Maria Parloa’s Peach Pie

Maria Parloa's Peach PieA 19th century recipe for peach pie caught my attention the other day, not just because I love peaches but because it called for whole unpitted peaches. My first thought was that this pie was a gift to the lazy cook — no peeling, no pitting! My second was that I might break a tooth eating it, but that was a risk I was willing to take.

Here is the recipe, from Maria Parloa’s The Appledore Cookbook (1872):

Line the plate with plain paste, and lay in the plate five peaches, which just press between the fingers, but do not take out the stones, as they flavor the pie; now fill the plate with peaches which have been cut in two and the stones taken out. Sift over this a small cup of sugar, and then add two spoonfuls of water. Cover and bake in a moderate oven one hour. Do not peel the peaches; they are very much better not to be.

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Rhubarb Pie

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When I started researching historic rhubarb recipes, I was surprised not to find any in 18th-century cookbooks. It turns out that rhubarb cultivation for food had just begun in Europe then, and it was nonexistent in North America. The root of this tart plant had been used medicinally in China for thousands of years, to treat indigestion and other problems. Rhubarb was eventually grown in Europe for medicinal use, but the stalks weren’t eaten until the mid-18th century, and rhubarb wasn’t a common food until the 19th century. Continue reading

Apple Pandowdy

apple pandowdy

Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
Makes your eyes light up
Your tummy say “Howdy.”
Shoo-Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy
I never get enough of that wonderful stuff…

My husband and I have been unable to stop singing this ditty ever since I made apple pandowdy recently. The song by Guy Wood, with lyrics by Sammy Gallop, is from the 1940s. (Here’s Dinah Shore’s recording.) Pandowdy, however, dates back to colonial times. It is a sort of pie made with sliced fruit — usually apples — sweetened with sugar or molasses, then topped with a rolled biscuit dough, or according to some old recipes, a pastry dough. Continue reading

Transparent Pudding

transparent puddingI wanted to make transparent pudding because the name seemed so intriguing — and I wanted to see if it was actually transparent. It’s not, but the filling is sort of cloudy. It’s also more like a pie, but in the 18th century, this type of dessert was called pudding. (For more on the complicated history of pudding in England and America, see foodtimeline.org.)  Continue reading

Cheshire Pork Pie

baked pork pie

I recently made a Cheshire pork pie from History is Served, a collection of recipes on Colonial Williamsburg’s history website. These recipes are by the staff of the Department of Historic Foodways, who re-create colonial food in demonstration kitchens at Williamsburg. This pie, which originated in Cheshire county in northwest England, is similar to what was made centuries ago, but in the updated recipe the pork is cooked ahead of time so that the pie safer to eat. Continue reading

Chicken Pot Pie

chicken pot pie

I don’t know what’s scarier about this pie from Amelia Simmons (American Cookery1796), the butter content or the fact that it’s baked with whole chickens inside:

“Pick and clean six chickens, (without scalding) take out their inwards and wash the birds while whole, then joint the birds, salt and pepper the pieces and inwards. Roll one inch thick paste … and cover a deep dish … put thereto a layer of chickens and a layer of thin slices of butter, till the chickens and one and a half pound butter are expended, which cover with a thick paste; bake one and a half hour.”

Chickens were smaller in colonial times, in case you were wondering how Simmons fit six chickens in one pie (I’m guessing it was also a very big pie). Continue reading