Sunday, 27 October 2019

Fig Pudding

A short while ago, someone handed me a tattered old baking booklet from Royal Baking Powder, dated 1896. Full of basic recipes for cakes and buns plus the odd pudding. This one caught my eye immediately and I could not wait to try it. I will be bringing you a few more over the next year or so. I will use inverted commas when quoting the little booklet.

½ lb figs chopped [I am presuming dried figs?]
½ lb Bread Crumbs
½ pint Milk
2 oz Brown Sugar
¼ lb Suet, finely chopped
2 tablespoonfuls of Flour [plain]
¼ teaspoonful Nutmeg
2 Eggs
½ teaspoonful Royal Baking Powder

In the 1890s you would trot along to your local butcher and buy a piece of suet then grate or chop it yourself. My father was a butcher and I can still see my mother doing just that. Anyway, I will use Atora [not vegetable]. The milk would definitely have been full cream and I will also use soft dark brown sugar and stale white breadcrumbs from a loaf I had made.

“Put the Chopped Figs and Bread Crumbs into a bowl, boil the Milk and pour over them. Cover for a few minutes then stir in the Sugar, Suet, Flour, Nutmeg, and Eggs [well beaten] and Baking Powder. Mix thoroughly. Butter and Sugar a Basin, or mould, pour in the mixture and steam for two hours. Serve with sweetened Melted Butter”

Butter and Sugar a basin? I had never done that, so I used plenty of softened butter to grease the large basin, then generously sprinkled more soft dark brown sugar around the sides and bottom and tossed it around until all the butter was coated, discarding any loose.

Folk in those days would have used a muslin to cover but I used a double layer of baking parchment and foil, not forgetting to put a pleat in it to allow for the rise.

It was absolutely delicious, especially served with clotted cream!! I did not expect it to be so light either.  My family had seconds, although we did not try the sweetened butter. I will definitely be making this again.

Note: The booklet used capital letters for the ingredients.  I copied it as printed.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Atty’s Rich and Delicious Orange Cake!

The title says it all. Yet another of my old friend Atty’s fabulous cakes. It keeps well and needs to rest and absorb all those flavours for a few days before cutting. A great dessert for a special occasion, served with clotted cream! Yeah! In total I used 3 medium oranges.

You will need a 7 inch cake tin, with the base lined. Pre heat your fan oven to 160C.

6 oz softened butter
6 oz caster sugar
3 beaten eggs
6 oz SR flour
1 tablespoonful grated orange zest
2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the beaten eggs, one a time, Fold in the sifted flour then add the zest and enough juice to give you a soft dropping consistency.

Tip into your prepared tin and bake for about 35-40 mins. Turn onto a rack after a few mins. While your cake is starting to cool, prepare the amazing icing.

The Icing:

8 oz icing sugar
¼ pint [5 fl oz] fresh orange juice.
1 tablespoonful orange liqueur or brandy
1 heaped teaspoonful grated orange zest

In a medium bowl, sift the icing sugar and allow to dissolve in the orange juice and brandy.
Stir in the zest.

Stand the cooling rack over a large plate and using a very fine knitting needle or similar, make fine holes all over the cake. Spoon over the icing. Carefully collect the run off on the plate and continue to spoon it over until the cake has absorbed all of the juice.

Oh wow. When absolutely cold, wrap the cake in parchment or foil and place in an airtight tin in a cool place for about 3 days before tucking in.

A very special cake.

Note: you are pouring a large amount of liquid into the warm cake after baking. Don’t worry if it sinks a little while you are doing this.