Learn to make decadent sweet treats from British 18th-century cuisine with these delicious but straightforward pastry recipes
Food defined an individual's place in British society during the 18th century.
Actions like drinking tea and buying certain cooking ingredients, such as sugar, coffee and fruits like oranges and raspberries, served as a barometer of societal taste and acceptance.
During this period, apricot kernels, beer, flour, butter and fruits were the main ingredients of most sweet recipes. What’s surprising is that many of those recipes are still around today, just slightly modified and under new names.
In this article, we’re covering five 18th-century pastry recipes with their original names for you to recreate at home. Enjoy!
Usually, served with tea, this is a light cake made with caraway seeds.
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbs caraway seeds
- 175g sugar
- 3 tbs milk or brandy
- 250g flour
- 175g salted butter
- 1 tbs ground almonds
- Preheat your oven to 180°C, then grease a 2-pound loaf pan and line with greaseproof paper.
- Cream the butter until pale, then add an egg and one tablespoon of flour and beat until fluffy. Do this with all the eggs.
- Mix the remaining flour with the ground almonds and caraway seeds and fold it into the mix.
- Add the milk or brandy.
- Pour the mix into the pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes. The desired result is a light cake that sticks a little to the top of your mouth and can be served with a nice cup of tea.
An orange baked batter on a thin puff paste.
- Rind of two Seville oranges
- 90g sugar
- 90g butter
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 16 egg yolks
- Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease a casserole dish, line it with greaseproof paper, and cover the dish with the sheet of puff pastry.
- In a mortar, crush and mash the oranges’ rinds to a fairly fine consistency.
- Add the butter, sugar, and egg yolks and beat it all together until creamy and yellowish.
- Spoon the batter into the casserole dish, and bake for 30-45 minutes or until the fork comes out clean.
If you don’t want to use a mortar, another way of doing this recipe is to grate the oranges’ rinds and mix them with the other ingredients. Just don’t forget to beat well until the consistency is that of a soft and fluffy mix.
A fine delicacy made of sugar covered-raspberries and pillowy soft filling, coated with thin puff paste.
- Thin puff pastry
- 240ml cream
- 2-3 egg yolks
- Some raspberries
- Refined sugar (for dusting)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease a patty pan and line it with greaseproof paper.
- Cover the pan with the thin puff pastry. Spread the raspberries over the entire pan, and sprinkle some refined sugar over the raspberries.
- Put the lid on and bake for a few minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Add the cream, well-beaten egg yolks, and some more sugar.
- Put the pan back in the oven for a couple of minutes or until the tart’s texture assembles that of a cookie.
- Let it cool, and serve with tea or any refreshing drink like lemonade or ginger ale.
A legendary meal accompaniment made of flour and milk.
- 28ml butter
- 50ml milk
- 1 and ⅕ tbsp yeast
- 900g flour
- Pinch of salt
- Warm the butter in a pan with the milk, then add the yeast the pinch of salt.
- Put all the flour in a second pan and add the previous mix. Let it rise for one hour.
- After the hour, knead the dough well and divide it into seven rolls.
- Bake it in a quick oven (an oven set to 230°C-260°C).
Please note that the original recipe doesn’t include a baking time, but according to industry standards, you should bake your bread rolls until they’re golden brown, which takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
A rich paste made of flour and butter, and what we know now as puff pastry.
An equal quantity of butter and flour, e.g. 900g each
- Measure out an equal bit of butter and flour and proceed to mix together.
- If necessary, wet the paste with a little water to make it less stiff. But don't add too much, or the puff paste won’t have the desired texture.
- Roll the paste out, put half of the remaining butter on the center and proceed to turn in the ends of the paste and roll it thin.
- Repeat the previous step with the remaining butter. Roll it thin again, but avoid touching the paste more than necessary.
Another way of doing this is by adding all the butter in the second step, so you’ll only have to turn in the ends and roll the paste thin twice instead of four times.
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