In my last (rather lengthy) post, I shared a recipe for a large standing crust from Mrs. Frazer’s 1791 cookbook, “The Practice of Cookery.” Rather than leave you standing there with an empty pie shell, I thought it would be good to fill it with a sampling of 18th-century recipes that call for just such a pastry.
Confession: I’ve made only the vegetable pie, but I find the other recipes to be rather enticing. The notes I’ve included beneath each recipe are based on previous experiences.
1. From Sarah Martin’s 1795 cookbook, “The New Experienced English Housekeeper“:
Note: Contrary to this recipe, in that previous post I mentioned as well as in our video on making a large standing crust, we followed the advice of another period cookbook by baking the lid separately on the back of a tin plate. Also, a fricassee sauce is usually made by first sauteing meat (the word finds its origins in the meanings “to cut” and “to fry”). Our version in the video above is meatless.
2. From the 1774 version of Hannah Glasse’s book, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy“:
Notes: “Olives” in this and other such recipes are rolled-up pieces of meat. “Collops” are thinly sliced steaks or medallions of meat. The recipe suggests tenderizing the collops by beating them with the back of a knife blade.
Also, if you plan to use suet, be sure it is really suet (kidney fat) and not just hard muscle fat. Both types of fat are called suet nowadays, but they are very different — a difference that was apparently understood in the 18th century. Muscle fat will impart a very “beefy” flavor to the dish, whereas, kidney fat has very little flavor (as long as it’s fresh). Muscle fat will also produce a very greasy-textured pie, whereas kidney fat will result in a more moist and solid (when allowed to cool) texture. Ask your butcher specifically for kidney fat. If you can’t find true suet at your butcher’s shop, you can purchase processed suet on line.
There is a series of posts on SavoringThePast.net that cover the topic of suet. We also have a video on suet on our YouTube channel.
Finally, orange-blossom water can often be found in middle-eastern food marts, or it can be purchased on-line.
3. From the 1796 version of Susannah Carter’s “The Frugal Housewife“:
Note: The aforementioned comments on suet apply here as well. Also, beef can be substituted for venison.
4. From the 1800 printing of Hannah Glasse’s, “The Complete Confectioner“:
Note: The exact size of a penny loaf of bread is indeterminable. It varied according to the current market price of wheat as well as the type of flour being used. I suggest starting with any 12 to 16-ounce loaf. Now I realize that is quite a range, but if you think that’s something, one 18th-century “Table of Assize for White Bread” regulated the size of a 2-penny loaf, depending on the current price of wheat, from between 1-pound, 15 ounces, to a mere 9-ounces.
In addition, while the recipe isn’t this specific, I also suggest using only the crumb of the bread and not the crust. Grating or “chipping” (cutting) the crust off a loaf of bread before using it as an ingredient was a very common practice.
If you try any of these recipes, please let us know by leaving a comment!