historical sources


snipes

A SNIPE

For Woodcock, Snipe, &c.

PERIOD: England, 17th century | SOURCE: The Art of Cookery Refined and Augmented, 1654 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: A wine sauce for small game birds


For Woodcock, Snipe, &c..

You may make sauce for Woodcocks or Snipes as followeth; If you draw your Fowle put an Onion in the belly, then spit them, roast them with a dish under them, in which let there be Claret, Vinegar, an Anchove, Pepper and Salt; the Fowle being roasted, put a little piece of Butter and a little grated Bread, shaking it well together and dish it with your Fowl.

It is a very good sauce for a wilde Duck, onely rub your dish with a clove of Garlike, because it is a ranker fowle.

Back when I first moved to Tennessee those many moons ago, a lot of pranks were played on this burgeoning Yank-a-Billy.  Being a young , gullible innocent and so eager to “fit in”, I’d sit in the teacher’s lounge after school and be “educated” (“Miss Ramona , haven’t you ever heard of a yaller dope and a Moon Pie?”) and I bit on most of them. Notably there were the fox hunts (TVA line paths that one could see over the mountains), what to do after eating wild ramps ( gargle with lemon juice so you wouldn’t offend anyone within a mile of your mouth), the secret of what to do to brown beans so one wouldn’t have gas ( and then you fart yourself into next Tuesday!). The biggie was “snipe hunting”. Now around here snipe hunting is BIG, real BIG and every newbie is asked if any of the locals have taken you to go snipe hunting. It would make me wonder when some of the teachers who didn’t have poker faces would snigger but who would have thought? What I was told eventually is that there are no snipes and what they meant was had anyone ever taken you into the woods at night and scared the living crap out of you.

Guess what? It took forty plus years to find out that, in fact, there is such a bird and I even got a picture from the internet  to prove it. I was looking at obscure recipes of the 17th century and found one for the sauce which I reprinted above in the original. Actually it looks like a wonderful sauce that I’ll make when I roast the duck breasts I have in my freezer. Low and behold, though, that one can roast  snipe and use the sauce for them. It can’t be a very big bird so one would have to have several if one were not to starve to death. Well, well, well!!! If I could only go back in time and proffer my smart phone to my “friends” and say, guess what, there IS SUCH A THING AS A SNIPE AND NO, I HAVEN’T BEEN HUNTING. Oh,  the joy! Then I’d invite  them to participate in a fox hunt.

 

 

We on the distaff side always use our aprons for a variety of things. I am reposting a wonderful article from The Historic Foodie’s blog for your enjoyment.

Thehistoricfoodie's Blog

aprons rubens 1760s

David Allan Highlannd Dance 1780

Readers will recall a previous post on aprons, but today we will focus on brief descriptions and the apron’s use in carrying various items. Gathering these references reminded me of my youth when aprons were commonly worn whether fancy for show or utilitarian for gathering eggs, holding clothes-pins, picking vegetables, etc. The references are presented as they were found pre-1790 with no additional rhetoric on my part.

Thomas Sheridan defined an apron as, “A cloth hung before to keep the other dress clean, or for ornament”. (1790)

A novel described a utilitarian apron in 1797 as: “her old checked apron, which was very clean, and had been patched and darned from one end to the other…”. – The Universalist’s Miscellany.

Let’s look at the description of a fine apron. “…having an apron on, that was embroidered with silk of different colours…”. – Annual Register. Vol. I. (1758).

While being queried…

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Gosh and begorra, it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day again. A few years ago, I wrote about the foods which I experienced in Ireland and how to make some of the more popular Irish American dishes. Thing is, the foods that are traditional here are not what they actually eat over there, kind of like going to a Mexican restaurant and thinking that the tacos and burritos you’re eating there are things that are found in the Yucatan. So what do they eat? I can tell you that many of the traditional dishes are being pushed to to the side as the Irish are fast becoming foodies, but traditional Irish fare is peasant food, few ingredients, not many spices as they were too expensive. Beef was a luxury only for the rich but mutton and pig (all but the squeal) were items found on most tables. When they could, they’d forage for things like seaweed, wild mushrooms, nettles and other greens when in season, and shellfish like mussels which still are prolific on the coastlines and of course, the lowly spud made a million and one ways. The basic bread was soda bread.

Soda bread made in a bastible, so easy to do.

Soda bread made in a bastible, so easy to do.

I remember when there was an Irish store in Jonesboro, the owner had a contest every year for who could make the best soda bread. I’d been to Ireland the summer before I entered it the first time and had a recipe form the lady who owned the Cottage where the “Man of Aran” was filmed on Inis Mór . How could it get any more authentic than that? As it turned out, I won second place that year; first place went to one filled with raisins and fruits. Heck, that wasn’t Soda Bread; it was cake!!! Oh well, the second year I made a Bannock and said so and won. Still have the mug to prove it, but it wasn’t soda bread and i made sure to say so. I’ve made soda bread on the hearth, easy peasy, and even in my oven, I still bake it and many other peasant breads in a dutch oven as it keeps in the steam and makes a wonderful crust.

Man of Aran cottage

Man of Aran cottage

Main Room

Main Room

All the food is grown on site and yes, they have an orange tree, protected from the cold by warm limestone. Fish is caught locally.

All the food is grown on site , protected form the cold by warm limestone. Fish is caught locally.They even have an orangerie with lemon and orange trees. I marveled how the limestone protects everything from the elements and the lady said thatthe ground is warmed because underneath the topsoil, it’s stone warmed by the sun all year.

I found a wonderful website that tells the reader everything they may want to know about traditional soda bread. It’s written by the SOCIETY OF THE PRESERVATION OF IRISH SODA BREAD. I’m not going to reprint the history but it is definitely worth reading as it gives much information as to how it came to be such a staple and what ingredients where used and why. the surprising thing was that it was identified early on as a popular bread in America, but identified with Ireland. this may answer the question I’ve had as to whether wheat was grown here during colonial times. Obviously the answer is yes, but it didn’t make the hard wheat that is leavened with yeast as it may have been a poorer quality wheat that made a “soft” flour that would have done best with pot ash. http://www.sodabread.info/history/

The author did say that the oldest published reference to this bread was in 1836, though it was made from poor quality wheat long before, and Mary Randolph had a recipe for soda bread in her cookbook, the Virginia Housewife, published in 1824 .

Oldest reference to a published Soda Bread recipe: County Down, Ireland NOV 1836.

From November 1836 Farmer’s Magazine (London) VOL 5 p.328 referencing an Irish newspaper in County Down
“A correspondent of the Newry Telegraph gives the following receipt for making ” soda bread,” stating that “there is no bread to be had equal to it for invigorating the body, promoting digestion, strengthening the stomach, and improving the state of the bowels.” He says, “put a pound and a half of good wheaten meal into a large bowl, mix with it two teaspoonfuls of finely-powdered salt, then take a large teaspoonful of super-carbonate of soda,% dissolve it in half a teacupful of cold water, and add it to the meal; rub up all intimately together, then pour into the bowl as much very sour buttermilk as will make the whole into soft dough (it should be as soft as could possibly be handled, and the softer the better,) form it into a cake of about an inch thickness, and put it into a flat Dutch oven or frying-pan, with some metallic cover, such as an oven-lid or griddle, apply a moderate heat underneath for twenty minutes, then lay some clear live coals upon the lid, and keep it so for half an hour longer (the under heat being allowed to fall off gradually for the last fifteen minutes,) taking off the cover occasionally to see that it does not burn. ” This, he concludes, when somewhat cooled and moderately buttered, is as wholesome food as ever entered man’s stomach. Wm. Clacker, Esq., of Gosford, has ordered a sample of the bread to be prepared, and a quantity of the meal to be kept for sale at the Markethill Temperance Soup and Coffee Rooms.”

This same exact story was repeated in English and American newspapers and magazines over the next few years so it is possible that the Farmer’s Magazine reprint may not be the first one. It is, however, the only documented copy discovered so far.

The recipe for soda bread is ultra simple: flour, soured or buttermilk, baking soda or potash, salt. That’s it! I’m reprinting their recipes exactly. The recipe I have is identical to the white bread one. I used cake flour because that’s what was used on Inis Mor.

This was a daily bread that didn’t keep long and had to be baked every few days. It was not a festive “cake” and did not contain whisky, candied fruit, caraway seeds, raisins (add raisins and it becomes “spotted dog” not to be confused with the pudding made with suet of the same name), or any other ingredient.

There are recipes for those types of cakes but they are not the traditional soda bread eaten by the Irish daily since the mid 19th century.

Here are a few basic recipe. Note that measurements below are in American standards. (An Irish teaspoon is not the same as an American teaspoon measurement.

Note for New Bakers: a fluid cup contains 8 ounces of liquid. A dry ingredient cup contains around 4 ounces by weight. Don’t use a liquid measuring cup for dry ingredients. Tsp means Teaspoon.

Of course our great grandmothers just grabbed a handful of this and a pinch of that to make their bread. We modern bakers need help since we don’t do it every day.

The best flour to use is “soft wheat” which is called “pastry flour” or “cake flour” today in the US. If you want to try using Irish flour, may I suggest Odlums.

In 1845, about the time that soda bread baking was taking off in Ireland, William Odlum opened a four mill in Portlaoise and his descendants expanded the business over the years until 1988 when it was purchased by a corporation that continues production today. They produce not only the white and wheat flours, but for the modern Irish family, a soda bread mix flour and brown bread mix flour that only needs water added to create a soda bread dough.

The latter mixes are similar to what I create using Saco Cultured buttermilk, flour, baking soda, and salt to create my own “add water” mix for camping trips.

If you want to try using Odlums flour, you can purchase it by using a link on their site. Your purchase helps keep this web site up and running and you will be baking with real Irish flour. For what they are attempting to create here, avoid the self-Raising flour and not that “cream flour” means just regular white flour. No baking soda or baking powder added to it.

A little butter and jam and a cup of tea- oh yeah!!!

A little butter and jam and a cup of tea- oh yeah!!!

Brown Bread

3 cups (12 oz) of wheat flour
1 cup (4 oz) of white flour (do not use self-rising as it already contains baking powder and salt)
14 ounces of buttermilk (pour in a bit at a time until the dough is moist)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
2 ounces of butter if you want to deviate a bit.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees. Lightly grease and flour a cake pan. In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients. Rub in the butter until the flour is crumbly.

Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)

Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.

Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot). Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped to show it is done.

Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

Let cool and you are ready to have a buttered slice with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

White Soda Bread

4 cups (16 oz) of all purpose flour. (Ed. Note: use cake flour)
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
14 oz of buttermilk

Method:

Preheat the oven to 425 F. degrees. Lightly crease and flour a cake pan.

In a large bowl sieve and combine all the dry ingredients.

Add the buttermilk to form a sticky dough. Place on floured surface and lightly knead (too much allows the gas to escape)

Shape into a round flat shape in a round cake pan and cut a cross in the top of the dough.

Cover the pan with another pan and bake for 30 minutes (this simulates the bastible pot). Remove cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The bottom of the bread will have a hollow sound when tapped so show it is done.

Cover the bread in a tea towel and lightly sprinkle water on the cloth to keep the bread moist.

One of my favorite Irish cookbooks is by Monica Sheridan, the Julia Child of Irish Television, called “The Art of Irish Cooking” published in 1965. It has been long out-of-print but if you get a chance to grab a copy, do so. She talks about traditional cooking without any of the “spicing up” that we see in modern interpretations of Irish baking although she does experiment a bit with recipes. Here is her recipe for “Brown Bread”

4 cups Stone Ground Whole wheat flour
2 cups White flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 cups Buttermilk
Preparation:

Mix the whole wheat flour thoroughly with the white flour, salt, and baking soda.
Make a well in the center and gradually mix in the liquid. Stir with a wooden spoon. You may need less, or more liquid – it depends on the absorbent quality of the flour.

The dough should be soft but manageable. Knead the dough into a ball in the mixing bowl with your floured hands. Put on a lightly floured baking sheet and with the palm of your hand flatten out in a circle 1 1/2 inches thick.

With a knife dipped in flour, make a cross through the center of the bread so that it will easily break into quarters when it is baked. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake a further 15 minutes. If the crust seems too hard, wrap the baked bread in a damp tea cloth. Leave the loaf standing upright until it is cool. The bread should not be cut until it has set – about 6 hours after it comes out of the oven. (personally, I can’t wait 6 hours to eat fresh soda bread

OK! If you gotten this far down and are still feeling uneasy about making soda bread, there is one last trick you can try: Imported Irish Soda Bread already mixed and ready to bake. Just add water. Click on the flour bag that looks like an Owl. That’s Odlum’s Brown Bread Mix. It’s as close to traditional as you can get without going to the extra trouble. Enjoy! (Ed. NOTE: Don’t do it!!! I tried it and it’s not as good as making it from scratch)

FARLS Recipes

In Ulster the same ingredients for soda bread are used but the dough is divided into quarters and cooked on a grill (I remember my grandmother doing that once in awhile in Tipperary in the 1950s where it isn’t common).

Here is the recipe that makes soda bread- as my grandmother and great-grandmother made it – and as my children and grand-children (as well as myself) make it today. It hasn’t changed at all – except we use a stove instead of an open hearth for cooking. My family is from Crossgar and Hillsborough in County Down.

Heat a 9 inch iron skillet over low flame on the stove. Lightly dust with flour.
Measure 2 cups sifted flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt.
Make a well in the above and add 1 cup of buttermilk. Thoroughly mix until dough leaves side of bowl.
Flour a bread board – put dough on board (sprinkle with a little extra flour – and gently knead 3 or 4 times.
Pat dough into a circle the size of the skillet. Cut into farls (fourths) and place on skillet. Cook about 10 minutes on each side.
Wrap bread in a tea towel when it is done. This absorbs the baking soda taste and keeps the bread fresh. Eat that day or fry in bacon fat the next morning as part of an Ulster fry.

You can also use 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white flour.

check out the site as there are many other recipes for Farl , griddle bread and Harning. http://www.sodabread.info/menu/

I subscribe to a Colonial Williamsburg blogsite called “Making History” (http://makinghistorynow.com/ )and it’s one of the best I know for just about everything. I strongly suggest you check it out because there is so much of interest. The latest blog deals with finding a hidden chocolate kitchen in the bowels of Hampton Court and I reprinted it here. Evidently rumors of this hidden room were rife for years and researchers finally found it with much of the contents still intact. That must have been a treasure trove not unlike Mel Fisher’s Atocha! while I’m not a real fan of chocolate, I do like the American Heritage chocolate and made that whopping Chocolate Stout Cake this past weekend (I’ll post that recipe ,by the way,shortly. Doug Ledbetter made it as a Black Forest cake with cherry filling and homemade whipped cream and I sampled it. OH MY GAWD!!!) so while the smell of it is still in my head, reading this article gave me an additional sensory kick! Also Mr. Meltonville will be at Colonial Williamsburg talking about it and chocolate this March. Man, I’d give a molar to be there! I hope the bloggers at Colonial Williamsburg don’t mind me re-blogging their fabulous article but it was too good not to share.

A SECRET CHOCOLATE ROOM FIT FOR A KING! (EXCLUSIVE FAQ AND VIDEO INCLUDED)
February 18, 2015 by Jessica A. Ross

HotChocolate-1-600x400

Britain has been a nation of chocolate-lovers since the 17th century and history shows the chocolate drinking craze actually began with the royal family and traveled across the pond to the colonial capital. Rumors of a secret chocolate room in the Hampton Court Palace circulated for years, but no one could seem to find it. After several dead ends (and nearly three centuries after it was built), researchers finally unearthed the hidden kitchen—one that catered to three different kings. We have a behind-the-scenes look at this crowning achievement.

Hampton Court Chocolate Room

Hampton Court Chocolate Room


The precise location of the secret chocolate-making kitchen is in the Baroque Palace’s Fountain Court and it just opened to the public this month. Having been used as a storeroom for many years, it was remarkably well preserved with many of the original fittings, including the stove, equipment, and furniture. As part of the reconstruction, the exhibit now includes replicas of period-specific pottery, copper cooking equipment, and chocolate serving silverware.

In the 18th century, this kitchen was the domain of Thomas Tosier, personal chocolatier to King George I. Talk about a sweet gig! Tosier and his wife were charged with preparing the sophisticated chocolate drink for the royal family’s most intimate dinners and parties. King George also reportedly asked to be served hot chocolate every morning with his breakfast!

Marc Meltonville

Marc Meltonville


Marc Meltonville Since many of you likely won’t be traveling to England to see it in person, we thought we’d reach out to Marc Meltonville, Royal Palace Food Historian, and get the behind-the-scenes scoop on this amazing discovery.

Marc has worked on the reconstruction of kitchens at many of the six Royal Palaces as well as countless museums. Right now, he is traveling all across the UK and North America to speak about the King’s Chocolate Room and he will make a special stop at the Hennage Auditorium inside the Art Museums on March 18 at 5:30. And it’s free with your Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket!

We caught up with him (despite the five hour time difference) and he was gracious enough to answer some questions ahead of his visit.

Q: Which kings did the royal chocolate-making kitchen cater to and how unusual was it? What was the secret to the perfect cup of hot chocolate, fit for a king? Do you have records of the recipe?
A: Kings and Queens from Charles II to George III had chocolate makers. They made a hot drink, usually for the Royal Breakfast. We will never know the actual secret of a King’s chocolate, but we can get close because we have a couple of surviving recipes.

Q: I read that you sifted through handwritten notes, letters, and ledgers to search for confirmation the room existed. What was that process like and what evidence did you eventually find to prove its existence?
A: Luckily we have a good sized team so the actual sifting was done by our lovely interns. The big breakthrough was when we were able to take the ‘legend’ of the King’s Chocolate kitchen and prove that it did indeed exist.

Q: How did you finally know where to look? When you got inside, was it underwhelming (after all the built-up anticipation)?
A: We found the chocolate room quite late in the project, after finding out lots about the people that worked there and who they worked for. The room turned out to be not quite where we thought, and it was stunning!

Q: What is the historical significance of what you found?
A: We are able to add another facet to the lives of those who lived and worked on the great engine that is a Royal Palace. Away from the art and architecture, there are real people.

Q: What is one specific piece of history you plan to address during your visit here?
A: Whilst working on the project we were presented with a recipe for making hot chocolate that was not just like the ones used in Royal circles, but actually listed as “Chocolate as the King takes it.”

When he visits next month, Meltonville plans to talk more about that specific recipe and the elaborate and complex process that goes into making it. In the meantime, he sent us this video from the royal kitchen to share with you! Stay tuned for his alcohol-infused chocolate recipe.

It’s going to be a cold and possibly snowy weekend come the February muster. I want to make some 18th century rib sticking faire and what coukd be better than roasted chicken and dumplings. I found this wonderful blog about the subject and can’t resist reprinting it here.

Thehistoricfoodie's Blog

During the first Great Depression, (as opposed to the one we’re enjoying now), dumplings were a Southern staple.  The dumplings were pretty much the same, but the meat in the pot varied from the standard chicken to squirrel, rabbit, bits of ham, and whatever else happened to be available.  They were basic but filling.

Our 18th century ancestors enjoyed them for the same reasons our grandparents did – they were inexpensive, filling, and could be made quickly with whatever tidbits the cook had at her disposal.

John Day referenced eating a dish of dumplings in 1608 but gave no indication of how they were prepared, and diarist Samuel Pepys did not fail to mention dumplings with a boiled calves head in 1663.  (In the days when no part of the animal was wasted heads routinely went into the pot)

H. Pitman who referred to himself and his brother as…

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I love the Colonialamerica.com website (http://www.colonialamerica.com/ ). They do a terrific job in writing and seem to write about the most amazing things. On the front page, the editor has an excellent piece about nutmeg, of all things. I don’t know about you, but I love nutmeg and use it in all kinds of recipes whether its called for or not. I had no idea that it had a deep, dark past, but so it does. I reprinted their commentary about the article they found and the article itself, written by Allison Aubrey on Dec.26, 2014 for NCPR.

This copper engraving from approximately 1700 depicts the condition of the English prisoners at the hands of the Dutch. In the 1660s, Cornell University's Eric Tagliacozzo says, the conflict and competition for the spice trade came to a head. "The Dutch decapitated a number of English merchants who were also in the Spice Islands trying to profit from the trade."

This copper engraving from approximately 1700 depicts the condition of the English prisoners at the hands of the Dutch. In the 1660s, Cornell University’s Eric Tagliacozzo says, the conflict and competition for the spice trade came to a head. “The Dutch decapitated a number of English merchants who were also in the Spice Islands trying to profit from the trade.”



Nutmeg Spice Has A Secret Story That Isn’t So Nice

So, why was nutmeg so valuable? Well, Krondl likens it to the iPhone of the 1600s. It was fashionable among the wealthy. It was exotic and potent enough to induce hallucinations or at least a nutmeg bender, as detailed in this account from The Atlantic.

Ah, nutmeg! Whether it’s sprinkled on eggnog, baked into spice cake or blended into a latte, this pungent spice can evoke memories of holidays past.

But a lot of blood has been shed over this little brown seed. “Nutmeg has been one of the saddest stories of history,” says culinary historian Michael Krondl. If you listen to my story, you’ll hear the gruesome, grisly tale of how the Dutch tortured and massacred the people of the nutmeg-producing Banda Islands in Indonesia in an attempt to monopolize the nutmeg trade.

So, why was nutmeg so valuable? Well, Krondl likens it to the iPhone of the 1600s. It was fashionable among the wealthy. It was exotic and potent enough to induce hallucinations — or at least a nutmeg bender, as detailed in this account from The Atlantic.

“Nutmeg really does have chemical constituents that make you feel good,” explains culinary historian Kathleen Wall of the Plimoth Plantation. And traditionally, we turn to nutmeg (along with cloves and cinnamon) this time of year because these spices — as the settlers to the colonies believed — can help warm us up and even help us fight off head colds and stomachaches.

And for foodies, nutmeg is an ideal spice for layering flavor. We visited Chef Kyle Bailey of Birch and Barley restaurant in Washington, D.C., who combined spinach and nutmeg to whip up a divine puree that marries the flavors beautifully:

I must also mention a bit of nutmeg history that makes good dinner-party conversation: the question of whether the Dutch traded Manhattan (yes, New York) for nutmeg.

In the 1600s, “the Dutch and the British were kind of shadowing each other all over the globe,” explains Cornell historian Eric Tagliacozzo. They were competing for territory and control of the spice trade. In 1667, after years of battling, they sat down to hash out a treaty.

“Both had something that the other wanted,” explains Krondl. The British wanted to hold onto Manhattan, which they’d managed to gain control of a few years earlier. And the Dutch wanted the last nutmeg-producing island that the British controlled, as well as territory in South America that produced sugar.

“So they [the Dutch] traded Manhattan, which wasn’t so important in those days, to get nutmeg and sugar.”

And back then, the Dutch considered it a sweet deal!

A version of this story was first published Nov. 26, 2012.

Aired on Morning Edition Nov. 26, 2012.

Orange slices after 4 boilings, being candied with sugar and water.

Orange slices after 4 boilings, being candied with sugar and water.

I have read that candied citrus peels was a very popular confection of the 18th century. Certainly, there are quite a few recipes that call for candied peel but you can’t buy them . Because they were period candy, I decided to make them with what was left of about 9  navel oranges I had left from Old Christmas.I peeled all of the oranges and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge for a few days. This way, I was able to cut much more of the white away without ripping the skin and it made this batch oh so much  than others I had made. The recipe for candying goes as follows:

9 oranges ( or less) , scrubbed, peeled into quarters

4 cups granulated sugar, divided

1 cup water

Remove as much of the pith as possible and cut into 1/4 inch strips. Put them in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil them 15 minutes, Drain and rinse. repeat this process 4 times as it removes the oils that make them bitter.

While you are doing this, mix 3 cups of sugar with 1 cup of water, bring this to a boil , then lower to medium and stir. This makes a simple syrup and is slightly thick.

After the last boil, add the rinsed skins to the syrup and bring back up to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour.

In the 18th century, they let the slices steep in the syrup for a day or two so I took them out of the pot and put them in a non reactive crock for two days.

After two days, I drained the slices and spread them out of drying racks with parchment paper underneath to catch the drips. I laid waxed paper over the racks as the slices need to dry for 3 days total. On day two into the drying, while they were still tacky, I put a cup of sugar in a pan and rolled the slices in the sugar to cover them on both sides and let them dry for the final day. When they were dry, I put them in a sealed plastic container and they will keep for months.

I have made orange cookies with Triple Sec instead of vanilla and the candied peels chopped up in the food processor and they were delicious. I found an interesting recipe from the HISTORY IS SERVED site of Colonial Williamsburg that I would like to try. It’s called “TO MAKE ORANGE LOAVES” and is a different  take on candied peels.

A totally different approach to cake and fruit. Sugary and rich, this recipe reverses the practice of mixing candied fruit into cake, instead putting cake into candied fruit.

18th Century

Take your orange, and cut a round hole in the top, take out all the meat, and as much of the white as you can, without breaking the skin; then boil them in water till tender, shifting the water till it is not bitter, then take them up and wipe them dry; then take a pound of fine sugar, a quart of water (or in proportion to the oranges), boil it, and take off the scum as it rises; then put in your oranges, and let them boil a little, and let them lie a day or two in the syrup; take the yolks of two eggs, a quarter of a pint of cream (or more), beat them well together, then grate in two Naples biscuits, or white bread, a quarter of a pound of butter, and four spoonfuls of sack; mix it altogether till your butter is melted, then fill the oranges with it, and bake them in a slow oven as long as you would a custard, then stick on some citron, and fill them up with sack, butter and sugar grated over.

Glasse, Hannah, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple,” 1796.

21st Century

  • 6 medium oranges
  • 1 lb. sugar
  • 1 quart water
  • 4 oz. butter
  • 4 oz. cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp. sherry
  • Sponge cakes or white bread — the equivalent of two large muffins in size
  • For topping: 3 oz. each of citron and candied orange peel and a sauce of 2 Tbsp. each of Sherry, melted butter and sugar heated and mixed together.
  1. Take your oranges and cut off the tops of each about one fifth the way down from the stem.
  2. Scoop out the inside of the orange as best you can including the white. If you use a small tea spoon and hold the orange in your palm, it will be easier to scrape it out.
  3. Boil the orange shells and lids in the water until tender but not folding or falling apart.
  4. Take them out, let them cool some and pat them dry gently with a cloth.
  5. Take half or more of the water the oranges were boiled in, add the sugar and bring to a boil in a medium stew pan.
  6. While it is boiling add the orange shells and lids and let them boil a few minutes.
  7. Take the pot off the heat and let it cool.
  8. Put the oranges and water in a covered container and set them in the refrigerator for a couple of days to saturate with the syrup, stirring them a couple of times a day.
  9. When they have saturated you are ready to fill them.
  10. In a mixing bowl, beat your eggs very well, add the cream, cake crumb, butter and sherry. Mix this together well with a spoon.
  11. Gently fill your orange shells with this “cake” mixture.
  12. Bake the oranges and their lids in a 350° oven for close to half an hour or more. They should not get dark brown on the outside, but a deeper orange color. The “cake” should bake as well.
  13. After coming from the oven, place the chopped citron and candied orange peel on top of each cake. After heating up the sherry, butter and sugar sauce spoon that over each cake to let it soak in. Send them to the table with lids on or next to them on the plate.

Ivan Day, noted expert wrote a wonderful article about the confectionary arts . It definitely bears reading. http://www.historicfood.com/The%20Art%20of%20Confectionery.pdf

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