Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Recipes for a Feast of Christmas Past

From: The Lady's Receipt Book; A Useful Companion for Large or Small Families by Eliza Leslie, 1847

From: Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches by Eliza Leslie, 1840

Mock Turtle or Calf’s Head Soup
This soup will require eight hours to prepare. Take a large calf's head, and having cleaned, washed, and soaked it, put it into a pot with a knuckle of veal, and the hock of a ham, or a few slices of bacon; but previously cut off and reserve enough of the veal to make two dozen small force meat balls. Put the head and the other meat into as much water as will cover it very well, so that it may not be necessary to replenish it: this soup being always made very rich. Let it boil slowly four hours, skimming it carefully. As soon as no more scum rises, put in six potatoes, and three turnips, all sliced thin; with equal proportions of parsley, sweet marjoram and sweet basil, chopped fine; and pepper and salt to your taste.
An hour before you send the meat to table, make about two dozen small force-meat balls of minced veal and beef-suet in equal quantities, seasoned with pepper and salt; sweet herbs, grated lemon-peel, and powdered nutmeg and mace. Add some beaten yolk of egg to make all these ingredients stick together. -Flour the balls very well, and fry them in butter. Before you put them into the soup, take out the head, and the other meat. Cut the meat from the head in small-pieces, and return it to the soup. When the soup is nearly done, stir in half a pint of Madeira. Have ready at least a dozen egg balls made of the yolks of hard boiled eggs, grated or pounded in a mortar, and mixed with a little flour and sufficient raw yolk of egg to bind them. Make them up into the form and size of boy's marbles. Throw them into the soup at the last, and also squeeze in the juice of a lemon. Let it get another slow boil, and then put it into the tureen.
We omit a receipt for real turtle soup, as when that very expensive, complicated, and difficult dish is prepared in a private family, it is advisable to hire a first-rate cook for the express purpose.
An easy way is to get it ready made, in any quantity you please, from a turtle-soup house.

Stewed Rockfish
Take a large rock-fish, and cut it in slices near an inch thick. Sprinkle it very slightly with salt, and let it remain for half an hour. Slice very thin a dozen large onions. Put them into a stew-pan with a quarter of a pound of fresh butter, cut into bits. Set them over a slow fire, and stir them continually till they are quite soft, taking care not to let them become brown. Then put in the sliced fish in layers; seasoning each layer with a mixture of white ground ginger, cayenne pepper, and grated nutmeg; add some chopped parsley, and some bits of butter rolled in flour. Pour in a pint of water, and, if you choose, a small wineglass of vinegar, (tarragon vinegar will be best.') Set it over a good fire and let it cook about an hour. When done, take out the fish carefully, to avoid breaking the slices. Lay it in a deep dish that has been made hot, and cover it immediately. Have ready the beaten yolks of two eggs. Stir them into the gravy. Give it one boil up; and then either pour it over the fish, or serve it up in a sauce-boat.
Halibut, fresh cod, or any other large fish may be stewed in this manner.
* To make this vinegar,—half fill a bottle with tarragon leaves, and fill it quite up with the best cider vinegar. Cork it tightly, and do not remove the tarragon, but let it remain always at the bottom The flavour is very fine.

To Roast A Ham
TAKE a very fine ham (a Westphalia one if you can procure it) and soak it in lukewarm water for a day or two, changing the water frequently. The day before you intend cooking it, take the ham out of the water, and (having removed the skin) trim it nicely, and pour over it in a bottle ofMadeira or sherry. Let it steep till next morning, frequently during the day washing the wine over it. Put it on the spit in time to allow at least six hours for slowly roasting it. Baste it continually with hot water. When it is done, dredge it all over with fine bread-rasping shaken on through the top of the dredging box; and set it before the fire to brown.
For gravy, take the wine in which the ham was steeped, and add to it the essence or juice which flowed from the meat when taken from the spit. Squeeze in the juice of two lemons. Put it into a sauce-pan, and boil and skim it. Send it to table in a boat. Cover the shank of the ham (which should have been sawed short) with bunches of double parsley, and ornament it with a cluster of flowers cut out with a penknife from raw carrots, beets, and turnips; and made to imitate marygolds, and red and white roses.
You may make another gravy with a pound and a half of scraps and trimmings or inferior pieces of venison, put into a sauce-pan with three pints of water, a few cloves, a few blades
of mace, half a nutmeg; and salt and cayenne to your taste. Boil it down slowly to a pint. Them skim off the fat, and strain the gravy into a clean sauce-pan. Add to it half a pint of currant jelly, half a pint of claret, and near a quarter of a pound of butter divided into bits and rolled in flour. Send it to table in two small tureens or sauce-boats. This gravy will be found very fine.
Venison is best when quite fresh; but if it is expedient to keep it a week before you cook it, wash it well with milk and water, and then dry it perfectly with cloths till there is not the least damp remaining on it. Then mix together powdered ginger and pepper, and rub it well over every part of the meat. Do not, however, attempt to keep it unless the weather is quite cold.
Send apple-sauce to table with the goose; also mashed potatoes.
A goose may be stuffed entirely with potatoes, boiled and mashed with milk, butter, pepper and salt.
You may make a gravy of the giblets, that is the neck, pinions, liver, heart and  gizzard, stewed in a little water, thickened with butter rolled in flour, and seasoned with pepper and salt. Add a glass of red wine. Before you send it to table, take out all but the liver and heart; mince them and leave them in the gravy. This gravy is by many prefered to that which comes from the goose in roasting. It is well to have both.
If a goose is old it is useless to cook it, as when hard and tough cannot be eaten.
Apple sauce is eaten with roast pork, roast goose and roast ducks.
Be careful not to have it thin and watery.
Parsnips are very good baked or stewed with meat.
Send it to table as soon as it is cold.
Mince-meat made early in the winter, and packed closely in stone jars, will keep till spring, if it has a sufficiency of spice and liquor. Whenever you take out any for use, pour some additional brandy into the jar before you cover it again, and add some more sugar. No mince-meat, however, will keep well unless all the ingredients are of the best quality. The meat should always be boiled the day before you want to chop it.
The red or Siberian crab apple makes a delicious jelly, prepared in the above manner.
four ripe lemons of the largest size, or of five or six smaller ones. If you cannot procure the fruit, you may flavour the cream with essence or oil of lemon; a tea-spoonful or more, according to its strength. The strongest and best essence of lemon is the white or whitish; when tinged with green, it is comparatively weak, having been diluted with water; if quite green, a large tea-spoonful will not communicate as much flavour as five or six drops of the white. After you have mixed the pint of cream with the sugar and lemon, beat it gradually and hard into the remaining cream, that is, the three pints. Cover it, and let it stand to infuse from half an hour to an hour. Then taste it, and if you think it necessary, stir in a little more lemon juice or a little more sugar. Strain it into the freezer through a fine strainer, (a tin one with small close holes is best,) to get rid of the grated lemon-peel, which if left in would prevent the cream from being smooth. Cover the freezer, and stand it in the ice cream tub, which should be filled with a mixture, in equal quantities, of coarse salt, and ice broken up as small as possible, that it may lie close and compact round the freezer, and thus add to its coldness. Snow, when it can be procured, is still better than ice to mix with the salt. It should be packed closely into the tub, and pressed down hard. Keep turning the freezer about by the handle till the cream is frozen, which it will generally be in two hours. Occasionally open the lid and scrape down the cream from the sides with a long-handled tin spoon. Take care that no salt gets in, or the cream will be spoiled. When it is entirely frozen, take it out of the freezer and put it into your mould; set it again in the tub, (which must be filled with fresh ice and salt,) and leave it undisturbed till you want it for immediate use. This second freezing, however, should not continue longer than two hours, or the cream will become inconveniently and unpleasantly hard, and have much of the flavour frozen out of it. Place the mould in the ice tub, with the head downwards, and cover the tub with pieces of old carpet while the second freezing is going on. When it has arrived at the proper consistence, and it is time to serve it up, dip a cloth in hot water, and wrap it round the mould for a few moments, to loosen the cream and make it come out easily; setting the mould on a glass or china dish. If a pyramid or obelisk mould, lift it carefully off the top. If the mould or form represents doves, dolphins, lap-dogs, fruit baskets, &c. it will open down the middle, and must be taken off in that manner. Serve it up immediately lest it begin to melt. Send round sponge-cake with it, and wine or cordials immediately after.
If you have no moulds, but intend serving it up in a large bowl or in glasses, it must still be frozen twice over; otherwise it can have no smoothness, delicacy, or consistence, but will be rough and coarse, and feel in the mouth like broken icicles. The second freezing (if you have no mould) must be done in the freezer, which should be washed out, and set again in the tub with fresh ice and salt. Cover it closely, and let the cream stand in it untouched, but not less than two hours. When you put it into glasses, heap it high on the top.
Begin to make ice cream about five or six hours before it is wanted for use. If you commence it too early, it may probably be injured by having to remain too long in the second freezing, as it must not be turned out till a few moments before it is served up. In damp weather it requires a longer time to freeze.
If cream is scarce, mix with it an equal quantity of rich milk, and then add, for each quart, two table-spoonfuls of powdered arrow-root rubbed smooth in a little cold milk.
Orange ice cream is made in the same manner as lemon.

—May be made precisely in the same manner as the above; substituting lemons for oranges.          
 (the "above" ORANGE PUDDING.)

To Roast a Saddle or Haunch of Venison with Currant Jelly
Wipe it all over with a sponge dippped in warm water. Then rub the skin with lard or nice dripping. Cover the fat with sheets of paper two double, buttered, and tied on with packthread that has been soaked to keep it from burning. Or, what is still better, you may cover the first sheets of paper with a coarse paste of flour and water rolled out half an inch thick, and then cover the paste with the second sheets of paper, securing the whole well with the string to prevent its falling off. Place the venison on the spit before a strong clear fire, such as you would have for a sirloin of beef, and let the fire be well kept up all the time. Put dome claret and butter into the dripping-pan and baste the meat with it frequently. If wrapped in paste, it will not be done in less than five hours. Half an hour before you take it up, remove the coverings carefully, place the meat nearer to the fire, baste it with fresh butter and dredge it very lightly with flour. Send it to table with fringed white paper wrapped round the bone, and its own gravy well skimmed. Have currant jelly to eat with it. As venison chills immediately, the plates should be kept on heaters.
Venison should never be roasted unless very fat. The shoulder is a roasting piece, and may be done without the paper or paste.
Excellent Currant Jelly
The currants should be quite ripe, but not over-ripe. Having picked them from the stems, put the fruit into a large stone jar, or pitcher, and tie closely over the top a very thick paper, (for instance, sugar-loaf paper, or coarse brown.) Set the jar into a kettle of boiling water, the water not quite reaching the top of the jar; and let the currants remain over a moderate fire an hour after they have begun to boil. Then pour them into a linen bag, and let the juice drip into a vessel beneath. Do not squeeze the bag, or the jelly will not be clear. When the juice has ceased to drip, measure it; and to each quart allow a pound of the best double-refined loaf-sugar, broken up. Crush the sugar small, by rolling it on a clean paste-board, with a rolling-pin. Put the juice (without the sugar) into a preserving-kettle, and let it just come to a boil. Then take it off; and, while it is very hot, immediately stir into it the sugar, a handful at a time, using a wooden spoon to stir it with. If the sugar is of the best sort, it will require no skimming, and will have no sediment. Therefore, as nothing of it will be lost or wasted, it is more economical than sugar of inferior quality. Put the jelly immediately into tumblers, or white jars, and cover it at once; first, with double white tissue-paper, cut to fit exactly the inside of the top; and then with writing-paper, cut larger, so as to turn downward, round the outside of the top. Paste the paper firmly on, and set the jelly away in a dry, cool place. Notch the edge of the paper, with scissors.
Fowl and Oysters (or Boiled Turkey with Oyster Sauce)
Take a fine fat young fowl, and having trussed it for boiling, fill the body and crop with oysters, seasoned with a few blades of mace; tying it round with twine to keep them in. Put the fowl into a tall strait-sided jar, and cover it closely. Then place the jar in a kettle of water; set it over the fire, and let it boil at least an hour and a half after the water has come to a hard boil. When it is done, take out the fowl, and keep it hot while you prepare the gravy, of which you will find a quantity in the jar. Transfer this gravy to a sauce-pan; enrich it with the beaten yolks of two eggs, mixed with three table-spoonfuls of cream; and add a large table-spoonful of fresh butter rolled in flour. If you cannot get cream, you must have a double portion of butter. Set this sauce over the fire; stirring it well; and when it comes to a boil, add twenty oysters chopped small. In five minutes take it off; put it into a sauceboat, and serve it up with the fowl, which cooked in this manner will be found excellent.
Clams may be substituted for oysters; but they should be removed from the fowl before it is sent to table. Their flavour being drawn out into the gravy, the clams themselves will be found tough, tasteless, and not proper to be eaten.

Roast Goose with Apple Sauce
Having drawn and singed the goose, wipe out the inside with a cloth, and sprinkle in some pepper and salt. Make a stuffing of four good sized onions minced fine, and half their quantity of green sage leaves minced also, a large tea-cupful of grated bread-crumbs, a piece of butter the size of a walnut, and the beaten yolks of two eggs, with a little pepper and salt. Mix the whole together, and incorporate them well. Put the stuffing into the goose, and press it in hard; but do not entirely fill up the cavity, as the mixture will swell in cooking. Tie the goose securely round with a greased or wetted string; and paper the breast to prevent it from scorching. Fasten the goose on the spit at both ends. The fire must be brisk and well kept up. It will require from two hours to two and a half to roast. Baste it at first with a little salt and water, and then with its own gravy. Take off the paper when the goose is about half done, and dredge it with a little flour towards the last. Having parboiled the liver and heart, chop them and put them into the gravy, which must be skimmed well and thickened with a little browned flour.
Apple Sauce 
Pare, core, and slice some fine apples. Put them into a sauce-pan with just sufficient water to keep them from burning, and some grated lemon-peel. Stew them till quite soft and tender. Then mash them to a paste, and make them very sweet with brown sugar, adding a small piece of butter and some nutmeg.

French Oyster Pie
Having buttered the inside of a deep dish, line it with puff-paste rolled out rather thick, and prepare another sheet of paste for the lid. Put a clean towel into the dish (folded so as to support the lid) and then put on the lid; set it into the oven, and bake the paste well. When done, remove the lid, and take out the folded towel. While the paste is baking, prepare the oysters. Having picked off carefully any bits of shell that may be found about them, lay them in a seive and drain off the liquor into a pan. Put the oysters into a skillet or stew-pan, with barely enough of the liquor to keep them from burning. Season them with whole pepper; blades of mace; some grated nutmeg; and some grated lemon-peel, (the yellow rind only,) and a little finely minced celery. Then add a large portion of fresh butter, divided into bits, and very slightly dredged with flour. Let the oysters simmer over the fire, but do not allow them to come to a boil, as that will shrivel them. Next beat the yolks only, of three, four, or five eggs, (in proportion to the size of the pie,) and stir the beaten egg into the stew a few minutes before you take it from the fire. Keep it warm till the paste is baked. Then carefully remove the lid of the pie; and replace it, after you have filled the dish with the oysters and gravy.
The lid of the pie may be ornamented with a wreath of leaves cut out of paste, and put on before baking. In the centre, place a paste-knot or flower.
Oyster pies are generally eaten warm; but they are very good cold.

White Fricassee (for Chickens)
Cut a pair of chickens into pieces, as for carving; and wash them through two or three waters. Then lay them in a large pan, sprinkle them slightly with salt, and fill up the pan with boiling water. Cover it, and let the chickens stand for half an hour. Then put them immediately into a stew-pan; adding a few blades of mace, and a few whole peppercorns, and a handful of celery, split thin and chopped finely; also, a small white onion sliced. Pour on cold milk and water (mixed in equal portions) sufficient to cover the chickens well. Cover the stew-pan, set it over the fire, and let it stew till the chickens are thoroughly done, and quite tender. While the chickens are stewing, prepare, in a smaller saucepan, a gravy or sauce made as follows :—Mix two tea-spoonfuls of flour with as much cold water as will make it like a batter, and stir it till quite smooth and free from lumps. Then add to it, gradually, half a pint of boiling milk. Next put in a quarter of a pound of fresh butter, cut into small pieces. Set it over hot coals, and stir it till it comes to a boil, and the butter is well melted and mixed throughout. Then take it off the fire, and, while it is hot, stir in a glass of madeira or sherry, and four table-spoonfuls of rich cream, and some grated nutmeg. Lastly, take the chickens out of the stew-pan, and pour off all the liquor, &c Return the chicken to the stew-pan, and pour over it, hot, the above-mentioned gravy. Cover the pan closely, and let it stand in a hot place, or in a kettle of boiling water for ten minutes. Then send it to table in a covered dish.
To the taste of many persons, this fricassee will be improved by adding to the chicken, while stewing, some small, thin slices of cold boiled ham.
Rabbits or veal may be fricasseed in the above manner.

Potato Snow
 For this purpose use potatoes that are very white, mealy, and smooth. Boil them very carefully, and when they are done, peel them, pour off the water, and set them on a trivet before the fire till they are quite dry and powdery. Then rub them through a coarse wire sieve into the dish on which they are to go to table. Do not disturb the heap of potatoes before it is served up, or the flakes will fall and it will flatten. This preparation looks well; but many think that it renders the potato insipid.

Wash, scrape and split them. Put them into a pot of boiling water; add a little salt, and boil them till quite tender, which will be in from two to three hours, according to their size. Dry them in a cloth when done, and pour melted butter over them in the dish. Serve them up with any sort of boiled meat, or with salt cod.

To Stew Beets 
Boil them first, and then scrape and slice them. Put them into a stew-pan with a piece of butter rolled in flour, some boiled onion and parsley chopped fine, and a little vinegar, salt and pepper. Set the pan on hot coals, and let the beets stew for a quarter of an hour.

Winter Squash or Cashaw
This is much finer than the summer squash. It is fit to eat in August, and, in a dry warm place, can keep well all winter. The colour is a very bright yellow. Pare it, take out the seeds, cut it in pieces, and stew it slowly till quite soft, in a very little water. Afterwards drain, squeeze, and press it well, and mash it with a very little butter, pepper and salt.

Cold Slaw
Take a nice fresh cabbage, wash and drain it, and cut off all the stalk. Shave down the head into very small slips, with a cabbage cutter, or a very sharp knife. It must be done evenly and nicely. Put it into a deep china dish, and prepare for it the following dressing. Melt in a sauce-pan a quarter of a pound of butter, with half a pint of water, a large table-spoonful of vinegar, a salt-spoon of salt, and a little cayenne. Give this a boil up, and pour it hot upon the cabbage.

A Temperance Plum Pudding
Take a pound of the best raisins, and cut them in half, after removing the seeds. Or use sultana raisins that have no seeds. Pick, and wash clean, a pound of currants, and dry them before the fire, spread out on a large flat dish. Cut into slips half a pound of citron. Then mix together, on the same dish, the currants, the raisins, and the citron, and dredge them thickly with flour to prevent their sinking or clodding in the pudding; tumbling them about with your hands till they are all over well covered with the flour. Mince very fine a pound of beef suet. Mix a pint of West India molasses with a pint of rich milk. Sift into a pan a pound of flour. In another pan beat eight eggs very light. Stir the beaten eggs, gradually, into the mixed molasses and milk; alternately with the flour, and half a pound of sugar, (which should previously be crushed smooth by rolling it with a rolling-pin,) a little at a time of each. Then add, by degrees, the fruit and the suet, a little of each alternately. Beat and stir the whole very hard, till all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Take a large clean square cloth of coarse strong linen, dip it in boiling water, shake it, spread it out in a large pan, and dredge it with flour to prevent the pudding from sticking to it when boiled. Then pour the pudding-mixture into the cloth; leave room for it to swell, and tie it firmly, plastering up the tying-place with a bit of coarse dough made of flour and water. Have ready a large pot full of water, and boiling hard. Put in the pudding, and boil it well from six to eight hours. Less than six will not be sufficient, and eight hours will not be too long. Turn it several times while boiling, and keep at hand a kettle of hot water to replenish the pot as it boils away. Do not take it up till immediately before it is wanted on the table. Then dip it for a moment into cold water, untie the cloth, and turn out the pudding. Serve it up with a sauce-boat of sweetened cream, seasoned with nutmeg; or with butter and sugar beaten together till light and white, and flavoured with lemon. What is left of the pudding may be tied up in a cloth and boiled again next day for an hour or more. It will be equally as nice as on the first day. This is a much better way of re-cooking than to slice and fry it.
This pudding may be made with sifted yellow Indian meal, instead of wheat flour.

Mince Pies
These pies are always made with covers, and should be eaten warm. If baked the day before, heat them on the stove or before the fire.
The Best Mince-Meat: Take a large fresh tongue, rub it with a mixture, in equal proportions, of salt, brown sugar, and powdered cloves. Cover it, and let it lie two days, or at least twenty-four hours. Then boil it two hours, and when it is cold, skin it, and mince it very fine. Chop also three pounds of beef suet, six pounds of sultana raisins, and six pounds of the best pippin apples that have been previously pared and cored. Add three pounds of currants, picked, washed and dried; two large table-spoonfuls of powdered cinnamon; the juice and grated rinds of four large lemons; one pound of sweet almonds, one ounce of bitter almonds, blanched and pounded in a mortar with half a pint of rose water; also four powdered nutmegs; two dozen beaten cloves; and a dozen blades of mace powdered. Add a pound of powdered white sugar, and a pound of citron cut into slips. Mix all together, and moisten it with a quart of Madeira, and a pint of brandy. Put it up closely in a stone jar with brandy paper; and when you take any out, add some more sugar and brandy.
Bake this mince-meat in puff paste.
You may reserve the citron to put in when you make the pies. Do not cut the slips too small, or the taste will be almost imperceptible.
Fine Puff Paste: To every pound of the best fresh butter allow a pound or a quart of superfine flour. Sift the flour into a deep pan, and then sift on a plate some additional flour to use for sprinkling and rolling. Wash the butter through two cold waters; squeezing out all the salt, and whatever milk may remain in it; and then make it up with your hands into a round lump, and put it in ice till you are ready to use it. Then divide the butter into four equal parts. Cut up one of the quarters into the pan of flour; and divide the remaining three quarters into six pieces,* cutting each quarter in half. Mix with a knife the flour and butter that is in the pan, adding by degrees a very little cold water till you have made it into a lump of stiff dough. Then sprinkle some flour on the paste-board, (you should have a marble slab,) take the dough from the pan by lifting it out with the knife, lay it on the board, and flouring your rolling-pin, roll out the paste into a large thin sheet. Then with the knife, put all over it, at equal distances, one of the six pieces of butter divided into small bits. Fold up the sheet of paste, flour it, roll it out again, and add in the same manner another of the portions of butter. Repeat this process till the butter is all in. Then fold it once more, lay it on a plate, and set it in a cool place till you are ready to use it. Then divide it into as many pieces as you want sheets of paste; roll out each sheet, and put them into buttered plates or patty-pans. In using the rolling-pin, observe always to roll from you. Bake the paste in a moderate oven, but rather quick than slow. No air must be admitted to it while baking.

Orange Tarts
Take six or seven fine large sweet oranges; roll them under your hand on a table to increase the juice, and then squeeze them through a strainer over half a pound or more of powdered loaf-sugar. Mix the orange-juice and the sugar thoroughly together. Use none of the peel. Break twelve eggs into a large shallow pan, and beat them till thick and smooth. Then stir in, gradually, the orange-juice and sugar. Have ready a sufficiency of the best puff-paste, roll it out thin, and line some patty-pans with it, having first buttered them inside. Then fill them with the orange-mixture, and set them immediately into a rather brisk oven. Bake the tarts a light brown; and when done, set them to cool. When quite cold, take them out of the patty-pans, put them on a large dish, and grate sugar over their tops.
Lemon tarts may be made in a similar manner, but they require double the quantity of sugar.

Cream Cocoa-Nut Pudding
Take two cocoa-nuts of large size. Break them up, and pare off the brown skin from the pieces. Then grate them very fine. Stir together a quarter of a pound of the best fresh butter, and a quarter of a pound of finely-powdered loafsugar, till perfectly light. Beat six eggs till very thick and smooth: afterwards mix them, gradually, with a pint of rich cream. Add this mixture, by degrees, to the beaten butter and sugar, in turn with the grated cocoanut; a little at a time of each, stirring very well as you proceed. Then give the whole a hard stirring. Put themixture into a deep white dish and bake it well. Send it to table cold, with loaf-sugar sifted over the top.
You may season the mixture by stirring in, at the last, a tea-spoonful of mixed nutmeg and cinnamon finely powdered. And you may add a table-spoonful of rose-brandy.
This pudding may be baked in puff-paste in two deep plates, with a broad border of paste round the edge, handsomely notched. Or it may be done without any paste beneath the mixture; but merely a paste border round the edge of the dish, which last is the better way. Paste at the bottom of these soft pudding-mixtures is usually tough and clammy, from the almost impossibility of getting it thoroughly done; and therefore it is best omitted, as is now generally the case. If there is no paste under it, the pudding should be baked in the dish in which it is to go to table. Unless the oven is so hot as to burn the pudding, no dish will be injured by baking. No pie or pudding should be sent to table in any thing inferior to white-ware.

Spanish Blanc-Mange
—Weigh half a pound of broken-up loaf-sugar of the best quality. On one of the pieces, rub off the yellow rind of a large lemon. Then powder all the sugar, and mix with it a pint of rich cream, the juice of the lemon, and half a pint (not less) of madeira or sherry. Stir the mixture very hard, till all the articles are thoroughly amalgamated. Then stir in, gradually, a second pint of cream.
Put into a small sauce-pan an ounce of the best isinglass, with one jill (or two common-sized wine-glass-fulls) of cold water. Set the pan over hot coals, and boil it till the isinglass is completely dissolved, and not the smallest lump remaining. Frequently, while boiling, stir it down to the bottom; taking care not to let it scorch. When the melted isinglass has become lukewarm, stir it, gradually, into the mixture of other ingredients; and then give the whole a hard stirring. Have ready two or three whiteware moulds, that have just been dipped and rinsed in cold water. Fill them with the mixture, and set them immediately on ice, and in about two hours (or perhaps more) the blanc-mange will be congealed. Do not remove it from the ice till perfectly firm. Dip the moulds for a moment in lukewarm water; then turn out the cream on glass dishes.
This will be found a delicious article for a dessert, or an evening party, provided the receipt is exactly followed. We highly recommend it, and know that if fairly tried, precisely according to the above directions, there can be no failure. It is superior to any of the usual preparations of blanc-mange. The wine (which must be of excellent quality) gives it a delicate and beautiful colour, and a fine flavour.

Apple Jelly
Take twenty large ripe juicy pippins. Pare, core, and chop them to pieces. Put them into a jar with the yellow rind of four lemons, pared thin and cut into little bits. Cover the jar closely, and set it into a pot of hot water. Keep the water boiling hard all round it till the apples are dissolved. Then strain them through a jelly-bag, and mix with the liquid the juice of the lemons. To each pint of the mixed juice allow a pound of loaf-sugar. Put them into a porcelain kettle, and when the sugar is melted, set it on the fire, and boil and skim it for about twenty minutes, or till it becomes a thick jelly. Put it into tumblers, and cover it with double tissue paper nicely fitted to the inside of the top.

Vanilla Ice Cream
Split up half a vanilla bean, and boil it slowly in half a pint of milk till all the flavour is drawn out, which you may know by tasting it. Then mix into the milk half a pound of powdered loaf-sugar, and stir it very hard into a quart of rich cream. Put it into the freezer, and proceed as directed in the receipt for Lemon Ice Cream; freezing it twice.
The said “Lemon Ice Cream”
HAVE ready two quarts of very rich thick cream, and take out a pint. Stir gradually into the pint, a pound of the best loaf-sugar powdered fine; and the grated rind and the juice of 

Make a force-meat of grated bread-crumbs, minced suet, sweet marjoram, grated lemon-peel, nutmeg, pepper, salt, and beaten yolk of egg. You may add some grated cold ham. Light some writing paper, and singe the hairs from the skin of the turkey. Reserve the neck, liver, and gizzard for the gravy. Stuff the craw of the turkey with the force-meat, of which there should be enough made to form into balls for frying, laying them round the turkey when it is dished Dredge it with flour, and roast it before a clear brisk fire, basting it with cold lard. Towards the last, set the turkey nearer to the fire, dredge it again very lightly with flour, and baste it with butter. It will require, according to its size, from two to three hours roasting.
Make the gravy of the giblets cut in pieces, seasoned, and stewed for two hours in a very little water; thicken it with a spoonful of browned flour, and stir into it the gravy from the dripping-pan, having first skimmed off the fat.
A turkey should be accompanied by ham or tongue. Serve up with it mushroom-sauce. Have stewed cranberries on the table to eat with it. Do not help any one to the legs, or drum-sticks as they are called.
Turkeys are sometimes stuffed entirely with sausage-meat. Small cakes of this meat should then be fried, and laid round it.
To bone a turkey, you must begin with a very sharp knife at the top of the wings, and scrape the flesh loose from the bone without dividing or cutting it to pieces. If done carefully and dexterously, the whole mass of flesh may be separated from the bone, so that you can take hold of the head and draw out the entire skeleton at once. A large quantity of force-meat having been prepared, stuff it hard into the turkey, restoring it by doing so to its natural form, filling out the body, breast, wings and legs, so as to resemble their original shape when the bones .were in. Roast or bake it; pouring a glass of port wine into The gravy. A boned turkey is frequently served up cold, covered with lumps of currant jelly; slices of which are laid round the dish.
    Any sort of poultry or game may be boned and stuffed in the same manner.
A cold turkey that has not been boned is sometimes sent to table larded all over the breast with slips of fat bacon, drawn through the flesh with a larding needle, and arranged in regular form.

            CRANBERRY SAUCE 
 Wash a quart of ripe cranberries, and put them into a pan with about a wine-glass of water. Stew them slowly, and stir them frequently, particularly after they begin to burst. They require a great deal of stewing, and should be like a marmalade when done. Just before you take them from the fire, stir in a pound of brown sugar.
When they are thoroughly done, put them into a deep dish, and set them away to get cold.
You may strain the pulp through a cullender or sieve into a mould, and when it is in a firm shape send it to table on a glass dish. Taste it when it is cold, and if not sweet enough, add more sugar. Cranberries require more sugar than any other fruit, except plums.
Cranberry sauce is eaten with roast turkey, roast fowls, and roast ducks.

Maee a force-meat in the usual manner, of grated breadcrumbs, chopped sweet herbs, butter, pepper, salt, and yolk of egg. Fill the bodies of the fowls with the stuffing, and tie a string firmly round them. Skewer the livers and gizzards to the sides, under the wings. Dredge them with flour, and put them into a pot with just enough of water to cook them; cover it closely, and put it over a moderate fire. As soon as the scum rises, take off the pot and skim it. Then cover it again, and boil it slowly half an hour. Afterwards diminish the fire, and let them stew slowly till quite tender. An hour altogether is generally sufficient to boil a pair of fowls, unless they are quite old. By doing them slowly (rather stewing than boiling) the skin will not break, and they will be whiter and more tender than if boiled fast.
Serve them up with egg-sauce in a boat.
Young chickens are better for being soaked two hours in skim milk, previous to boiling. You need not stuff them. Boil or stew them slowly in the same manner as large fowls. Three quarters of an hour will cook them.
Serve them up with parsley-sauce, and garnish with parsley.
Boiled fowls should be accompanied by ham or smoked.

            CELERY SAUCE.
—Take a large bunch of young celery. Wash and pare it very clean. Cut it into pieces, and boil it gently in a small quantity of water, till it is quite tender. Then add a little powdered mace and nutmeg, and a very little pepper and salt. Take a tolerably large piece of butter, roll it well in flour, and stir it into the sauce. Boil it up again, and it is ready to send to table.
You may make it with cream, thus:—Prepare and boil your celery as above, adding some mace, nutmeg, a piece of butter the size of a walnut, rolled in flour; and half a pint of cream. Boil all together.
Celery sauce is eaten with boiled poultry.
When celery is out of season, you may use celery seed, boiled in the water which you afterwards use for the melted butter, but strained out after boiling.

            TO BOIL A HAM.
Hams should always be soaked in water previous to boiling, to draw out a portion of the salt, and to make them tender. They will soften more easily if soaked in lukewarm water. If it is a new ham, and not very salt or hard, you need not put it in water till the evening before you intend to cook it. An older one will require twenty-four hours' soaking; and one that is very old and hard should be kept in soak two or three days, frequently changing the water, which must be soft. Soak it in a tub, and keep it well covered. When you take it out of the water to prepare it for boiling, scrape and trim it nicely, and pare off all the bad looking parts.
Early in the morning put it into a large pot or kettle with plenty of cold water. Place it over a slow fire that it may heat gradually; it should not come to a boil in less than an hour and a half, or two hours. When it boils, quicken the fire, and skim the pot carefully. Then simmer it gently four or five hours or more, according to its size. A ham weighing fifteen pounds should simmer five hours after it has come to a boil. Keep the pot well skimmed.
When it is done, take it up, carefully strip off the skin, and reserve it to cover the ham when it is put away cold. Rub the ham all over with some beaten egg, and strew on it fine bread-raspings shaken through the lid of a dredging box. Then place it in an oven to brown and crisp, or on a hot dish set over the pot before the fire. Cut some writing paper into a handsome fringe, and twist it round the shank-bone before you send the ham to table. Garnish the edge of the dish with little piles or spots of rasped crust of bread.
In carving a ham, begin not quite in the centre, but a little nearer to the hock. Cut the slices very thin. It is not only a most ungenteel practice to cut ham in thick slices, but it much impairs the flavour.
When you put it away after dinner, skewer on again the skin. This will make it keep the better.
Ham should always be accompanied by green vegetables, such as asparagus, peas, beans, spinach, cauliflower, brocoli, &c.
Bacon also should be Well soaked before it is cooked; and it should be boiled very slowly, and for a long time. The greens may be boiled with the meat. Take care to skim the pot carefully, and to drain and squeeze the greens very well before you send them to table. If there are yellow streaks in the lean of the bacon, it is rusty, and unfit to eat. 

These pies are always made with a standing crust. Put into a sauce-pan one pound of butter cut up, and a pint and a half of water; stir it while it is melting, and let it come to a boil. Then skim off whatever milk or impurity may rise to the top. Have ready four pounds of flour sifted into a pan. Make a hole in the middle of it, and pour in the melted butter while hot. Mix it with a spoon to a stiff paste, (adding the beaten yolks of three or four eggs,) and then knead it very well with your hands, on the pasteboard, keeping it dredged with flour till it ceases to be sticky. Then set it away to cool.
Split a large goose, and a fowl down the back, loosen the flesh all over with a sharp knife, and take out all the bones. Parboil a smoked tongue; peel it and cut off the root. Mix together a powdered nutmeg, a quarter of 'an ounce of powdered mace, a tea-spoonful of pepper, and a tea-spoonful of salt, and season with them the fowl and the goose.
Roll out the paste near an inch thick, and divide it into three pieces. Cut out two of them of an oval form for the top and bottom; and the other into a long straight piece for die sides or walls of the pie. Brush the paste all over with beaten white of egg, and set on the bottom the piece that is to form the wall, pinching the edges together, and cementing them with white of egg. The bottom piece must be large enough to turn up a little round the lower edge of the wall piece, to which it must be firmly joined all round. When you have the crust properly fixed, so as to be baked standing alone without a dish, put in first the goose, then the fowl, and then the tongue. Fill up what space is left with pieces of the flesh of pigeons, or of partridges, quails, or any game that is convenient. There must be no bones in the pie. You may add also some bits of ham, or some force-meat balls. Lastly, cover the other ingredients with half a pound of butter, and put on the top crust, which, of course, must be also of an oval form to correspond with the bottom. The lid must be placed not quite on the top edge of the wall, but an inch and a half below it. Close it very well, and ornament the sides and top with festoons and leaves cut out of paste. Notch the edges handsomely, and put a paste flower in the centre. Glaze the whole with beaten yolk of egg, and bind the pie all round with a double fold of white paper. Set it in a regular oven, and bake it four hours.
This is one way of making the celebrated goose pies that it is customary in England to send as presents at Christmas. They are eaten at luncheon, and if the weather is cold, and they are kept carefully covered up from the air, they will be good for two or three weeks; the standing crust assisting to preserve them.

Take off a thick paring from the outside, and boil the turnips gently for an hour and a half. Try them with a fork, and when quite tender, take them up, drain them on a sieve, and either send them to table whole with melted butter, or mash them in a cullender, (pressing and squeezing them well;) season with a little pepper and salt, and mix with them a very small quantity of butter. Setting in the sun after they are cooked, or on a part of the table upon which the Sun may happen to shine, will give to turnips a singularly unpleasant taste, and should therefore be avoided.
When turnips are very young, it is customary to serve them up with about two inches of the green top left on them.
If stewed with meat, they should be sliced or quartered."
Mutton, either boiled or roasted, should always be accompanied by turnips.

This is much finer than the summer squash. It is fit to eat in August, and, in a dry warm place, can be kept well al. winter. The colour is a very bright yellow. Pare it, take out the seeds, cut it in pieces, and stew it slowly till quite soft, in a very little water. Afterwards drain, squeeze, and press it well, and mash it with a very little butter, pepper and salt.

Having scraped the salsify roots, and washed them in cold water, parboil them. Then take them out, drain them, cut them into large pieces and fry them in butter.Salsify is frequently stewed slowly till quite tender, and then served up with melted butter. Or it may bo first boiled, then grated, and made into cakes to be fried in butter. Salsify must not be left exposed to the air, or it will turn blackish.

Take a nice fresh white cabbage, wash, and drain it, and cut off the stalk. Shave down the head evenly and nicely into very small shreds, with a cabbage-cutter, or a sharp knife. Put it into a deep china dish, and prepare for it the following dressing. Take a jills or a half-tumblerful of the best cider vinegar, and mix with it a quarter of a pound of fresh butter, divided into four bits, and rolled in flour; a small salt-spoon of salt, and the same quantity of cayenne. Stir all this well together, and boil it in a small saucepan. Have ready the yolks of three eggs well beaten. As soon as the mixture has come to a hard boil, take it off the fire, and stir in the beaten egg. Then pour it boiling hot over the shred cabbage, and mix it well, all through, with a spoon. Set it to cool, on ice or snow, or in the open air. It must be quite cold before it goes to table.

Wash the beets, but do not scrape or cut them while they are raw; for if a knife enters them before they are boiled they will lose their colour. Boil them from two to three hours, according to their size. When they are tender all through, take them up, and scrape off all the outside. If they are young beets they are best split down and cut into long pieces, seasoned with pepper, and sent to table with melted butter. Otherwise you may slice them thin, after they are quite cold, and pour vinegar over them.
TO STEW BEETS.—Boil them first, and then scrape and slice them. Put them into a stew-pan with a piece of butter rolled in flour, some boiled onion and parsley chopped fine, and a little vinegar, salt and pepper. Set the pan on hot coals, and let the beets stew for a quarter of an hour.

            MINCE PUDDING. 
—Take a pound and a half of mince-meat, and sift three-quarters of a pound of flour. Beat six eggs very light, and stir into them, alternately, the mince-meat and the flour, a little at a time of each. Stir the whole very hard. Have ready a pudding-cloth dipped into a pot of boiling water, then shook out, and dredged with flour. Spread out the cloth in a large pan, and pour into it the pudding. Tie it tightly, leaving room for the pudding to swell; and stop up the tying place with a small bit of dough made of flour and water. Put it immediately into a large pot of boiling water, having an old plate at the bottom to keep the pudding from scorching. Boil it steadily five or six hours, turning it in the pot every hour. As the water boils away, replenish it from a kettle of water that is kept boiling hard. Do not turn out the pudding till immediately before it is sent to table. Eat it with wine-sauce.
This pudding is excellent. The mince-meat is the same that is prepared for mince-pies.

Grate the yellow part of the rind, and squeeze the juice of two large, smooth, deep-coloured oranges. Stir together to a cream, half a pound of butter, and half a pound of powdered white sugar, and add a wine-glass of mixed wine and brandy Beat very light six eggs, and stir them gradually into the mixtare. Put it into a buttered dish with a broad edge, round which lay a border of puff-paste neatly notched. Bake it half an hour, and when cool grate white sugar over it.
Send it to table quite cold.

            PUMPKIN PUDDING 
Take a pint of pumpkin that has been stewed soft, and pressed through a cullender. Melt in half a pint of warm milk, a quarter of a pound of butter, and the same quantity of sugar, stirring them well together. If you can conveniently procure a pint of rich cream it will be better than the milk and butter. Beat eight eggs very light, and add them gradually to the other ingredients, alternately with the pumpkin. Then stir in a wine glass of rose water and a glass of wine mixed together; a large tea-spoonful of powdered mace and cinnamon mixed, and a grated nutmeg. Having stirred the whole very hard, put it into a buttered dish and bake it three quarters of an hour. Eat it cold.

Feast for Christmas Past

Today we are considering the Christmas Dinner in the mid 19th century. 

We moderns have romantic visions of sweet treats and comfort foods revealing our ethnic origins, but we re-enactors/living historians are far smarter than to let those notions stand as fact.

To explore what the Christmas Dinner consisted of in the 19th century, I consulted a favorite cook book that lists suggestions for meals along with recipes to create those suggestions.
Then, to glean how special folks of the mid 19th century would have viewed their meal, I compared the listing for Christmas or New Year’s Dinner with a listing for a “regular” dinner.

In the 19th century, folks of differing economic situations had very different experiences with food. I will give an idea of the types of families or situations included in each of the categories. Please understand these are my own interpretation of period descriptors based on reading how economic categories are described in these and other period sources. They are not concrete “rules.” Miss Leslie’s book, just like women’s magazines today, gives suggestions for ideal meals which may not reflect the situation of every family. It was written before The War, and as such, does not take in to account the need for substitutions.

We’ll start with the “plain dinner for small families.” This is comparable to dinners for “upper working class” or “lower middle class trying to conserve funds.” A look at suggestions for meals subsequent to Christmas Dinner include suggestions for left-overs, like ham pie or turkey salad.
Miss Leslie lists an every day dinner as consisting of: roast turkey with cranberry sauce, winter squash, turnips, salsify, potatoes, and custard pie.
Her Christmas Dinner includes: roast turkey with cranberry sauce, boiled ham, winter squash, turnips, salsify, potatoes, and mince pies.
So, they add an extra meat and a more elaborate pie.

Next is a listing for a “Nice Dinner for Families.” This is comparable to “middle class family” or an “upper class family who’s not entertaining.”
Her every day suggestions include: roast turkey with cranberry sauce, boiled ham, winter squash, turnips, salsify, potatoes, mince pudding, lemon custard
Her Christmas Dinner includes: roast turkey with cranberry sauce, boiled ham, goose pie, boiled fowls with celery sauce, winter squash, turnips, salsify, beets, potatoes, cold slaw, boiled mince pudding, baked lemon pudding, pumpkin pudding
Here, they’ve included two extra two meat dishes (or strictly speaking a made dish and a fowl), an extra vegetable, a relish/salad, and an extra pastry.

Finally, is a listing for “Company Dinner.” This is comparable to a wealthy family who is entertaining friends.
For every day, her list includes: Mulligatawny soup; fresh cod-fish fried; boiled ham; roast turkey with cranberry sauce; fowls stewed whole; oyster pie; potato snow; turnips; parsnips; winter-squash--Cocoa-nut pudding; lemon pudding; mince-pie; calves' feet jelly.
Her Christmas Dinner includes: Mock turtle soup; stewed rock-fish; roasted ham; roasted venison with currant-jelly; boiled turkey with oyster sauce; roast geese with apple sauce; French oyster pie; fricasseed chickens; potatoe snow; parsnips; beets; winter-squash; cold-slaw--Plum pudding; mince-pies; orange tarts; cream cocoa-nut pudding; Spanish blanc-mange; apple-jelly; vanilla ice-cream.
Here we have more elaborate versions of some dishes, such as boiled turkey with oyster sauce rather than a simple boiled turkey. We have more expensive ingredients, such as venison rather than turkey, or oranges rather than lemons. And we have extras, such as the roast geese with apple sauce, beets, plum pudding, Spanish blanc mange, and vanilla ice cream.

So, just as we moderns include a few special dishes, so did they. Look what those special dishes are: goose with apple sauce, goose pie, plum pudding, pumpkin pudding, mince pie... those romantic favorites from “A Christmas Carol” and paintings by Currier and Ives.

Happy eating on your happy holiday! J