How to recreate these 18th century pastries

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Learn how to make decadent treats from 18th century British cuisine with these delicious yet simple baking recipes

Food defines 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 taste and societal acceptance.

During this period, apricot kernels, beer, flour, butter and fruit were the main ingredients in most sweet recipes. What is surprising is that many of these recipes still exist today, slightly modified and under new names.

In this article, we cover five 18th century pastry recipes with their original names that you can recreate at home. Enjoy!

Usually served with tea, it is a light cake made from caraway seeds.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 175g of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of milk or cognac
  • 250g of flour
  • 175g salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon ground almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C, then grease a 2-pound cake pan and line it with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter until it whitens, then add an egg and a tablespoon of flour and beat until fluffy. Do this with all the eggs.
  3. Mix the remaining flour with the ground almonds and caraway seeds and stir into the mixture.
  4. Add milk or brandy.
  5. Pour the mixture into the mold and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The desired result is a light cake that sticks a little to the top of the mouth and can be served with a good cup of tea.

Orange puff pastries sprinkled with icing sugar

A pastry cooked in orange on a thin puff pastry.

Ingredients:

  • Peel of two Seville oranges
  • 90g of sugar
  • 90g of butter
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 16 egg yolks

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Butter a gratin dish, line it with parchment paper and cover the dish with the sheet of puff pastry.
  2. In a mortar, mash and mash the orange zests until fairly fine.
  3. Add butter, sugar and egg yolks and beat until creamy and yellowish.
  4. Pour the batter into the casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the fork comes out clean.

If you don’t want to use a mortar, another way to make this recipe is to grate the orange zest and mix it with the other ingredients. Remember to beat well until the consistency is that of a soft and fluffy mixture.

Raspberry tart with puff pastry

A fine delicacy consisting of sugar-coated raspberries and a soft moist filling, wrapped in a thin puff pastry.

Ingredients:

  • Thin puff pastry
  • 240ml cream
  • 2-3 egg yolks
  • A few raspberries
  • Refined sugar (for sprinkling)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Butter a cake tin and line it with parchment paper.
  2. Cover the mold with the thin puff pastry. Spread the raspberries all over the pan and sprinkle refined sugar over the raspberries.
  3. Put the lid on and bake for a few minutes.
  4. Take the dish out of the oven. Add the cream, well beaten egg yolks and a little sugar.
  5. Return the pan to the oven for a few minutes or until the texture of the pie assembles that of a cookie.
  6. Let it cool and serve it with tea or any other refreshing drink like lemonade or ginger ale.

Lot of freshly baked bread rolls on wooden tray

A mythical meal accompaniment made from flour and milk.

Ingredients:

  • 28ml butter
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 and ⅕ tablespoon yeast
  • 900g flour
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Heat the butter in a saucepan with the milk, then add the yeast and a pinch of salt.
  2. Put all the flour in a second saucepan and add the previous mixture. Let rise for one hour.
  3. After an hour, knead the dough well and divide it into seven rolls.
  4. Bake in a quick oven (oven set at 230°C-260°C).

Please note that the original recipe does not include a baking time, but by industry standards you should bake your buns until golden brown, which takes about 20-30 minutes.

Raw puff pastry next to rolling pin

A rich dough made from flour and butter, and what we now know as puff pastry.

Ingredients:

An equal amount of butter and flour, e.g. 900g each

Instructions:

  1. Measure an equal amount of butter and flour and mix.
  2. If necessary, moisten the dough with a little water to make it less rigid. But do not put too much, otherwise the puff pastry will not have the desired texture.
  3. Roll out the dough, put half of the remaining butter in the center and continue to twist the ends of the dough and roll it thinly.
  4. Repeat the previous step with the remaining butter. Roll it again, but avoid touching the dough more than necessary.

Another way to do this is to add all the butter in step two, so you only have to flip the ends and roll the dough twice instead of four times.

Read more: The Complete Pastry Problem Solver

Read more: 10 homemade sweets

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