HISTORIC DEERFIELD COOKS
After a year of going back and forth with venues and dates and who was available, Claire Carlson the Education Program Coordinator of Historic Deerfield set the day. On Monday 28 of March, Claire and the Deerfield hearth cooks arrived at my door. It was rainy cool and perfect for a day of hearth cooking
Claire had asked specificity for several things. To make Lumber Pie and show everyone how to make a receipt that had many parts to it. They wanted to stretch their creative minds. So out came the coffin forms and all the stations were set up and ready for them when they arrived.
First to arrive were Cynitha, Richard and Beth. They started right in. I needed the marrow bones to be taking care of and the lumber pie and we will be needing to start on the Naples Biscuits for our orange fool.
Ellen made Robert Smiths, Paste -Royal, this pastry would go with the Flampoynets. Laura was done with the meat filling and made a pie crust that we used later for the coffin tops. Claire and Melinda made the filling for a fish coffin.
Richard liked the nutmeg grater and added the ground nutmeg into the forced meat. Cynitha took the force meat and made meat balls with a small nugget of marrow in the center. Then that was wrapped in caul and fried in sweet oil.
Beth put the Naples Biscuits in the bake kettle and when they were done they sat on the edge of the bake oven to dry out for her orange fool. I took them off when they were ready.
While Claire cut the salmon Melinda peels the shrimp. Claire is not fond of shell fish and Melinda has no problem, so they were a great team.
Many helped fry the small points and drain them for use later.
With all the fillings made and all the ingredients ready I talked the group thru the process of making the coffin dough.
Everyone measured out their flour then one by one poured in the melted lard and butter. This was stirred with a spoon and then when cool enough, made into a ball and placed on the work surface.
We made three dough’s and Beth prepared the egg wash for the coffins, then the kneading began.
Ten minutes not a second less.
Then the dough gets wrapped in linen and sits for ten minutes.
Now the fun starts. The dough is flattened, both the form and dough get’s lots of flour. Then the shaping begins.
Then it was dotted with butter and slices of lemons put over it all. Using the Laura’s pie dough a top was cut out and pinched on with the egg wash.
Melinda smiles at the well decorated fish. Many hands helped putting scales on the top and an eye to. She waits to put it in the bake oven right in front of the Lumber Pie, The traps went into the bake kettle.
Beth and Clair read the receipt from Hannah Glass, Orange Pudding, Another Way. Orange pudding was so popular that she has four receipts for it. The centers needed to be taken out of the oranges and Melinda starts on it.
They need to be boiled to remove some of the bitterness from the peel.
Beth made a filling and remarked that it is just like a bread pudding. And yes that is what it is, only you use Naples biscuits instead of bread. Then you stuff the hollow oranges and replace the top. They go into a linen sack and get tied very tightly.
Time to take out the coffins, the fish looks ready to swim away with its scales, and the Lumber pie stood tall still.
The Flampoyntes were taken out of the bake kettle and the points put in by Cynthia. The center trap one was made up of left over lumber pie filling.
Half way through the day Richard mentions he’s a vegetarian —- most of the time. So I had him make the compound salad. He used dandelion greens and field greed, daicon radish, carrots, a golden beet, that someone cooked, hard boiled eggs and made a dressing with the left over oranges juice and sweet oil. On the side was a bowl of anchovies left over from the fish coffin. You don’t get better than this at a restaurant. He did a lovely presentation.
Claire and Cynthia made leers for their coffins and some were poured in and the coffin shaken. The rest was served on the side.
The traps were cut in half and served.
What a wonderful group of hearth cooks I had a great time working with them. Cynthia said she was going home with three new ideas and Richard was very interested in the way Allan did the wood. I do hope the others took something home also.
“Secrets, especially with cooking, are best shared so that the cuisine lives on.”
We had a fabulous time at the coffin workshop. You are a skilled teacher, gracious host, and diligent task master! Some of our hearth cooks still see themselves as novices, even with almost five years hearth cooking experience. This workshop was JUST what they needed — to experience the multi-step process of preparing a receipt with a lot of steps, ingredients, and techniques to think about. I think their minds were blown (in a good way!)