Hundred-year-old Cranberry Sauce Recipe

bowl of cranberry sauceIt just isn’t Thanksgiving without Cranberry Sauce. Some years I make the whole berry sauce recipe printed on the bags of fresh cranberries; other years I grit my teeth and buy a can of jellied canned sauce.  But, I have vague food memories a wonderful smooth homemade Cranberry Sauce that was served at Thanksgiving gatherings when I was a small child.

So, I was thrilled to find a classic smooth Cranberry Sauce recipe in a hundred-year-old magazine. The Cranberry Sauce contained tiny bits of cranberries, and was a delightful blend of sweet and sour.

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Classic Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: moderate
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4 cups cranberries

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons (scant 1/2 cup) water

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups sugar

Wash cranberries, then place cranberries and water put in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium high heat. Stir in the baking soda, then reduce heat and simmer until the berries have softened and burst (5-7 minutes). Skim any froth that rises to the top while cooking. Remove from heat, and press through a sieve. (I used a Foley mill.) Place the pulp in a clean pan and stir in the sugar. (The berry skins should be discarded.) Cook until the mixture begins to boil while stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and put the cranberry sauce in the serving dish. Cool in refrigerator at least 3 hours before serving. Once the sauce is cooled, it should be covered to prevent a thick “skin” from forming on the top.

(Cook’s note: Today many cranberries are sold in 12 ounce bags – which is 3 cups of cranberries. If using one 12-ounce bag of cranberries, make three- fourths of this recipe. This would mean using a little less than 1/3 cup water, 3/8 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 1/2 cups sugar.)

Hundred-year-old Recipe for Bread Stuffing

bread stuffing in bowl

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to stuffing, and I still use the bread stuffing recipe in my 1976 Betty Crocker Cookbook. Betty Crocker calls for combining bread crumbs with lots of butter, minced onion and celery; and then seasoning with sage and thyme. That recipe is tasty – but this year I wanted to make an authentic hundred-year-old recipe, so was thrilled to find a Bread Stuffing recipe in a 1919 magazine.

The hundred-year-old recipe skips the onion and celery – and uses poultry seasoning instead of the individual spices that I usually use. It also calls for an egg that acts as a binder to help keep the stuffing from falling apart.

The seasoning for the old recipe was just right, and is perfect for those who want an authentic, old-fashioned bread stuffing recipe.

Here’s the original recipe:

bread stuffing recipe
Source: American Cookery (November, 1919)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Bread Stuffing

  • Servings: 2 - 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Note: This recipe makes enough stuffing to stuff a 2-3 pound chicken. Double recipe for a 5 – 6 pound chicken; quadruple for a 10-12 pound turkey.

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning

2 cups soft bread crumbs (tear bread into 1-inch pieces)

1 egg, beaten

In a large bowl stir together, butter, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Add bread crumbs and egg; stir gently until thoroughly combined. Scoop stuffing into chicken or turkey body and neck cavities. Cook poultry thoroughly. Remove stuffing from poultry, and place in a bowl. Fluff with a spoon or fork, and then serve. May also be served cold.

Old-fashioned Nutted Cream

molded Nutted Cream on plate

Holiday gatherings when I was a child meant lots of relatives crowded around a table – with all the leaves added, and topped with two or three mismatched tablecloths – in a tiny dining room with floral wallpaper on the walls. The table would almost sag from all the food – turkey or ham (or maybe both), stuffing, mashed potatoes, pickles, creamed vegetables  . . .  and molded salads or desserts. Back in those days, molded foods that contained gelatin were salads – today, similar food are often considered desserts.

There was always just a bit of drama surrounding the molded salad. They were unmolded shortly before we ate to help ensure that they looked their best. But, there always were questions about how long the mold needed to be dipped in hot water to successfully unmold it. If it wasn’t dipped long enough, the salad might only partially come out (and look like a mess) . . . and if it was dipped too long, it might partially melt (and look like a mess).

So when I recently came across a recipe in the November, 1919 issue of American Cookery for a gelatin and cream salad (or dessert) with nuts, I just had to give it a try. There were just too many memories to pass over it – and just enough risk to make it seem like it a fun, yet slightly challenging recipe to try.

I’m pleased to report that the Nutted Cream recipe was a huge success – and I didn’t have any trouble unmolding it. The creamy salad (or dessert) with embedded nuts had just a hint of sweetness, and was a delightful treat.

In many ways the Nutted Cream seemed surprisingly modern – and if I’d put it in individual cups, instead of the mold, it would be similar to some lovely desserts that I’ve recently had at very nice restaurants.

Here’s the original recipe (and a picture!) in the 1919 magazine:

Nutted Cream on Plate
Source: American Cookery (November, 1919)
Nutted Cream Recipe
Source: American Cookery (November, 1919)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Nutted Cream

  • Servings: 7 - 9
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 packets unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup cold water

1/4 cup hot water

3 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3  cup finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts.) + (if desired) additional nuts for garnishing

Put the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top of the water. Let sit until softened (about 2 minutes).  Add hot water, then place the small bowl in a pan that contains hot water. Stir the gelatin mixture until dissolved. Remove small bowl from the pan. Set aside.

Put the whipping in a mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the powdered sugar while continuing to beat, then gently stir in the walnuts. Set aside.

Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture in a pan that contains cold water and ice cubes. Stir the gelatin mixture until it begins to thicken. Then gently fold the gelatin mixture into the whipped cream mixture.

Spoon whipped cream mixture into an 8-cup mold.  Chill in the refrigerator until firm (at least two hours).

To serve, quickly dip the mold in hot water, then gently slide the Nutted Cream onto serving plate. If desired, garnish with additional chopped nuts.

Traditional Cabbage Salad with Ham

Sometimes coleslaw with its typical sugary, mayonnaise-based dressing can seem like a bit much. I recently came a hundred-year-old dressing for Cabbage Salad with Ham that calls for simply dressing it with warm vinegar. The simplicity of the dressing really brings out the flavor of this salad.

Here is the original recipe:

cabbage salad with ham in bowl
Source: The Old Reliable Farm and Home Cook Book (1919)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cabbage Salad with Ham

  • Servings: 4 - 5 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 quart (4 cups) cabbage, grated (about 1 medium cabbage)

1 medium onion, finely minced

1/4 cup ham, diced

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine grated cabbage and minced onion in a bowl. Set aside

Sauté diced ham in a skillet using medium heat until lightly browned. Stir in vinegar, salt, and pepper; heat until hot. Pour heated vinegar over cabbage and onion; stir to combine. Serve.

Old-fashioned Almond Strips (Almond Pastry Bars)

Almond strips (pastry bars) on plate

When I make a pie, I sprinkle any remaining pastry scraps with cinnamon and sugar, and then bake until light browned. These scraps are good, but I found a hundred-year-old recipe for Almond Strips that takes it to the next level.

Almond Strips are bars of baked pastry dough topped with cinnamon, sugar, and almond slices. These bars are a great way to use those pastry scraps – yet are so pretty and tasty that they can be served without apology.

Here is the original recipe:

Recipe for Almond Strips
Source: Recipes for Everyday by Janet McKenzie Hill (1919)

And, here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Almond Strips

  • Servings: approx. 6 bars
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 tablespoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup almond slices

pie pastry for a 1-shell pie (or use scraps of pastry dough left-over after making a pie crust)

1 egg white

Put sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; stir to combine. Then add almond slices; stir. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll pie pastry into a rectangle 1/4-inch thick. Cut into strips 2 inches X 4 inches. Place strips on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon/almond mixture. Make sure the sugar and almonds are distributed evenly across the bars. Press lightly.  Bake for approximately 10 -15 minutes (or until lightly browned).

Old-fashioned Baked Apple Roll

Baked apple roll in baking dish

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:

Recipe for baked apple roll
Source: The Old Reliable Farm and Home Cook Book (1919)

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.

Baked Apple Roll

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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slice of baked apple roll in dish

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon butter (softened) + 1/4 cup butter

1 cup milk

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.

    Unbaked apple roll in baking dish with sugar, water, and pats of butter

Old-fashioned Cauliflower with Onion Sauce

cauliflower with onion sauce in green bowl

Cauliflower is a delightful fall vegetable, so I was pleased when I recently came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Cauliflower with Onion Sauce. This dish contains cauliflower florets smothered with a rich and creamy sauce made with cream and onion puree. It is then topped with lightly toasted bread cubes.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cauliflower with Onion Sauce
Source: Recipes for Everyday by Janet McKenzie Hill (1919)

Making the sauteed bread cubes brought back warm memories of my mother in law. She often sauteed bread cubes to lightly toast them when making a topping for casseroles or other dishes. I generally go the easier route when making a bread topping, and use fine bread crumbs and skip sauteing them. But I really liked the larger sauteed bread cubes in this dish, and may have to make them again to top other dishes.

I couldn’t bring myself to use Crisco when I sauteed the bread cubes and instead used butter.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 large onions

1 cup cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 egg yolk, beaten

1 head cauliflower

1 slice bread

1 teaspoon butter

Onion Sauce

Remove outer layer from onions, slice and place in a saucepan. Cover with water, and using high heat bring to a boil.  Reduce and cook until tender about 15 minutes. Drain, then press through a sieve or puree (I used a Foley mill.) Combine onion puree, cream , salt, pepper, and egg yolk in a saucepan. Using medium heat, heat until the sauce thickens and is on the verge of boiling. Remove from heat.

Cauliflower

Cut the florets from the head of cauliflower. Place in a saucepan, and cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until tender (about 8 -10 minutes). Remove from heat and drain.

Bread Cubes

Cut bread into 1/2 inch cubes. Melt butter in small skillet using medium heat, add bread crumbs. Gently stir occasionally until lightly browned. Remove from heat.

To Serve

Place cauliflower in serving dish. Pour onion sauce over the cauliflower, then sprinkle with sauteed bread crumbs.