The third and last workshop was a busy one with many dishes to prepare. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I’m sure these photos of our day illustrate just that.
Everyone was eager to start, the receipts that needed to be done first were passed around and things really got cooking.
We needed to have hard-boiled eggs and boiled beets first thing. In this picture you can see how many men it takes to boil two eggs and how many women it takes to boil beets.
Jane began on the Pompion pye receipt from Hannah Wolley. This was a compound receipt. First you needed to make a Froise (pancake) of pumpkin, spices, eggs and flour. Kate picked the pumpkin rolls and started right in.
We used rehydrated pumpkin leather. I make this every year and have it on hand for soup and other receipts.
David picked the butter. Not difficult to make. More time consuming, however, I added a twist: he would be making Fairy Butter with it.
Kate worked hard kneading the dough and it got an astonishing rise from her efforts.
She divided the dough and rolled them into round balls then cut the edges eight times. Then she stuck a wooden spoon handle into the middle. These went off to rise again.
John started in on Hannah Glass’s receipt for “To Stuff a Chine of Pork.” He made a stuffing, rolled it up and we covered it with a caul.
It takes a few hands to place the caul on the pork loin and then tie it so it would not unroll.
Dave creamed the eggs, orange flower water and sugar into a paste, then he added it to his fresh churned butter to finish our Fairy Butter. This he put in a crock for later. Then he helped John skewer the roast on the spit in the tin oven.
Kris shredded the pumpkin for the pye to add to Jane’s mixture. Then they began to fry the Froise.
Taking turns Jane stepped in and made a few. Then she tested one to make sure they really did taste good. Answer was yes.
While Kate waited for the second rise on her rolls, she and John made Hannah Glasses’s Gooseberry Fool with a twist also, we added rhubarb from my garden. John first took the gooseberries and boiled them up until the popped. I picked them at the Moffatt Ladd House Museum early in the season and froze them. When they were done, he put them through a strainer to get all the seeds and pulp out. Next he cut the rhubarb and put it in the pot to which Kate added the honey, and vanilla and kept it stirred.
The next part of the Pompion Pye receipt called for a caudle of eggs, cream and brandy. There was also a filling of apples and currants. The pye would be placed in a pye dough made by our expert pastry creator, Susan.
So the layering began, the pumpkin Froise, then the apples and caudle until it was full.
Susan cut mushrooms for the filling of George Dalirumple” To Bake or Fry Mushroom in Paste”
Kris topped the pye with a crust and decorated it. Susan waits for Allan to finish cleaning out the oven so she can add the chopped green onions and shallots to the mushrooms she had cooking on the hearth.
Dave washed all the greens for the Soup Meager, a Hannah Glass receipt. He cut celery and parsley and added it to the greens . Next he put butter in the caldron, added some onions to sauté, then put all the greens in with a bit of flour. After 10 minutes or so he added broth and stirred all very well. Lastly, he added the bread crumbs and a mixture of vinegar and egg yolks slowly.
Kris took coals out of the fire to put under the bake kettle for her pye. She wondered how women could stand this heat every day. She headed out to the porch for a minute to cool down. Every 15 minutes the pye was turned and checked on.
With the sauce and custard ready, Kate and John had some fun assembling the Fool. Kate had crushed ginger cookies in the mortar and pestle and as John filled the glasses she sprinkled the ginger dust over it.
Susan’s Puff Paste was rolled out and she cut them in triangles for the mushrooms in paste.
A spoon full of the mushroom and a dab of water on the edges and they were folded over ready for the bake oven.
After the golden beets had cooled, Jane peeled them and cut them into fat slices. It called for a clove of garlic. We had a discussion of how big that might be. We decided it was TO YOUR LIKING, a phrase we often see in old receipt. With parsley and chives from my garden some butter and seasoning, she made a sauce in the pan. When it was warm she added the beets, thoroughly coating them. This is a receipt from 1746 by Menon.
Everything was coming together. The roast was done, and John masterfully carved it
The Pumpkin Rolls received their sliced pecans, and the mushrooms in paste were hot out of the oven. A triumph of bakery skills.
David plated his soup meager and John his roast of pork loin. Both were delicious
The beets looked lovely with their lemon garnish, and had a unique taste. The pye cooked perfectly and I can’t stress this enough, make this pye – it was wonderful.
Allan took the picture then joined us as we sat down to a hearty meal which also included apple sauce and a gravy for the meat. In-between bites there was a lively discussion on many topic both modern and 18th century. I’ve never had a group at a workshop that was not compatible. I think like minds and the discovery of just how complicated it was to put a meal together back then, helps brings everyone together. This year has been an amazing journey for me, working alongside so many wonder and interesting people. I love the feedback I get and the help and suggestions from some very talented 18th century cooks. Their thoughtful share of information is a true gift.
Afterward, there is always the clean-up. The men took over at the sink while we women folk cleared the table and put clean things away. And look, they’re smiling.
I’ll be posting the next round of workshops in January 2016. One will include COFFINS as I have been asked so often to do it again.
I hope your Thanksgiving feast was spent with family and friends and your Christmas will be Safe and Merry.
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” – James Beard