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quince marmalade www.paulawalton.com

For me the sharp tang of quince marmalade captures the essence of a New England autumn.  I am fortunate enough to have multiple varieties of quince growing around my property.  We purchased our house on a late autumn day in 1990.  The following spring brought daily surprises as we identified new plants emerging from their deep winter sleep.  In May the enormous shrub, growing just outside our kitchen windows, burst into a glorious explosion of deep  pink blooms.  The reflected glow from the blossoms turned the kitchen into a rosy wonderland.  I loved it, and had absolutely no clue what type of bush it was!  I’d never seen anything like it in the Midwest.  After making inquiries of some of our neighbors, who are lifelong Connecticut residents, I learned that we owned a quince bush.

The deep reddish pink blossoms on the left are from the quince bush that grows outside our kitchen windows.

The deep reddish pink blossoms on the left are from the quince bush that grows outside our kitchen windows.

After doing a bit of research I learned that flowering quince bushes like ours are not true quince.  Flowering quince is a group of three hardy, deciduous shrubs: Chaenomeles cathayensis, Chaenomeles japonica, and Chaenomeles speciosa , in the family Rosaceae. Native to eastern Asia in Japan, China and Korea, flowering quince is related to the orchard quince (Cydonia oblonga), which is grown for its edible fruit, and the Chinese quince (Pseudocydonia sinensis). Flowering quince is often referred to as Japanese quince.

Almost harvset time.  Our quince are never beautiful, as we garden organically and are quite frankly negectful orchard keepes... I comfort myself with the thought that 200 years ago quince would not have been perfect and pest free.

Almost harvest time. Our quince are never beautiful, as we garden organically and are quite frankly neglectful orchard keepers… I comfort myself with the thought that 200 years ago quince would not have been perfect and pest free.

Somewhere along the way, my search for information about flowering quince turned into an obsession with true quince trees, their place in history and early 18th and 19th century receipts (recipes) for cooking quince.  In 1908, 14 varieties of common quince were being grown the United States, but by the start of the 21st century that number had shrunk to four or five cultivars that are still widely planted.  When I was searching for quince trees to plant, I wanted older varieties.  Initially I planted Orange and Van Deman trees, and later added  a few Smyrna.

The heavy fruit had bowed this branch of from our quince tree almost to the ground.

The heavy fruit had bowed this branch of from our quince tree almost to the ground.

The varying varieties of quince trees produce fruits with distinct flavors, shapes, and scents, much like different types of apple varieties (although no apple has the intoxicatingly lovely fragrance that ripe quince has).  Some years I keep the fruit pick separated by variety when I cook and other years I don’t.  I love them all and the rest of my family can’t really distinguish the difference between  Van Deman and Orange or Smyrna, although they can tell them apart from the fruits of the flowering quince bushes.

Some of my favorite things about quince are the fact that quince marmalade was actually the first kind of marmalade, the more familiar citrus marmalades came later in culinary history.  Another bit of trivia that I love is the fact that some people think that the apple Eve gave to Adam in the garden of Eden was actually a quince.  Aside from history, I would grow quince just so that I could have a bowlful of them scenting the air in my house every fall!  The fact that they have beautiful blossoms, produce amazing edible fruit, and are related to roses are all just bonuses 🙂

Here is my favorite receipt for Quince Marmalade which is taken from The Williamsburg Art of Cookery which may be purchased online here :

quince marmalade www.paulawalton.comQuince Marmalade

Boil the quinces in water until soft, let them cool, and rub all the pulp through a sieve: put two pounds of it to one of sugar, pound a little cochineal, sift it through fine muslin, and mix with the quince to give a colour; pick out the seeds, tie them in a muslin bag, and boil them with the marmalade; when it is a thick jelly, take out the seeds , and put in pots.

I usually pick the fruits from my quince bushes and make them into juice, by slowly simmering them with just enough water to cover, mashing them, then straining the juice.  Then I use the juice, along with thinly sliced quince from my trees to make the marmalade.  This year I read a recipe that called for grating the quince, instead of slicing it.  It worked very well and went much faster, as you do not need to peel the quince before grating.

Slowly cooked quince usually turns a lovely pinkish, red color on it’s own.  If is doesn’t you can add a drop of food coloring, rather than the cochineal.

Quinces are very high in pectin, so you usually do not need to add any, other than your quince seeds in a muslin bag :), but if you are worried about your marmalade setting up, the new Ball brand powdered pectin is very easy, flexible and forgiving to use.  It also lets you easily adjust for varying size batches of marmalade, jam and jelly.

One of the best  simple pleasures on a cool, crisp fall morning is warm toast, made over an open flame.  I especially love making toast with the toasting fork that my son, Blair, made for me <3

One of the best simple pleasures on a cool, crisp fall morning is warm toast, made over an open flame. I especially love making toast with the toasting fork that my son, Blair, made for me ❤

My son,Colin and daughter-in-law, JungHwa brought me quince tea from South Korea.  You could make a similar tea by infusing a spoonful of quince marmalade and a dab of honey in hot water.

My son,Colin and daughter-in-law, JungHwa brought me quince tea from South Korea. You could make a similar tea by infusing a spoonful of quince marmalade and a dab of honey in hot water.

 

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
“O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, you are, you are,
What a beautiful Pussy you are.”
Pussy said to the Owl “You elegant fowl,
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?”
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose, his nose, his nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.
“Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?”
Said the Piggy, “I will”
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, the moon, the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

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Yeast Raised Gingerbread paulawalton.com

Instead of cookies, cakes or candies, this year I am baking bread to give for Valentine’s presents.  There is nothing cozier than freshly baked bread to warm a winters day.pear tree in winter paulawalton.com

I wanted to bake sweet yeast breads redolent of 18th century flavors, something delicious that would evoke, but not copy the past.  I began my baking experiments with dark chocolate and coffee, both important beverages in 18th century England and her American colonies.

Chocolate Yeast Bread paulawalton.comChocolate Yeast Bread

This dark dense chocolate bread makes a wonderfully indulgent breakfast.  Loaves keep well at room temperature for several weeks during the winter, or may be frozen.  If by some miracle you have any left long enough for it to get a bit dried out, it makes an amazing bread pudding!

6 cups flour

2 cups warm brewed coffee

1 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa

1 cup Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate chips

3 Tbsp. active dry yeast

1/2 cup melted butter

Measure all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Add warm (110-115 degrees) coffee and cooled melted butter.  Mix by hand with a large wooden spoon or use an electric mixer with a dough hook.  When your dough is completely mixed, shiny and smooth, stir in chocolate chips.  Turn out into an oiled bowl, lightly oil top of dough.  Cover with a clean cloth and set in a warm spot to rise until doubled.  heart shaped chocolate yeast bread paulawalton.comPunch down, and shape into heart shaped loaves on parchment or silpat covered baking sheets.  Chocolate yeast bread in terra cotta heart pans paulawalton.comAlternately shape into smooth loaves and put in heart shaped terra cotta bread pans.  Cover loaves and keep warm to rise.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or build a brisk fire and ready reflector oven or dutch oven.

Cross my heart!

Cross my heart!

Slash tops of loaves in an X using a sharp knife.  Bake for 20- 40 minutes depending on the size of your loaves, being careful not to burn.

Chocolate and peanut butter, a classic combination...

Chocolate and peanut butter, a classic combination…

Delicious with whipped strawberry cream cheese.

Delicious with whipped strawberry cream cheese.

Red currant jam, alone or mixed with cream cheese compliment the deep rich chocolate.

Homemade red currant jam, alone or mixed with cream cheese compliments the deep rich chocolate.

After playing with chocolate I turned my hand to yeast raised gingerbread.  I had originally planned to stud my loaves with handfuls of crystallized ginger, but my husband found out that I was making gingerbread and immediately asked me not to put “those chunks” in it…  He knows me too well… I hadn’t even taken the ginger out of the pantry yet!

This recipe makes a soft moist bread,  not overly sweet, with a bite of ginger.  It can be baked into rolls or loaves and would make an outstanding base for cinnamon rolls.

Yeast Gingerbread Hearts paulawalton.comYeast Gingerbread

6 cups flour

2 Tbsp. yeast

1 Tbsp. baking powder

3 Tbsp. ground ginger

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup molasses

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups warm Earl Grey tea (I used Earl Grey Extra from Simpson and Vail)

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. orange oil

2 Tbsp. rum

Measure all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  Add warm (110-115 degrees) tea and cooled melted butter, molasses, orange oil and rum.  Mix by hand with a large wooden spoon or use an electric mixer with a dough hook.  The dough will be soft and slightly sticky.

Turn out into an oiled bowl, lightly oil top of dough.  Cover with a clean cloth and set in a warm spot to rise until doubled.

Heart shaped yeast gingerbread paulawalton.comPunch down, and shape into heart shaped loaves on parchment or silpat covered baking sheets.  Or shape into rounded balls and put in a heart shaped cast iron muffin pan. Cover loaves and keep warm to rise.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or build a brisk fire and ready reflector oven or dutch oven.

Slash tops of loaves in an X using a sharp knife.  Bake rolls for 15 – 20 minutes. Bake bread for 20- 40 minutes depending on the size of your loaves, being careful not to burn.

Serve with butter and ginger spread or apple butter.

Serve with butter and ginger spread or apple butter.

An Unexpected Yeast Bread…

Mace Shortbread CookiesMace Shortbread

3 cups flour

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1-1/2 cups butter

1/2 tsp. yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 tsp. mace

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

*Proof yeast in warm water for 5 minutes.  Measure flour, powdered sugar, mace and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl.  Add slightly softened butter and mix until all of the butter is worked into the dry ingredients.  Pour proofed yeast/water into bowl and beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Cover bowl with a clean dry cloth and set in a warm place for 1 hour, then chill for 30 minutes.

Roll dough out on a well floured surface to a scant 1/4 inch thickness and cut out with heart shaped cookie cutters.  Emboss the cookies by stamping them with new, washed rubber stamps that have been dusted with flour.   If desired, lightly brush ground nutmeg into the stamped designs before baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 – 10 minutes, until just starting to very lightly brown at the edges.  Cool completely before removing from cookie sheets.

* 18th century shortbread receipts call for the addition of barm (yeast).  I followed this tradition when I developed this recipe.  I love mace and decided to add it, along with nutmeg to the cookies (both spices are part of the seeds of the nutmeg tree).

To see more Mace Shortbread Cookie photos visit my Izannah Walker Journal.

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Patty pan squash, pink eyed purple podded peas, and heirloom tomatoes growing in my garden.

Patty pan squash, pink eyed purple podded peas, and heirloom tomatoes growing in my garden.

Every year I grow an abundance of summer squash in my gardens.  One of my favorites is patty pan squash.  The doll making retreat that I held last fall was in late September, when my squash were still plentiful, but my tomatoes and eggplants were at the end of their seasons.  You can change the proportions of the vegetables in this recipe to fit what you have available.  Ratatouille normally has quite a few tomatoes in it.IMG_2049

Ratatouille

3 large Vidalia onions

4 assorted heirloom tomatoes

2 small eggplants

6 medium patty pan squash

8 ounces shredded Parmesan cheese

6 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

sea salt

Wash the vegetables and cut them into 1 inch cubes.  Put the vegetables  into a crock pot with a removable stoneware insert.  Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt to taste.  Place the stoneware insert in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours.  Remove from oven and refrigerate overnight.  The next day, put the insert into the crock pot.  Add Parmesan cheese and the basil, stir lightly to mix.  Cook in the crock pot on high for 4 hours.

IMG_2057

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Wishing you all the very best possible New Year and every happiness in 2012!

The perfect finish to 2011.  Sitting front of a cozy fire that is burning merrily in our stone lined cooking hearth; sipping champagne from my grandmother’s champagne shells, nibbling on lavender vanilla sugar cookies…

Lavender Vanilla Sugar Cookies

4 cups flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 pound butter

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp ground vanilla beans

1 Tbsp dried lavender

for decoration:

Cake Mate Cupcake Gems in Glitter Gold and Shimmer Silver (or try pearl sugar)

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs.  Stir in flour, salt, baking powder, ground vanilla beans and lavender.  Chill.  Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on floured surface.  Cut with desired cookie cutters (preferably antique 🙂 ) Place on baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper.  Sprinkle with silver or gold sugar.  Bake in a pre-heated 325 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Cookies should not brown, but stay very pale around the edges.

Lavender Vanilla Sugar Cookies

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Two receipts to mark the occasion of George Washington’s 279th birthday.

George and Martha’s Favorite Mince Meat Pie

5 pounds beef, ground

1 pound beef suet, ground

2 pounds raisins

2 pounds currants

1 tablespoon cloves

2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon ginger

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon pepper

4 cups sugar

1 lemon, juice and rind

1/2 poud citron peel

8 cups apples, chopped fine

Cook the ground beef and after it cools, add all of the other ingredients.  Blend thoroughly and  set aside.

Boil in a large saucepan:

1 quart apple cider

1 quart brandy

2 tablespoons butter

Pour over the other ingredients.  When cool, pack in jars, or cover the bowl well and store in a cool dry place.  Allow to stand for at least 24 hours before using to make pies.  Will keep up to 6 months if  canned in sealed canning jars.

Makes 8 – 12 pies.

George Washington had a definite weakness for mince meat pies.  Martha found it well worthwhile to make up a large batch, for if planned wisely, it only had to be undertaken once each winter.  She recommended not eating these pies at night before going to bed, if the eater valued his slumber.

Receipt from The Early American Cookbook Authentic Favorites for the Modern Kitchen by Dr. Kristie Lynn & Robert W. Pelton.

Washington Cake

Beat together 1-1/2 pounds of sugar, and three quarters of a pound of butter; add 4 eggs well beaten, half pint of sour milk, and 1 teaspoon of saleratus*, dissolved in a little hot water.  Stir in gradually 1- 3/4 pounds of flour, 1 wine glassful of wine or brandy, and 1 nutmeg, grated.  Beat all well together.  This will make two round cakes.  It should be baked in a quick oven, and will take from 15 to 30 minutes, according to the thickness of the cakes.

*use baking soda

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Scottish Shortbread

1 pound butter

1 cup sugar

4 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar.  Add flour a little at a time until it makes a stiff dough.  Pat into a large cookie sheet or 9 x 13 pan, or roll and cut out with tin cookie cutters.  Bake in a slow oven (300 degrees) for 30 minutes or till golden.  If you baked one large sheet, cut it into squares as soon as you remove it from the oven and cool in the pan.

Last Christmas Christine Crocker posted a wonderful idea for shortbread. It’s taken me over a year, but I finally gave it a try. 🙂 Drop in and read Christine’s post, it’s sure to start you on a mad hunt for pressed glass!

Cobblestones

(Fanny Pierson Crane, Her Receipts, 1796, adaptation)

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1- 1/2 cups sifted flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup cracked chocolate (pieces)

Cream together butter and sugar, add egg and vanilla and stir well.  Mix dry ingredients together and stir into creamed mixture. Fold in chocolate.  Drop from a heaping tablespoon onto a greased cookie sheet 3 inches apart.  Bake in a medium hot oven for 12-15 minutes.  (for the cookies shown in the photo I substituted cinnamon chips for the cracked chocolate pieces)

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Snow Ice Cream

One of my fondest childhood memories is making snow ice cream with my mother.   On snowy winter days she would bundle us up and send us outside to play.  Before we came inside to warm-up, Mom would hand us a pot to scoop full of clean snow.

This is a wool glove that I wore as a toddler. It’s mate was lost on an outing when my own children were still tiny enough to wear the gloves.

After we sere stripped of our wet, frozen mittens, boots and scarves, we would gather in the kitchen to turn snow into ice cream.

My mother’s favorite flavor of ice cream was vanilla, which is what we usually made.  Although you can certainly make any flavor that you prefer.  When my brother was able to talk my mom into making chocolate instead of vanilla, she flavored the milk with PDQ (do you remember that?) and then poured it into the snow.  The directions are really so simple that I hesitate to even call it a recipe.

Snow Ice Cream flavored with ground vanilla beans, served in an early 19th century pink luster-wear bowl. The tiny spoon is a silver-plated child’s spoon from the late 1800’s.

Snow Ice Cream

fresh clean snow

milk

sugar

vanilla or other flavoring

Put in as much milk as you would like to achieve the consistency that you prefer.  The sugar and vanilla are added to suit your taste.  Stir well and eat immediately.

On the next snowy day take a few  moments to try this recipe and make a lasting memory of your own.

Save

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This is an ongoing list of  Open Hearth Cookbooks and magazines that I particularly like.  Please feel free to comment if you have a great resource to add to the list.  I just love “new” (to me) cookbooks! 🙂

The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion: Being a Collection of upwards of Five Hundred of the most Ancient & Approv’d Recipes in Virginia Cookery, published by Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Early American Cookbook – Authentic Favorites for the Modern Kitchen by Dr. Kristie Lynn and Robert W. Pelton.

The Virginia Housewife Or, Methodical Cook – A Facsimile of an Authentic Early American Cookbook by Mary Randolph.

Miss Leslie’s Directions for Cookery – An Unabridged Reprint of the 1851 Classic by Eliza Leslie.

The Kentucky Housewife by Mrs. Lettice Bryan, originally published in 1839.

Boston Cooking School Cook Book a Reprint of the 1884 Classic by Mrs. D. A. Lincoln.

Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt-Book by Catharine E. Beecher.

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One of my favorite cookbooks is The Williamsburg Art of Cookery or Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion: Being a Collection of upwards of Five Hundred of the most Ancient & Approv’d Recipes in Virginia Cookery, published by Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The book is filled with a wonderful collection of receipts, and out of all of them the one that’s  been the overwhelming favorite of everyone that I’ve served it to is Tea Punch.

Tea Punch

To three cups of strong green Tea put the Rind of six Lemons, pared very thin, one and one half Pounds of Sugar, Juice of six Lemons.  Stir together a few Minutes, then strain, and lastly add one Quart of good Rum.  Fill the Glasses with crushed Ice when used.  It will keep bottled.  Old Williamsburg Recipe

Make sure to serve this punch in very small glasses!  It is very smooth and quite deceptively potent.

If you would like to order a copy of this cookbook, you can shop online at Colonial Williamsburg’s  website.

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Have you ever run across terms that you are unfamiliar with when reading through an old receipt book?  Let’s start with the word receipt, do you know that 200 years ago receipt meant the same thing that recipe does today?

In amongst my cookbooks, I keep a bedraggled piece of paper entitled An Eighteenth Century Cooking Glossary.   I’ve had this particular reference for such a long time that I no longer remember exactly where I acquired it or who compiled it.

Since I find it particularly helpful, I thought I’d post it here for you to use too.  Plus let’s be honest,  if I ever lose my copy, now I’ll be able to find it again by checking the blog archives! 🙂

Measurements:

1 pound butter = 2 cups

1 pound flour = 4 cups

1 pound salt = 2 cups

1 pound sugar = 2 cups

1 pound cornmeal = 3 cups

1 pound milk = 2 cups

1 ounce butter = 2 tablespoons

1 ounce flour = 4 tablespoons

1 ounce baking soda = 2 tablespoons

1 ounce of any liquid = 2 tablespoons

General Rules:

1 cup liquid to 1 cup flour for pourable batters

1 cup liquid to 2 cups flour for drop batters

1 cup liquid to 3 cups flour for dough batters

1/8 teaspoon salt to each cup flour

1 tablespoon (or less) sugar to each cup flour – obviously there are a lot of exceptions to this rule! 🙂

Additional Terms and Measurements:

butter the size of an egg = 1/4 cup

butter the size of a walnut = 2 tablespoons

coffee cup = 1 measuring cup

dash = 1/8 teaspoon

1 kitchen spoon = 6 tablespoons

1 sugar spoon = 1 tablespoon

1 dessert spoon = 1 – 1/2 teaspoons

1 dram = 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon

1 gill = 1/2 cup

1 lump of butter = 2 tablespoons

1 pinch = 1/8 teaspoon

pint = 2 cups

pound of eggs = 8 or 9 large – Colonial eggs were small, so cookbooks of the period may suggest as many as 10 – 12 per pound

pound of flour = 3 to 4 cups – this varies greatly with some sources specifying as much as 4 – 1/2 cups

pound of sugar = 2 to 2- 1/2 cups

quart = 2 pints or 4 cups

scruple = 1/24 ounce or about 1/4 teaspoon

teacup = 1/2 to 3/4 cup

tin cup = 1 measuring cup

tumblerful = 2 cups

wineglass = 1/2 gill or 1/4 cup

Glossary of Terms:

Cree – To boil any of a variety of grains into porridge

Flummery – Jellied dessert often flavored with rose water or orange-flower water.

Forcemeat – Chopped meat seasoned with herbs and used for stuffing and meatballs.

Hoop (or Garth) – A deep ring used as a mold  for large cakes; first made of wood and later made of iron.

Isinglass – A gelatin made from the air bladder of a sturgeon and dried into sheets; also used as a clarifying agent.

Lively Emptings – The yeast sediment in the bottom of a beer barrel, used in place of beaten eggs in some recipes.

Pearl Ash – A bicarbonate of potash used as the alkaline in combination with sour milk for leavening.

Sack – White wine originally imported to England from Southern Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Salteratus – A more refined bicarbonate of potash that replaced pearl ash as a leavening agent.  Today equal amounts f baking soda may be substituted for saleratus.

Searce (or Search) – To sieve, necessary to remove lumps from pounded loaf sugar and impurities (yuck!!! think about it :() from flour.


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