for beating the egg whites when making an omelet, and I’ve previously made several of them – and they always turn out wonderfully.  By comparison modern omelets seem heavy. Modern recipes seldom call for beating egg whites. I can’t figure out why the older method of making omelets seems to have largely been lost over time.

To make a Jelly Omelet, the cooked eggs are spread with jelly prior to folding to make the omelet. I used currant jelly – though other jams, jellies, or marmalades could be used. The sweet tartness of the currant jelly was a nice complement to the eggs.

This recipe is a keeper, and I anticipate that I’ll make it again. I have lots of jellies that I made last summer, and this is a tasty way to use some of the jelly.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Jelly Omelet
Source: The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1921 Edition)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Jelly Omelet

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 eggs, separated

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

4 tablespoons hot water

1tablespoon butter, melted

jam, jelly, or marmalade

additional sugar to sprinkle on top of omelet (optional)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Place egg whites in a bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then stir in the salt, sugar, hot water, and melted butter. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet (or use an omelet pan) on the top of the stove using medium-low heat. (If needed to prevent sticking, liberally grease the skillet before heating.) Pour the egg mixture into skillet, and gently cook for 1 minute. Turn the pan 90° to help ensure that the omelet cooks evenly, and gently cook for another minute. Then move the skillet to the oven, and bake for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the egg mixture is set. Remove from oven, and loosen the edges of the omelet from the skillet with a knife or spatula, then turn onto a plate. Thickly spread jam, jelly, or marmalade onto one half of the omelet, and the fold in half. If desired, sprinkle sugar on top of the omelet. Serve immediately.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Apple and Celery Salad

Celery and Apple Salad in dish

I always enjoy Waldorf Salad, so was intrigued by recipe for Apple and Celery Salad in a hundred-year-old cookbook. It seemed very similar to Waldorf Salad – but with fewer ingredients (just apples and celery). I wondered, would I miss the nuts and raisins in the typical Waldorf Salad?

The verdict- Apple and Celery Salad was nice, but I prefer Waldorf Salad with the added crunchiness and sweetness of the nuts and raisins.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Celery and Apple Salad
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

I went with the mayonnaise option when I made this recipe, and I did not garnish with lettuce. (Exactly how do you garnish with lettuce?) I also did not peel the apples. To be totally honest, I somehow failed to notice that the apples weren’t supposed to be peeled until I started writing this post. When I made this recipe, I was in a hurry and just glanced at the recipe, and thought that this would be an easy recipe because it was Waldorf Salad minus half the ingredients. I should have read it more carefully. The salad would be different (and less colorful) if the apples had been peeled.

And I also failed to notice that I was supposed to marinate the apple pieces in lemon juice – but we ate the salad soon after I made it, so the apples didn’t discolor. (I think that coating them with mayonnaise also slows discoloration).

I used just enough mayonnaise to coat the celery and apple pieces (about 1/2 – 2/3 cup).  I previously made the Golden Salad Dressing recipe that is listed in this recipe when I made another recipe from this cookbook: Pineapple and Strawberry Salad with Golden Dressing. Golden Salad Dressing recipe can be found in that post.

I’m now realizing that I barely made the original recipe for Apple and Celery Salad – and am fascinated that I somehow failed to do so many things quite right with such a simple recipe. I guess it’s a lesson learned about carefully reading directions even for the easiest recipes. That said, the recipe turned out well, so the updated recipe for modern cooks is based on how I made it..

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Apple and Celery Salad

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups chopped apples (about 1/2 inch pieces) –The apples can be either peeled or not peeled.

2 cups chopped celery (about 1/2 inch pieces)

1/2 – 2/3 cup mayonnaise

Combine apple and celery pieces; stir in enough mayonnaise to lightly coat the pieces.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Blueberries and Boulettes Recipe

Blueberries and Boulettes in dish

Some desserts which were eaten a hundred years ago are seldom seen today. One of those desserts is Blueberries and Boulettes. Boulettes are homemade drop dumplings that are made by dropping heaping teaspoons of dough into rapidly boiling water. Warm boulettes are topped with a little butter, and smothered with blueberries, and a generous sprinkling of sugar.

The Boulettes were fun and easy to make. They only take a few minutes to cook, rising to the top of the water when done. When served with sweetened blueberries, they made a nice old-fashioned summer dessert.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Blueberries and Boulettes
Source: American Cookery (August/September, 1921)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Blueberries

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons sour cream

3 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour

butter

blueberries

sugar

Combine melted butter and sour cream in a mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each in. Stir in salt, then gradually add and stir in the flour.

In the meantime bring 3-4 quarts of water to a bowl in a large pan. When the water is rapidly boiling, drop heaping teaspoons of the dough into the water, and let it remain until it rises to the top; then remove with a slotted spoon. Serve warm.

To serve, put boulettes in serving dish(es), top with dabs of butter, blueberries, and sugar.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-Fashioned Tomato and Cauliflower Salad

Tomato and Cauliflower Salad is a tasty, attractive salad – though it seems very old-fashioned. A hundred years ago salads were frequently arranged on a plate on a bed of lettuce, and this salad is a nice example of that type of salad.

For this salad, tomato slices are arranged in a circle on top of the lettuce. A dab of mayonnaise is spread around the center of the plate. The mayonnaise is then topped with the small cauliflower florets that have been marinated in French salad dressing. I made homemade French dressing using an old recipe that I previously posted. A hundred years ago French dressing was a vinaigrette with paprika rather than the typical orange bottled dressing that is common today.

When I served this salad, my daughter asked if she should eat the lettuce. I said that I don’t think that lettuce beds are typically eaten, but that she should go ahead and eat it if she wanted. I wonder why lettuce is generally left uneaten with this type of salad.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Tomato and Cauliflower Salad
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

I made several minor adaptions to this recipe. I skipped peeling the tomatoes. A hundred-years-ago tomatoes were often peeled, but today almost never. (And, I know from previous experiences doing various tomato salad posts that -at least by modern standards – that peeled tomatoes don’t look very good in a photo.)

I used less mayonnaise than the original recipe called for. I just thickly spread a dab of mayonnaise on the lettuce in the center of the plate.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Tomato and Cauliflower Salad

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 cup cauliflower florets (raw or lightly streamed and then cooled)

1/4 cup French salad dressing (I used a hundred-year-old recipe that I previously posted.)

3 medium tomatoes

mayonnaise

lettuce leaves

Put the cauliflower in a small bowl. Pour French dressing over the cauliflower and stir gently to coat. Set aside. Arrange the lettuce on plate(s). Core tomatoes and cut into sixths. Arrange in a the tomato slices on the plate(s). Place dollop of mayonnaise in the center; spread over the lettuce in the center of the plate with the back of a spoon. Drain cauliflower, and put on top of the mayonnaise.

http://www.ahundredyears.com

Old-fashioned String Beans Recipe

green snap beans

Sometimes old cookbooks contain recipes for very basic foods that barely seem to need a recipe. For example, I recently came across this recipe for String Beans in a hundred-year-old cookbook.

String Beans Recipe
Source: Boston Cooking-School Cook Book (1921 Edition)

But, when I look more closely, I realize that the directions are very different than how the beans would be made today. Boiled string bean recipes today often call for leaving the beans whole and merely breaking the tips off the beans; other modern recipes call for breaking the beans into 2- 3 inch pieces. The hundred-year-old recipe, however, called for breaking or cutting the beans into small 1-inch pieces.

Modern recipes for boiled string beans also call for cooking them just a few minutes – 5 minutes or maybe 10 max. However the old recipe directs cooks to boil the string beans for  1-to 3 hours!!!

What the heck?  But, next thing I knew I was boiling string beans for 1 hour. (I couldn’t bring myself to boil them for more than that).

The verdict – The beans were very soft, but still maintained their shape. My daughter said, “Why did you ruin some perfectly good green beans? They taste like frozen or canned beans.”

Old-fashioned String Beans

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 pound string beans (green beans or wax beans)

1 teaspoon salt

butter

Break the tips off the string beans. Cut or break into 1-inch pieces. Wash beans, then put into a sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 3 hours. Add salt for last 1/2 hour of cooking. If most of the water boils away, add additional water. Remove from heat and drain. Put in serving bowl and top with a dab of butter.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com

Old-fashioned Peach Shortcake

Peach Shortcake with Whipped Cream on Plate

Sweet, juicy, local peaches are just beginning to appear at farm stands, so I was pleased to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Peach Shortcake. The recipe turned out well – and was perfect for a hot summer day.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Peach Shortcake
Source: Lowney’s Cook Book (1921 Revised Edition)

This recipe made a little less shortcake than I was expecting. I used a 10-inch round cake pan when I made the recipe. (There wasn’t enough dough to make two layers.) If I made this recipe again, I think that 8-inch cake pans would work better, so that is the pan size that I listed in the updated recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Peach Shortcake

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 cups peeled and sliced peaches

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

whipped cream

Combine sliced peaches, sugar, and lemon juice; stir gently. Spoon some of the  sweetened peaches between the layers of shortcake (see recipe below). Put additional peaches and the whipped cream on the top layer of shortcake.

Shortcake

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons lard

1 cup milk

butter, if desired

Preheat oven to 425° F. Put flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl; stir to combine. Cut in butter and lard using a pastry blender. Add milk and mix using a fork until dough starts to cling together. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, then divide dough in half and put into the pans. Bake 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly, then remove from pans. Split each layer using a fork. If desired butter layers, Arrange layers with fruit filling in the middle and on top.

http://www.ahundredyearsago.com