A PUDDING

A Crookneck, or Winter Squash Pudding

Amelia Simmons 1796

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Durning the weekend we had a great fire going and I decided to bake something. I had some small pumpkins, plus more frozen, and apples. When I think of pumpkins I think of Amelia Simmons. She was the first American to write a cookbook for Americans and with foods that were uniquely American.

Looking through the book I found the receipt for “A Crookneck, or Winter Squash Pudding,” at the end of the narrative on how to prepare and bake it she says – “The above receipt is a good receipt for Pumpkins, Potatoes or Yams, adding more moistening or milk and rose water, and to the two latter a few black or Lifbon currants, or dry whortleberries fcattered in, will make it better.” It is a very easy receipt and look like a yummy one too. So, with that settled, I gathered all the things I would need.

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First I needed to prepare the pumpkin and apples. I pared and removed the seed and boiled them until just tender. While they boiled, I whisked together eggs and cream and added a drop or two of rose water. Then I added a tablespoon of white wine, and a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg. I whisked them together. In went a tablespoon of flour, and three tablespoons of breadcrumbs to help make the batter a thicker consistancy. The apples and punpkins were now soft, and, after draining them, I put them in a bowl with the unfrozen pumpkin I had and mashed it all together.

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The cream mixture went in next and was stirred about and currants added.

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With everything well mixed, it was put into a greased redware baker and placed in a warm bake kettle by the fire.

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I put coals under and on top of the kettle and I turned it a half turn, every 15 minutes. It took about 45 minutes until a knife placed in the pudding came out clean. The pudding was ready to eat. While it was still warm I served it up. I liked the hint of rose water and it had just the right amount of spices. Surprising to me was that it was nothing like an interior of a pumpkin pie. The texture was different, the addition of the flour and bread crumbs almost make it like a cake. Yet it was soft and so tasty.

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I have missed the opportunity to share the hearth with others and look forward to the Winter/Spring workshops. This Saturday I had a special group of docents from the Moffatt Ladd House coming to cook. This museum is my stomping ground in the off season of hearth cooking and I always look forward to seeing my co-workers and friends. They are all new to cooking on the hearth, so it was a beginner’s class, yet with a few challenges thrown in to keep them on their toes, more on the MLH workshop to come.

The Winter/Spring Workshops are filling up so, if you’re interested, let me know so I can save you a spot.

Sandie

“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”   Albert Camus

 

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About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

One thought on “A PUDDING

  1. Ah warm pudding by your wonderful fireplace. How good is that. Great photo’s. Lovely setting.

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