WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

WAFERS 101-3

I was not going to give up until I found the perfect wafer receipt. I looked at every wafer receipt I could find and read everything I could online about making them. I had emails from supporters cheering me on. I even received an email from both Clarissa Dillon and Mercy Ingram, who have been following my tale of woe.

They had made wafers a few weeks ago – not just to make wafers, however. It seems Clarrisa is working on a publication celebrating the arrival of the Dutch and the founding of New Amsterdam 400 years ago. And the Dutch made wafers. Mercy emailed me great pictures of the process and the receipt, To Fry Wafers, from the Sensible Cook, Dutch Foodways in the Old and the New World, translated and edited by Peter Rose. It has a lot of cinnamon in it and ginger. So I printed this receipt as a possibility.

Still searching, I found “To make the best Wafers,” Gervase Markham, The English Housewife: Banqueting and made dishes. Others seemed to have success with this receipt. I also re-read a great article by Louise Miller, The Wafer – A Delicate Dessert. This had the receipt, “To make Goofer Wafers” from the English Housewifery by Elizabeth Moxon, 1764.

I really liked the name of Elizabeth’s receipt. What are goofers? With a bit of research I found that in the Oxford English Dictionary it is spelled gofer and is defined as a thin batter-cake with a honeycomb pattern stamped by an iron plate and Gofer irons is mentioned. So that is where the interesting name comes from. My wafer irons is the same as Moxmon’s Gooffer irons.

It’s Sunday night again and Allan fires up the hearth. Elizabeth’s receipt won the shuffle on the table and I cut it down by a fourth. I instantly loved the batter. It was much thicker than pancake batter and stuck to the spoon. We heated up the goofer iron and I put a blob of the batter in the middle on the hot side. Allan closed it up, this time there was a loud whistling sound as steam escaped. OH! Horror, visions of last week swam in my head, batter spitting out everywhere. BUT NO, I could smell the cinnamon and nutmeg and everything looked okay. After a few minutes of turning, Allan opened it up and I took a picture of the best looking wafer we have made so far.

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As they came off the hot iron, I rolled them up, for the first one I used the tin cone. However, I really wanted to try to make them like piroulines.

I grabbed a wooden spoon and put some butter on it and I began rolling the wafers while still hot. First I was doing it on the plate and they were not very tight. I took some parchment paper and put it on the table then rolled them and that seemed better, yet still not small and tight as I would have liked.

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Allan went to the basement and came back up with a ¼ inch dowel washed it and buttered it. This worked better, still not the size of a pirouline. Perhaps it is because the size of the wafer is not large enough.

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However, by now, I’m beaming and ecstatic that I found a receipt that I can share at the Just Dessert Workshop in a few weeks. It took trial and error and I appreciate the encourgament from everyone.

I will take these wafers and put them in a tin and see how long they will last. Not because we would eat them in short order, however, because I want to see if they will still be as good in six months as when they were first made. By the way the receipt made 8 wafers and one was shared by Allan and me. Yes, this is definitely a keeper receipt. It tasted wonderful.

Sandie

Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.

Napoleon Hill

 

 

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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.

2 thoughts on “WE HAVE A WINNER!!!

  1. That’s wonderful! There was a discussion of wafers at our regional conference last week, and I shared your first photos. I thought THEY looked great. Congratulations on even greater ones.

    I love that you have time to focus on your cooking. I think I have gotten into too many projects so don’t take the time to perfect my historic cooking. However, our time perios cooking is not so different from country cooking today; It is a whole different genre.