SEVILLE ORANGES

The receipt, “An Orange Pudding Another Way,” from Elizabeth Moxon’s English Housewifry, 1764, cookery book intrigued me. I love to make puddings and this seemed special, as she uses Seville oranges. These oranges are very bitter, and most often you find them being made into marmalades with lots of sugar. So how would they taste as a pudding? Late February I went off to my local specialty store to see if I could acquire some. As it happened, they were available and I just needed to order them, which I did.  When they called me to let me know they were in, I purchased a dozen and went home. I put them in the closet under the pantry sink and there they kept very well. A week later I tried the receipt and loved it. This is a keeper, and I’m sure it could be made with any orange. Following are the results of the Orange Pudding made in the last workshop.

After cutting a small, round top off the oranges, Lynn and Mary grabbed spoons and scooped out the meat. The next task was to try and remove as much pith as possible without breaking through the skin. It was important to the overall taste of the finish pudding to have the bitterness gone.1

To insure that the pudding would be sweet, the carved-out oranges and tops were boiled for 15 minutes, then removed and boiled in clean water again. This helps reduce the bitterness, and make the skin softer.

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While the oranges boiled, the pudding was made. Naples biscuits were torn asunder and put in a pot, with cream, to scald. Eggs were whipped and added slowly to the cream mixture and blended together.2copy

With the addition of a glass of sack, sugar, currants, and a bit of salt, the pudding was ready. The oranges were cool enough to handle. Like most boiled puddings, this was going to be done in a cloth. I had made individual bags for the oranges out of fine linen. An orange was placed in each bag and the pudding mixture spooned into it.3copy

The tops were placed on the stuffed oranges, and the bags tied. Mary gave us all a good laugh as she used what she called a half-hitch knot to tie the bags to the supports on the pot. Then again, what would you expect from someone who lives by the sea? As long as the oranges did not touch the bottom, and stayed in the bag, we were safe. The pot was placed over the fire and boiling water was added. The pot was watched for the next 45 minutes to make sure it never stopped boiling. When the pudding was done, the oranges were placed into the pantry to cool.

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There was some pudding left over, so the girls put it in a dish and grated some nutmeg over it. HMMM, NUTMEG!! If you notice, I never mentioned nutmeg above in the ingredients they use. It seems that it was forgotten. The dish went into the oven and came out smelling wonderful. We had high hopes for stuffed Seville oranges.

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At the end of Moxon’s receipt she writes, “You must have a little white wine, butter and sugar for a sauce.” Our sauce included dry sack instead and was warmed by the fire while we waited for the rest of the meal to be done.9 copy

Natalie and Mary removed the oranges from their bags and placed one on each plate. In the 18th century, you ate dessert with your meal. (How civilized!)

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The Orange Puddings came out wonderfully, and, with the sweet, buttery sauce poured over it, you did not notice that the nutmeg was missing.

This is definitely, as I said before, a keeper receipt; unique, yet simple and elegant.

 Sandie

 Fine Sevil oranges, fine lemon, fine;

Round, sound and tender, inside and rine

(An old street cry of London)

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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 “SEVILLE ORANGES

  1. A recent male graduate of my open hearth classes has quite taken to boiled puddings. I’ll be sure to share this with him! I can’t wait to try at the next opportunity.