WAFERS 101 -2

The wafer iron is fixed, Allan said it was one of the easier tasks I’ve asked him to do as of late. He found a piece of heavy gauge steel wire and wrapped one end tight on the handle and made a hook on the other end, and, just like that, it was fixed!

iron

 

Sunday rolls around it’s time to try wafers again. This time Allan wanted filling in his. With a bit of research I came across a Lemon Cream receipt I thought would resemble a cannoli filling.

Lemmon Cheese

The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

A qurt of good thick sweet creame. Put to it the juce of four lemons as as mutch peel as well give it an agreeable  flavour. Sweeten it to your taste & add a littile peach or orange flower water if you like it. Whip it up as you would for sellabubs but very solid. If you have a tin vat, put a thin cloath in it & pour in your cream. If not, put it in a napkin and tye it pritty close. Hang it up to let the whey run from it. Make it the night before you use it. Garnish it with currant jelliy or candied oranges.

I had some ricotta cheese and so cheated a bit and did not make my own. I whipped the cream until it had high peaks. In another bowl, I mixed the orange flower water, confectionary sugar, lemon zest, a bit of lemon juice and the ricotta cheese. I then folded the whipped cream into the cheese mixture. Hmm, tasted pretty good.  Now I just need to melt, at the last minute, some of the American Heritage Chocolate made by Mars. I bought it the last trip we took to Old Sturbridge Village. I’ll fill my wafers with some of this and dribble the rest on top.

So it was time to try another wafer receipt. After looking over several, I decided on Charles Carter’s receipt. This is very different from the one I tried last week. No eggs are involved, and it uses sack and cream to make the flour into a “Pancake Stuff.” It will make a nice comparison.

 To make Wafers Brown, the beft Way.

The Practicle Cook, Charles Carter 1730

TAKE a Pint of good Cream, and thicken it with fine Flower dry’d, as thick as Pancake Stuff; put in fome Nut­meg and beaten Cinnamon, and a Gill of Sack; ftir it well, and fet it by the Fire to rile, and then bake them off quick in your Moulds; fometimes butter your Moulds, and roll them off quick, and keep them dry for Ufe.

 I mixed all the ingredients together while Allan got the fire going so we would have lots of coals. I didn’t like the consistency of the batter, it looked weird. I figured it must be the grated nutmeg and the cinnamon.

With everything ready, Allan opened up the hot wafer iron and I poured in the batter. This did not look right. Once he clapped the iron shut, the batter spurted out steam and batter violently. I wish we had a third person there to have taken a picture of this goo and steam.

Undaunted, we put it over the coals on the trivet and timed it for 4 minutes on each side. I wish you could have seen our faces when we opened up the wafer iron and saw a small paper thin transparent wafer. And it seamed greasy for some reason. I rolled it quickly around a tin cone and set it aside.

So, we tried again. I wiped the iron really well to make sure remove any traces of butter. Once again, Allan held the wafer iron while I spooned just enough of the batter in the middle and he clamped it shut. Gooey spattering again, the batter shot out like lava from a volcano. This was not looking good. The next wafer was a bit larger in size; however, it was transparent and greasy too. I rolled it up on a tin cone and put it on the plate. Allan wanted to know why this was happening. Our first wafers last week came out relatively good considering the handle issue. With some thought, I figured that the moisture from the sack and no eggs was the problem.

I took the batter to the kitchen and tossed it in the garbage. Back to square one. I went into the office and printed out Sir Theodore Mayerne’s receipt that I had used last week and proceeded to make a new batch of wafer batter. With the wafer iron getting hot over the coals, we started all over again. This time we nailed it, and came up with wafers nicely browned and the right thickness.

Yea, break out the filling and melt that chocolate!!!

From the left you have last week’s wafer from Sir Theodore Mayerne, then the thin and greasy wafer of Charles Carter then the perfect wafer with comfits, from the receipt of Sir Theodore Mayerne. On the right we have Mayerne, Carters and then Mayern’s again. Okay, the presentation might not be there, yet we at least have a few wafers with filling.

cones

 

So what did we learn?

#1

Wafer irons need a latch so you don’t have to sit in front of the fire      and bake your hands and face.

#2

Charles Carter’s receipt tasted okay, a bit greasy for reasons that we are not aware of (We had put just a bit of butter on the wafer iron; so it was not that.)

#3

The Lemmon Cheese receipt was very good.

#4

Good chocolate is like bacon; you can’t have enough.

#5

Allan does not like comfits.

#6

Start making the wafers early – our dinner was late due to regrouping.

#7

And try one more receipt.

Sandie

(Allan) You are my favorite excuse to whip cream. Anonymous Voyeur

WAFERS 101

A year ago, I bought an 18th century wafer Iron. It was a bit on the rusty, gooey side and needed a good cleaning and seasoning. The plans to get it in working order unfortunately fell by the wayside. However, it is now clean and has been seasoned by Allan, so it is time to try it out.

I looked at several receipts for wafers and came up with three different ones. I thought I’d start with the oldest and work forward in time to see how the different receipts compared. The first receipt was copied from a choice manuscript of Sir Theodore Mayerne, written in 1658, and includes “rare forms of sugar-works: according to the French mode, and English manner.”

The receipt follows.

Take Rose-water or other water, the whites of two eggs and beat them and your water, then put in flour, and make them thick as you would do butter for fritters, then season them with salt, and put in so much sugar as will make them sweet, and so cast them upon your irons being hot, and roule them up upon a little pin of wood; if they cleave to your irons, put in more sugar to your butter, for that will make them turn.

Being that this was a test of the newly seasoned iron I made a very small batch and I added orange flower water instead of rose water, a personal preference and not a huge change to the receipt. I put in enough flour so the batter was similar to a fritter batter mentioned in the receipt.

I put a trivet near the fire and shoveled hot coals under it. I rubbed the inside of the wafer iron with oil and placed it on the trivet to heat up. I waited about five minutes turning it twice.

Making wafers is a two-man job, so as Allan held the wafer iron open while I poured a spoonful of the batter in. Allan clamped down on the iron and put it on the trivet. Two things happened. I had put a bit too much batter in so it ran out the sides, and once the iron handles were let go, they instantly opened a bit. I grabbed a pot holder and clamped down hard.Untitled-1 copy

Now as I sat on a stool before the fire warming myself to a point of doneness, I remembered that the handle should have a little fastener on the end to keep it shut. Well I’ll have to get Allan to make one for the end so I won’t have to sit there roasting.

18th-century-large-iron-communion-host-wafer-press-01_02

So I sat by the fireplace turning the wafer iron over and over so both sides would get cooked. After three minutes I took the iron off the fire and put it on the plate for Allan to remove the wafer.  He needed to scrape off the overflow first then I opened the iron and the wafer came off nicely. I took a tin cone and wrapped the wafer around it and we started the process all over again.

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This time I did not put as much batter in for the second one. I also let it sit over the coals longer. The first one would not crisp up and stay curled around the tin form. We timed the second one to five minutes, which meant I had to sit there longer. Allan did run off and grab a large poster board and tried to shield me from the hearth fire; however, his hands began to get hot as the board warmed up and he bailed. But the five minutes seemed to be the magic number and the second wafer was great.

I went to put the last of the batter on the heated iron and found that it had gotten very thick so I added a bit of orange flower water to thin it out. It made a perfect wafer and baked over the fire for the allotted five minutes and came off the iron and rolled on the tin cone just as it should.  Now I had to leave the room, and headed to the glassed-in porch to cool myself down. I gazed at the stars and saw the big dipper in the sky pouring its batter of star dust out among the universe, a lovely cold night. My red face began to return to a normal color.

Back in the house, I considered my experience of making wafers. The batter had made four wafers. The first one was not cooked and the others were fine. Each wafer had a bit of dark iron on them from the seasoning process. I think after the iron makes a few more wafers that will disappear. And no one would want to sit by the fire and hold a wafer iron for five minutes. An alteration to the wafer iron handle is a must.

Now the first wafer that was soft, so I went to set on the trivet to see if it would dry out and I dropped it in the fire. Allan and I tasted the second one. It was good; perhaps a bit too much sugar for our taste, however, it had a nice crunch. Allan said it would be much better filled with cream. Me, I’d dip it in dark chocolate.

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So the first receipt gets thumbs up and so does the seasoning of the wafer iron. Stay tuned as I will again use the wafer iron with a receipt from Charles Carter’s cookery book, 1730, a very different batter than this.

Sandie

“There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”

Vincent van Gogh

PS

If my neighbors were looking at me on the porch they might have seen steam rising from my head.