HFF 2016 Challenge #6: Juicy Fruits Mint Lemonade

This challenge was done on the road, so to speak.  I traveled to be with my mom in Minnesota for her surgery and recovery period.  I was a bit puzzled as to what to do for this challenge when Mom suggested, “What about the Mint Lemonade?”  What a brilliant idea!  This recipe has been in the family for a few generations.  Mom, who is now 80, remembers my grandma, Olive Viola Korroll Winiecke,  making it when she was a little girl,to bring when they would visit my great grandma, Emma  Korroll!  (If you can keep that straight, you’re doing better than I do most days!)

Emma Arneberg Korroll

My Great Grandma, Emma Arneberg Korroll

The story is when my mom was quite young, maybe about four, her family of Mom & Dad and two older brothers piled into the family car and drove out to visit the grandparents family farm near Lake Owasso in what once was known as Rose Township, now known as Roseville.  The farm only exists in memory now and a few small photographs as it had been sold to a developer in 1957 for about $15,000 for the 10-12 acres parcel and torn down.  The Golden Living Center-Lake Ridge now stands where the farm once was.

Korroll farm

The Korrol farm near Lake Owasso, Roseville, MN

My grandma had made Mint Lemonade to bring along for the meal.  The lemonade was carried in a one gallon metal enameled picnic jug with a ceramic liner and insulated top plug.  This isn’t the exact jug, but is as similar as I could find that matched Mom’s memory.

While at the farm, there was a terrible hail storm.  The jagged hail stones were so large, they wanted to bring them back to their home in Saint Paul to show the neighbors, so they were packed into the picnic jug that had held the lemonade.

Mint Lemonade is still popular today in my family and my daughter even wrote about it in her blog here.  It was about 1940 when my mom remembers the hail storm and the mint lemonade.  We’re not sure how long it had been a family tradition before that time,  my Great Grandma might have made it as well.

I never got to meet my grandma, she passed away in 1956 when my mom was only 20.  Although my mom remembers the lemonade, she never knew exactly how my grandma made it.  We’ve come up with the proportions of lemon to sugar, but the exact method of  Grandma infused the mint is a bit of a mystery.  Below is the basic recipe.  I’ll give a couple of different options as how to make it.


All you need is Sugar, Lemons & Mint.

Mint Lemonade Recipe

2 1/2   Cups fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 10 lemons)

1 3/4   Sugar, more or less depending on how sweet or sour your taste is.

A large fist full of fresh mint sprigs.

Enough cold water and ice to make a gallon.

This is how my mom makes it.  First juice the lemons.  The mint leaves are put into a small blender jar with some water or lemon juice. Blend it until the mint leaves are liquified.  The lemon juice, liquified mint, and sugar are stirred into a gallon size pitcher until the sugar is dissolved.  Ice and water are added to make a full gallon.  Most of the time it is served as is with all the pulp.  If it sets for a while it settles out and will need to be stirred before serving.  When served like this my kids dubbed it “swamp water.”  It looks a bit odd, but is still very tasty.  When made this way, the lemon juice and mint could be put through a strainer to make it look a bit more refined.

Since my grandma wouldn’t have had a blender to use, I tried to come up with a more authentic way she may have made it.  The benefit of doing this challenge at my mom’s house, is she has all the knowledge and many of the actual vintage item’s used to produce and serve the mint lemonade.  The citrus juicer in the photo below belonged to my grandma and may have been the one she used back in 1940 to make the mint lemonade the day of the hailstorm!


Grandma Olive Winiecke’s Citrus juicer.

Start by juicing your lemons, any form of juicer will work.  Juice enough lemons to make 2 1/2 Cups of fresh lemon juice.

Pluck the leaves off a small bunch of mint.  A good fist full works well but if you are purchasing fresh mint in a grocery store that only has small plastic packages of fresh herbs, purchase and use at least two of these.  Place the mint leaves in a small sauce pan with a small amount of water and crush them with a blunt spoon to help release the juices.  Bring to a low boil and simmer a few minutes.  Let this mixture cool for a while, then strain out the leaves squeezing them to release every bit of minty goodness!  Combine lemon juice, mint water and sugar into a gallon pitcher and stir to dissolve sugar.  Add ice and water to make one gallon.  Extra mint leaves and lemon slices look nice in the pitcher and serving glasses and add extra flavor too!


Mint Lemonade. It doesn’t get better than this!

What was even more fun, the tumblers with an etched floral design I used to serve the mint lemonade in had been my grandma’s tumblers, and the crocheted table cloth in the photo had been crocheted by my grandma as well.

Grandma, Olive Viola Korroll Winiwcke & Aunt Mary Winiecke

Grandma Olive Winiecke on the left with my Great Aunt Mary Winiecke on the right.

The time frame for this recipe is about 1940, possibly earlier.

Cost to make about $5 for the lemons and another $2 for the bunch of mint.  Roughly $7 for the gallon, but worth every penny.

Time to make, about twenty minutes to half an hour depending on the method you use to juice your lemons or make your mint infusion.

Always a success!  Especially refreshing on hot, summer days!IMG_0158






HFF 2016 Challenge #5: Roasts: Bohemian Roast Pork Dinner

They’re a staple of the historic table, in many different shapes and forms and types. It’s also a cooking technique. Try a historic recipe for a roast, or a recipe that involves roasting, and tell us how it turned out.

Bohemian Roast Pork Dinner

I grew up eating this dinner, but when I tried to find it in a cookbook, or anywhere else on the internet, it wasn’t there!  To give the history of the dish, I’ll have to share a bit of family history…

I guess it started with my Grandpa, James  Opatrny.  In 1906, at about the age of 12, he immigrated to America with his newly widowed mother, sister Mary, younger brother Ernst, aunt, and cousin.  His two older brothers, Vincent and Jerry, had come to America earlier with other extended relatives.  While most of the extended relatives settled in southern Minnesota in places like Veseli, New Prague and Montgomery.  Grandpa’s family settled in Saint Paul on Otto Street.  It is said that although his mother could understand English, she refused to speak it.  My grandfather picked up English and could speak fluently, but kept his thick accent that reminded me much of Chekov from the original Star Trek tv series.  He couldn’t pronounce V’s and they always sounded like W’s.  He rarely talked about Bohemia by name but always referred to it as “the Old Country.”  Click here to read about the history of Bohemia .

James Opatrny barracks

James Opatrny, Grandpa, as a young man in the army.

As a young man, Grandpa  married a good Bohemian wife, Julia Trcka,  and had three children, my Aunt Helen, Uncle Jim and Aunt Judy .  Shortly after that young wife died leaving him with three young children,  Grandpa quickly remarried, another Bohemian lady, Helen Jasan, and had two more children, my Aunt Lucy and my father, Richard Opatrny.  Unfortunately, she too died in 1939 at the age of 30, while my father was very young, later Grandpa remarried again, this time to a Danish lady, Olga, but we always called her Ollie.

James Opatrny & Helen Jasan Wedding

Wedding portrait of James Opatrny & Helen Jasan.

When I was young, early elementary school age, my family lived in Rosemount, a small farming town south of the twin cities and Grandpa and Ollie lived in their home in West Saint Paul.  They were getting older and Grandpa had given up driving.  Ollie was experiencing some form of dementia.

The weekly routine was for my mom to take me into West Saint Paul with her every Friday.  We would take Grandpa and Ollie to the bank and grocery store and have lunch with them.  Then we would bring Grandpa and Ollie back to Rosemount where Mom would do their laundry and cook a big family dinner.  After the dinner dishes were done, my Dad would drive them back home to West Saint Paul.

Ollie could regale us with tales of her youth and would draw, sing and play the harmonica and had a marvelous sense of humor and enjoyed jokes…   but she could NEVER remember anything that happened three minutes earlier.  My older brothers and I took full advantage of this.  We could tell her the same joke a dozen times over the course of the meal and she would laugh uproariously every time!  (I don’t know how my poor parents or Grandpa put up with us!)  Ollie was older than Grandpa, but only by a week, but she decided she was going to be retired and gave up cooking.  Just when that decision was made, I don’t really know, but as far back as I could remember, it was Grandpa that cooked the lunch we would eat with them.

I don’t think Grandpa ever read a cookbook.  He cooked what was familiar to him, either what his mother had cooked when he was younger, or what either of his first wives may have cooked.  We often had soup made of whatever leftovers he had from earlier in the week, but sometimes he would cook something in his large, enameled roasting pan with a curved bottom.  Sometimes it was saurkraut cooked with barley and pork with potato dumplings on the side, other times it was this Bohemian Roast Pork dinner.  Rye bread with Limburger cheese were also a staples.  Not the smelly Limburger cheese in a brick, but the pasteurized stuff in a jar that was unfortunately discontinued years ago.limburger

My oldest brother inherited the ancestral roasting pan, but I had to find one as similar as I could for this recipe.  Large, oval with handles on either end, a large domed lid, but it especially had to have a curved bottom!  This style is often referred to as a double wall roaster.  I don’t think they make them like this any more.  I found my Savory brand one on ebay, if you’re lucky, they often pop up in thrift stores.


Savory roasting pan.


Bottom of roasting pan showing double wall.

Bohemian Roast Pork Dinner

Cuts of Pork




White Rice

Salt, pepper, garlic powder and caraway seed

IMG_0117Any cut of pork will do as it’s cooked to fall off the bone tenderness.  I used what I had in the freezer, a package of pork chops and a small pork tenderloin.IMG_0120Line the bottom of the roasting pan with the pork.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder and caraway seed.  Don’t be stingy with the caraway or garlic powder as this is what makes this dish so savory!  (If your Bohemian Roast Pork Dinner dinner tastes bland, you didn’t add enough garlic powder and caraway!)  Top with sliced onion.  Add about a cup of water to keep things moist, cover and place in a slow oven.  If it starts to dry out, add more water and baste the pork.  I started my pork just after noon at 325 degrees.  IMG_0121Let this roast slowly for an hour and a half to two hours.  Then add carrots and potatoes.  If your potatoes are very large, cut them in half or quarters.IMG_0122Keep covered and continue to roast at 325 degrees for another hour.  While this is roasting, cook white rice on the stove top until almost done.IMG_0124Take roaster out of the oven. Push vegetables to one end of the roaster pan and add the rice.  Stir the rice into the juices on the bottom of the pan.  Cover and place back in oven and continue to roast for about another 15 to 30 minutes, or until rice is tender and has absorbed some of the savory liquid.IMG_0125Dish up and enjoy!

This makes an economical, stick to your ribs meal.  It’s especially good when the weather starts to turn cool in the autumn.  The aroma as it’s roasting is out of this world good!

The time frame for this recipe is probably the 1930’s or earlier.

The origin is from a Bohemian kitchen.

Time to make, about 4 hours, give or take.

Cost, the pork I used was about $10.  The Potatoes, carrots, onion & rice, maybe about another $4.  This roaster full could have easily fed a hungry family of 6 or 7 and still had leftovers.

Was it a success?  Tasted just like Grandpa used to make!  I enjoyed it as comfort food from my youth, my son thought it was tasty, my husband, not so much.  Hubby’s not fond of “mixtures” like casseroles, stews, or one pot meals.  Although he didn’t find it objectionable, it isn’t something he would ever request.


HFF 2016 Challenge #4: Sweets for the Sweet: Valentine’s Day Cake

Sweets for the Sweet!

What perfect timing for this challenge.  Valentine’s Day and my hubby’s birthday.  It didn’t take me long to figure out what to make for this challenge.  In the past, I have made a pound cake recipe into layers and slathered it with jam,whipped cream frosting, and raspberries, and it was to die for!    I made a cake like this and brought it to a special dairy competition at the Dakota County Fair in Minnesota and took away top honors.  Every last crumb of the cake was eagerly devoured, and to my embarrassment, so was much of the paper doily underneath it!  Pound cake with fruit and/or jam was pretty standard historical fare.  My challenge was to find a historical recipe I can use to recreate my favorite, impressive, deceptively easy cake.

Prize Winning Cake

Prize Winning Cake

Many of the older recipes for pound cake call for the eggs to be separated, beaten separately, and folded together.  I’ll admit to being a bit lazy.  That sounded like more bother than I wanted to go through as most of the modern recipes used leavening ingredients and didn’t require separating the eggs, so I kept searching.  Finally, I found a recipe for Soft Pound Cake that looked like it would suit my lazy self in this 1915 cook book.

Cook Book Compiled and Published by the Board of Directors of the Larkin Children’s Home.  Click here to read a bit of history of the Larkin Children’s Home.   The cook book was created and sold as a fundraiser for the children’s home in Elgin, Illinois.


Soft Pound Cake Recipe

Let’s line up the ingredients.IMG_0092

This looked pretty easy.  I wanted to make my cake a three layer cake to I weighed the ingredients and increased the recipe by half to make sure I would have enough batter for three layers.  This is the recipe I devised.

Soft Pound Cake

3 Sticks of butter

3 1/3 Cups Sugar

5 1/4 Cups Flour

9 Eggs

1 1/2 tsp. Soda

3 tsp. Cream of Tartar

1 1/2 Cups Milk

1 tsp. Vanilla

Zest of 2 Lemons.

I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Added the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.  I then added the lemon zest and vanilla.IMG_0098  The remaining dry ingredients were combined and added to the butter mixture alternately with the milk.

IMG_0100The batter was divided between three lightly greased heart shaped layer pans and put into a 325 degree oven.  (Heart pans were a must since this was for Valentine’s Day and a birthday!)  I wasn’t sure how long to bake the layers so I watched…

IMG_0101I watched as the cake layers rose more than expected.  Molten batter oozed out of the pan and pooled on the bottom of my oven!  I used this as an indicator as to when the cake was done.  I waited until it stopped oozing and then tested it with a toothpick.  I removed the voluptuous layers from the oven after 45 minutes.  In hindsight, I didn’t need to increase the size of the recipe to make three layers.  The layers cooled for 10 minutes on cooling racks, then were turned out of their pans to finish cooling.

IMG_0102One of the heart pans was slightly larger than the other two pans so I used the smaller pan as a template and trimmed the larger layer down to size.

IMG_0107The layers were spread with raspberry jam.  You could stop here and have a pretty historical cake, but this cake had to be extra special!  My twist on this historic cake is to add a Mascarpone Cheese and Whipped Cream Frosting!  Trust me, this frosting is my secret weapon that makes everything amazing!

IMG_0093The mascarpone and whipped cream frosting is super simple to make, and I always make more than I think I will need as the left overs are very versatile.  Leftovers go great on Irish Coffee, Cocoa, Pancakes and Waffles or piped into strawberries.  The recipe is nothing more than equal parts of mascarpone cream cheese, heavy cream, a bit of vanilla and sweetened to taste.  It is easy to scale up or down according to your needs, but here is what I used today…

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

16 ounces Mascarpone Cream Cheese

2 Cups Heavy Cream

1 tsp. Vanilla

1/4 to 1/3 Cup granulated Sugar

First, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.IMG_0103

Add the mascarpone cream cheese and continue to beat until it is incorporated.   Add vanilla and slowly add the sugar and beat until fluffy.  It should be the texture of a soft frosting.  Be careful not to over beat or it may start to separate and form butter!IMG_0106Now, back to assembling the layers.IMG_0108Each layer is spread with a generous layer of raspberry jam and also dabbed with a layer of the mascarpone whipped cream frosting.

IMG_0111Since the cake layers were so thick, I could only use two of the layers.  Extra frosting was piped around the edges of the cake and the top was filled in with fresh raspberries and sealed with extra jam.

IMG_0113This cake is better made in advance and refrigerated overnight to allow the moisture of the frosting to permeate the cake.  So under the dome  and in the fridge it goes.

IMG_0114I think in the past I split the layers creating the opportunity to add more layers of the filling.


The finished product

Now for the review.

I followed the recipe for the cake as accurately as I could guessing as to how long to bake the layers.  It was fairly easy to make.

Most of the cake was basic pantry staples.  The butter and eggs cost about $5.00 since I used organic products.  The most expensive part of the project was the mascarpone cream cheese at about $6.00 for 16 ounces.  (But well worth the cost!)

Was it a success?  I wish I could say it was after investing in all those ingredients.  I could tell something wasn’t right when I tried to slice it.  The recipe was titled Soft Pound Cake, but it was anything but soft!  The pound cake layers had the texture of high density foam rubber!  (Imagine eating a sofa cushion…)  The flavor was good, it wasn’t overly dry, but it was the toughest cake I have ever made!  I’m not sure what went wrong.  Did I over cook it?  Did it turn out this way because the moisture content is different in modern flour?  Was it just a wonky recipe?  Will I use this recipe again?  Absolutely NOT!  There are plenty of other recipes out there that would turn out much better.  Feel free to make a cake like this, but be sure to use a different recipe for the cake layers.

HFF 2016 Challenge #3: History Detective: In search of Plum Puffs…

For this challenge, you get to be the detective! Either use clues from multiple recipes to make a composite recipe, or choose a very vague recipe and investigate how it was made.

In search of Plum Puffs…


Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery  published 1909

excerpt from Chapter 12   A Jonah Day

Marilla listened to the whole story, and if she smiled at certain parts of it Anne never knew.  When the tale was ended she said briskly,

“Well, never mind.  This day’s done and there’s a new one coming tomorrow, with no mistakes in it yet, as you used to say yourself.  Just come downstairs and have your supper.  You’ll see if a good cup of tea and those plum puffs I made today won’t hearten you up.”

“Plum Puffs won’t minister to a mind diseased,” said Anne disconsolately;  but Marilla thought it was a good sign that she had recovered sufficiently to adapt a quotation.

The cheerful supper table, with the twins’ bright faces, and Marilla’s matchless plum puffs…of which Davy ate four…did “hearten her up” considerably after all.  She had a good sleep that night and awakened  in the morning to find herself and the world transformed.  It has snowed softly and thickly all through the hours of darkness and the beautiful whiteness, glittering in the frosty sunshine, looked like a mantle of charity cast over all the mistakes and humiliations of the past.

Little did L.M. Montgomery know, those words would send Anne fans into a tizzy to find out just what these matchless plum puffs were!  Now for some detective work…

The beginning of the chapter stated that it was the dead of winter.  From this I could deduce that if real plums were used in plum puffs, they would have had to have been dried or made into preserves as fresh plums would not have been available to Marilla.

Next I thought I would consult one of my favorite cookbooks.  Elaine Crawford and her daughter Kelly co-authored the book titled Aunt Maud’s Recipe Book from the kitchen of L.M. Montgomery.  They are related to L.M. Montgomery and had the good fortune to have inherited a hand written recipe ledger written in the author’s own handwriting.    They also collaborated with Mary Henley Rubio, biographer of L.M. Montgomery who had access to Montgomery’s journals.  If anyone had the inside track on knowing what plum puffs were, or had the actual recipe, these ladies would be the ones!

aunt maud's recipe book

Aunt Maud’s Recipe Book

I LOVE this book and have devoured it many times from cover to cover and would highly recommend it to any one who is a fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery.  This book has much information and recipes of the author’s life beyond Prince Edward Island.

Unfortunately, I found the entry on plum puffs to be a bit disappointing.  The recipe included was not written by L.M. Montgomery.  It was listed as an offspring of a Green Gable’s recipe from another P.E.I. kitchen.  And *gasp* it didn’t even have PLUMS in it!  The explanation was that Maud would have called it “mock plum puff” as there were several other “mock” recipes included in her recipe ledger.  This had me in the depths of despair!  Okay, pull yourself together, time to regain my composure and do more research.  Perhaps the word “plum” was used as an adjective and didn’t mean the fruit, after all, plum pudding doesn’t have plums in it either.

Plum is an adjective meaning desirable, and it also denotes the sweet, purplish fruit. The adjectival meaning originated as a figurative extension of the fruit.

The recipe in the book also had shortening in it, I found this troubling.  From my research, shortening was just being introduced to cooking about the same time Anne of Avonlea was being published.  Prior to that, shortening was used as a tallow substitute for candle and soap making.  Marilla was a traditional, conservative woman, she would have cooked the same foods in the same ways her mother, and her mother before her would have cooked.  I doubt she would have taken to new fangled notions like shortening very quickly.  I went in search of a recipe similar to the one I saw from a historic source that used either butter or lard as I’m sure that’s what have been used by Marilla.  Also, I wanted the source of the recipe to be from Canada or the British Isles as much of P.E.I was settled by immigrants from the British Isles and France, and L.M. Montgomery’s heritage was primarily from Scotland.  Immigrants tend to bring their tastes of the homeland and methods of cooking with them to a new country.

The recipe in Aunt Maud’s Recipe Book was essentially two layers of biscuit like crust with a filling of boiled raisins sandwiched in between the crusts.  What I found when I searched for similar a recipe was a myriad of variations in both names and ingredients.  Fly Cemetery, Fly Graveyards, Squashed Fly Pie, Pastry Sandwich, Fruit Slice as well as many others.


Fly Cemetery, Fly Graveyards, Fruit Slice… Plum puffs by any other name?

Click here to read more about Fly Cemeteries.

The “Fly” names had predominantly raisins and/or currants as the filling, or a mincemeat type filling giving the appearance of dead flies.  As Fruit Slice or Fruit Sandwich, other fruits or preserves could be used as a filling.

The the types of crust also varied greatly, puff crust, short crust, biscuit, and even shortbread crusts!  These were almost all rolled into two rectangles with one crust for the bottom and the other for the top.  The top crust could be left plain, or brushed with milk or beaten egg white and sprinkled with sugar, or have a glaze of powdered sugar drizzled or spread over it.  Sometimes the edges were sealed to create a slab pie, all were cut into squares or rectangles for serving.  These were often eaten out of hand and not on a plate.

Time for a character analysis.  Young Davy was allowed to eat four of these confections.  The puffs would have had to have been small enough for a young boy to have eaten four, and wholesome enough for Marilla to allow it.  As delicious as shortbread for a crust sounds, I believe Marilla would have thought it too rich to allow young Davy to eat four, and shortbread isn’t “puffed”.  Short crust wouldn’t have been puffed either so that’s out too.  That leaves only the biscuit crust or the puff paste crust.

Now to ponder the filling…  it very well could have been just a boiled raisin filling  with the word “plum” being used as an adjective, or perhaps Marilla did make use of some of her plum preserves.  Davy kept getting into the preserves, jams, and jellies stored in Marilla’s pantry.  Several varieties of plums do grow on P.E.I as well as damsons.  Marilla being renowned for her cooking skills would have known Damsons were prized for their use in cooking and baked goods.

I decided I would go with a biscuit crust, as it would have been wholesome enough for Marilla to allow Davey to eat so many.  I promptly ordered up a couple of historic recipe books that had been published in Canada and Scotland.  (Unfortunately, the one from Scotland didn’t arrive in time…  grumble.)  I was hoping to find a recipe for Fly Cemeteries or one of it’s variations, but had to wing it when I couldn’t find a historic recipe with the resources I had on hand.  I also decided I would make both “mock plum puffs” as well as some damson puffs so I could compare and contrast them.

Let’s line everything up…IMG_0071[1]

Since damson plums are out of season and difficult to find as preserves, I ordered 2 jars of Tiptree Jams Damson Conserve from Amazon.com.  These were given top reviews and I can see why.  It was exactly what I wanted for my plum puffs.  Mildly tart, chunks of fruit, rich plummy color…

I then started my search for my mock plum filling.  Most of the contemporary recipes for Fly Cemeteries had about 3 cups of dried raisins and/or currants in them, So I used this recipe for Raisin Filling from the Bohemian-American Cookbook originally published in 1915 as a guide.   (The version I have is a 1947 reprint.) IMG_0069The composite recipe I created was:

1 1/2 Cups Raisins

1 1/2 Cups Currants

2 Cups Water

Zest and juice of 1 Lemon

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/8 tsp. Cloves

1/4 Cup Blackberry Brandy  (I didn’t have wine)

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 1/2 Tbsp Butter

1/2 Cup Sugar

2 Tbsp. Cornstarch.

The raisins, currants, water, lemon zest & juice, cinnamon and cloves were simmered in a covered saucepan until the fruit was soft and plump.


Fruit mixture ready to simmer.

 The brandy, vanilla, and butter were than stirred in, and lastly the cornstarch mixed into the sugar is stirred in.  Cook, stirring this mixture until it thickens.  Remove from burner and cool while mixing up the crust.

For the crust, I used a recipe from this book, The Cook Not Mad; or Rational Cookery I have a facsimile copy with the original being published in 1831.  IMG_0068

The recipe I settled on was No. 165 Derby, or Short Cakes.IMG_0067

Pearlash was an ingredient I hadn’t seen before, I thought it must be a leavening ingredient.  Click here to read more about pearlash.  Seeing ingredients listed by weight was also new to me, so I pulled out my digital scale and weighed things out.

1 lb. Butter  (4 sticks)

7 Cups Flour

2 1/4 Cups Sugar

1 Cup milk

1 Egg

2 tsp Pearlash  (I substituted Baking Powder, I wish I could have used Rollings Reliable Baking Powder.)

***Currants were left out of the original recipe as a fruit filling was used.

This was baked in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

I mixed the dry ingredients together first, and started to cut the butter into this with a pastry blender, but gave up and ended up rubbing the flour into the butter by hand, just like the recipe stated. IMG_0073[1] I created a “well” in this mixture which I poured the whisked egg and milk, stirred it into the dry ingredients, just until barely incorporated.IMG_0074 Turned it out onto my marble slab to gently knead it, being careful not to overwork the dough.  IMG_0075

This made a very large amount of dough and was just about double the size of the recipe in  Aunt Maud’s Recipe Book which was baked in a 13″ x 9″ cake pan, so I pulled out a half sheet cake pan that was nearly double that size.

First, half the dough was rolled out into a rectangle to fit the bottom of the pan.  I spread half with the 2 jars of damson conserve, the other half with the raisin mixture.


Damson conserve on the left, raisin mixture on the right.

Roll out the other half of the dough and lay over the fruit fillings.  Over the damson half, I brushed the top crust with a frothed egg white and sprinkled it liberally with sugar.  This was baked at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.  The crust over the raisin half was baked plain and then topped with a drizzle of powder sugar glaze after it was out of the oven.


Egg white wash with sugar on the left, powder sugar glaze on the right.


Just look at the gooey goodness!


Plum Puffs and tea to hearten you up.

Now for the review.  The invented recipe turned out quite well.  The biscuit like crust turned out to be the texture of a soft sugar cookie.  I think we prefered the damson half for both the flavor of the fruit and the texture of the crust the way it crisped with the egg white glaze.  The mock plum half was good, but took on the taste of something more akin to mincemeat.  The mock recipe in Aunt Maud’s Recipe book didn’t have spice or alcohol in it, but many of the fly cemetery recipes did.

The recipe was quite easy to put together and would have been pretty reasonable cost wise to make if it hadn’t have been for the use of organic dairy products and the imported damson conserve.  I cut the pan into 24 generous servings.

I would make this again.  I might try a puff paste recipe next time or use other preserves for the filling.  I think raspberry would be divine!  I would most certainly half the dough recipe and make it in a 9″ x 13″ cake pan as we wouldn’t need such a large pan full .


Plum Puffs

Day two.  Can you guess what I  had for breakfast?  Yup, more plum puffs.  The flavor of the raisin side had mellowed overnight and was quite good, but I still think the plum side was actually better.  Just my personal preference.

Are these the REAL plum puffs?  No one knows for sure what Lucy Maud Montgomery had in mind when she penned those infamous words.  Any combination of pastry and fruit could be considered pretty plum.  Make your plum puffs anyway you imagine them to be, (No one will know the difference!) and share them with kindred spirits, whether they be family or friends, and enjoy a feeling of kinship with one of your favorite authors and beloved characters.


***  Hold the press!  I am super excited that my cookbook from Scotland has finally arrived!  If only itcame a few days earlier…  The cookbook is titled The Edinburgh book of Advanced Cookery Recipes.  This a 1933 edition that is a compilation of two older cookbooks that have been revised and updated.


The Edinburgh Book of Advanced Cookery Recipes Revised and Enlarged Edition 1933

The recipe I found that rocked my world was 222 Banbury Puffs.  The similarity to the fly cemetery recipes and the mock plum puff recipe was uncanny.  Two crusts, in this case a puff pastry, with a currant filling with citrus peel, spice & wine.  To top it off, it even had “puff” in the name!  I guess I was on the right trail after all…IMG_0087

Here’s the crust recipe they recommended.IMG_0085

The directions for folding and rolling the dough for puff pastry are pretty standard.

I will definitely have to make it this way!


HFF 2016 Challenge #2: Culinary Vices: Maple Parfait


Some foods are really, really naughty. Globs of butter, lashings of sugar and syrup, decadent chocolate and wine. Bring out your naughty, indecorous side with foods associated with all the bad things, in the best ways.


Maple Parfait

After some searching I found a recipe in this cookbook “The Household Searchlight Recipe Book” printed in 1939.IMG_0050

The recipe was for Maple Parfait. IMG_0051

Visions of 1-2-3 Jello and McDonald’s Parfaits danced in my head as I envisioned pretty, layered desserts served in glasses.  But this recipe wasn’t like that at all!

This recipe didn’t say anything about layers or how to serve it.  I was stumped and decided I should do some research.

This is what I found thanks to ifood.tv/parfait/about

Origin of Parfaits

The origin of parfait can be traced back to the reference of a dessert in the French cuisine in 1894.

Ingredients Commonly Used in Parfait Recipes

A parfait may be made using a number of ingredients like different types of ice cream, cream fruits, nuts, coffee and other ingredients. Essentially, the original French version of the parfait is made by using cream, egg, sugar and syrup. The American parfait includes more ingredients like granola, nuts, yogurt, liqueurs and gelatin desserts made in combination with a topping of fruits or whipped cream. The yogurt parfait made with granola, fruit or other cereals has risen in popularity with the Americans. This healthy dish is not eaten as a dessert but as a delicious breakfast food because of its healthy properties.

Preparation of Parfaits

Preparation of the French parfait is different from that of its American analogue owing to the fact that both are not identical dishes. The French version, which is made using a technique called saboyan, involves boiling the ingredients in a liquid medium which may be water or oil. The French dessert is essentially a pureed dessert custard which is not mandatorily served in a parfait glass, unlike its American counterpart. The American version of the dessert is always made in a parfait glass and is more visually appealing than the French version.

After searching out more vintage cookbooks I found virtually the same recipe with different names such as Maple Cream or Maple Ice.  In an “ah-ha!” moment, I now understood that this recipe wasn’t what I considered to be a parfait, but was actually more of an ice cream made with out the benefit of an ice cream freezer!

I also found this version on a Hartland History webpage.  hartlandhistory.org/wordpress

Maple_Parfait recipe

This mentions a topping of additional maple syrup and nuts would be a good idea…

Enough of the history lesson.  Let’s get cooking!


Cream, maple syrup and eggs.  Pretty simple!


Whipped eggs waiting in double boiler as the maple syrup heats.  I did just what the recipe said and incorporated the boiling syrup slowly into the eggs.  (Sorry, no picture of that, I ran out of hands!)IMG_0054


After the custard was created in the double boiler, I took advantage of the winter weather and set the custard on the deck to cool.IMG_0056

After the custard portion cooled, I whipped the cream in my Kitchen Aid stand mixer.  This made the process one hundred times easier than using a rotary egg beater!  I then folded the cooled custard into the whipped cream.IMG_0058

I dug out some cute little molds I found at a thrift store and never knew what to use them for before now.  I filled 6 small Tupperware molds and one larger aluminium mold.  Instead of packing them in an ice/salt mixture like the recipe stated, I made use of a modern convenience called a freezer.

The end product was much better than I had hoped for.  The texture was much less dense than a modern ice cream and was more like a mousse. I would recommend letting the unmolded parfaits stand at room temperature a bit to soften as it probably got firmer in the freezer than standing a few hours in an ice/salt mixture.


To sum it up.  I made the recipe exactly as stated with the use of modern appliances such as my stand mixer and freezer.

The cost wasn’t too bad.  About $4 for a cup of maple syrup, $1 for 4 free range, organic eggs, and about another $3-4 for a pint of heavy cream.  About a dollar per serving.

Time to fix? With modern appliances, it went together quickly, but needed extra time to cool the custard portion and freeze the parfaits.

Turned out amazing!  Husband gave it two thumbs up and said I could make this recipe any time I wanted…  he doesn’t say that about much!

HFF 2016 Challenge #1: Meat-and-Potatoes: Swedish Kropp Kakor


Meat and potatoes:  They’re a staple for the tables in the most rustic cottages as well as the fanciest banquet tables – and it’s also an idiom meaning a staple or the most basic parts of something. Make a historic “meat-and-potatoes” recipe – however you interpret it.

I had several ideas pop into my head when I read this challenge.  The first thing that I thought of was Swedish sausage.  A tasty sausage made up of equal parts of beef, pork, and potatoes with onions and seasoned with salt, pepper and allspice.  But since I had some in my freezer, I decided I shouldn’t make more just yet, and hit my cookbooks.

After much deliberation I settled on this cookbook.  Scandinavian Recipes by Julia Peterson Tufford.  I happened to convince my mother to part with this little jewel the last time I visited her.  The copy I have is a 14th printing from 1954 with the original printing in 1940.

IMG_0040Penciled onto the top of one of the pages were the notes, “Bought at Mrs. Holme’s Kaffe Stuga, Duluth, Minn August 21, 1955.”  I LOVE it when I find writing in books!  This little booklet was a souvenir from days gone by to one of my favorite destinations.  The north shore of Lake Superior.

The author’s sentiment sums up what I was looking to find, “olden recipes that were familiar in your childhood and mine.”


Now for the recipe that caught my eye.  Swedish Kropp Kakor is very similar the heavy potato dumplings my family would make with sauerkraut and pork.  The main difference being it uses a combination of cooked and raw potatoes and has a meat filling.  The potato dumplings of my youth were grated raw potatoes with just enough flour to create a workable dough.IMG_0042

Everything lined up and ready to go!IMG_0043

I didn’t have a lamb chop handy so I substituted a small amount of ground lamb.  I also substituted some lean ham trimmings for the 1/2 lb. of salt pork.  Only half the onion was used in the dumplings as I had another use for the other half.

I started out making it as directed in the recipe.  If you have time and are looking for a good work out, you can grate your potatoes with a traditional box grater as pictured above.  If you wish to streamline the process you can use a food processor to “grate” the potatoes.


Half the potatoes being boiled in the pot on the left while the meat mixture with the onion is in the skillet on the right.  So far so good!  Next to grate the raw potatoes and the boiled potatoes.  I cheated and used my food processor.  Then I hit a problem.  After adding the 2 cups of flour to my grated potatoes I had a thick, granular batter that would NEVER hold a dumpling shape.  I started to panic thinking my first attempt at a challenge was doomed to failure.  I then started adding more and more flour to the soupy mixture one heaped spoonful at a time, until I had nearly doubled the four the recipe had called for.  The mixture now had the texture of a firm, gooey tub caulk.

The recipe recommended having some meat or vegetables in the boiling pot to help flavor the dumplings, so I added the Swedish sausage I had on hand and a bag of carrots to make a full meal.

To form the dumplings I used a large, lever action ice cream scoop to scoop out some dough, made a depression to fill with a small spoonful of meat mixture, then closed the dough around the meat and plopped the dumpling into the boiling water.  This went much easier than I expected!

IMG_0045Now to wait an hour…  Think I’ll add a side dish to make the meal complete.

The finished product.


Swedish Kropp Kakor, Swedish sausage, boiled carrots & Norwegian Christmas cabbage.

The Swedish Kropp Kakor was the meat and potatoes challenge.  It was made mostly as directed by the original recipe with the exception of the use of a food processor to grate the potatoes and the addition of extra flour to create a workable dough.

The cost was nominal.  About half a 5 lb. bag of potatoes was used for about 75 cents and small portions of the meats and onion were used for about another $2.00.  Flour and spices were normal pantry staples.  The recipe made at least 14 large, dense dumplings.  Enough to serve at least seven adults.  That’s only about 40 cents per serving for the dumplings.

I doubted they would taste good after all the additional flour I needed to add, but they turned out better than I expected.  The potato dumpling was firm, dense and filling, while the filling added a bit of interest. What really made the meal was the Norwegian Christmas Cabbage.  It wasn’t part of the challenge, but really enhanced the overall meal.  The dumpling bites dipped in the juice from the sweet and sour cabbage dish was out of this world good!  Even my husband that has a dim view of ethnic foods, and especially cabbage, went back for seconds on the dumplings and cabbage!

What would I do different?  I don’t know if I would put the meat mixture into the dumplings in the future.  With the Swedish sausage as a side, the dumplings didn’t need the meat inside. It would be simpler to make plain potato dumplings.

Now for a bonus.  The Norwegian Christmas Cabbage was not officially part of the meat and potatoes challenge, but I thought I would include the link I used to make it as it really enhanced the dumplings.  recipebridge.com/…/norwegian-christmas-cabbage

I used the ingredients as listed with these exceptions:  I cooked and crumbled the bacon before cooking the cabbage instead of layering the uncooked bacon strips in the cabbage layers.  (Who likes soggy bacon?)  I also added the half onion I had left over from my dumpling recipe to cook with the bacon.  Lastly, I almost doubled the caraway seed.  I don’t think there is such a thing as too much caraway seed

***Update.  After reading more historic potato dumpling recipes, many of them to tell you to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the freshly grated raw potatoes.  The recipe I used had no such instruction, but perhaps assumed any one using this recipe would know to do that.  Had I tried to remove the excess moisture from the raw grated potatoes, perhaps the 2 cups of four would have been enough.