Color plate #1 – Cocoa fruit pudding and chocolate cream pie
Well, that’s not what it’s called, actually – the cookbook is a hundred-year old general cookbook, put out by Lowney’s – a turn of the last century chocolate manufacturer. The company does not seem to exist any more, for most of the google-mentions I can find for lowney+chocolate are for faded memorabilia. They seem to have invented the brownie, though – all hail! The cookbook they published in 1907, with a revised edition in 1912 might be taken in part as an early version of the sort of corporate publication skewered gloriously by James Lileks in The Gallery of Regrettable Food – mostly because there are a lot of recipes for chocolate in it. Not because of the various color plates inserted – which are actually rather demure and tasteful. Except maybe for the plates involving cuts of beef. No; overall the battered and next-thing-to-falling apart cookbook that my daughter picked up at an estate sale is an interesting cultural relic; it was a useful bridge between eras – between indigestible Victorian and conventional late 20th century.
And I promised to post a couple of representative and amusing recipes from it on the Splendid Table pages; representative, amusing, doable in a modern kitchen, and maybe even appealingly edible.
Recipe #1: Mushroom Ketchup.
(Believe it or not, ketchup was a condiment made from things other than tomatoes. Lowney’s has a recipe for cucumber ketchup, too.)
Arrange layers of mushrooms and salt in preserving kettle: let stand on back of stove for 12 hours. Press through a sieve and measure. For every quart of mushroom liquor, add 1 pint vinegar, 1 Tbsp salt and 2 Tbsp each of cloves, mace, allspice and mustard seed. Boil until thick, then bottle.
Now the good stuff. Chocolate!!!!
Color plate #2 – Chocolate hermits and chocolate Swedish meringues
Lowney’s Chocolate Hermits:
Cream ½ cup butter and add 2/3 cup sugar, 2 eggs, ½ cup seeded raisins, 2 cups flour in which ¼ tsp salt and 2 tsp baking powder has been blended, 1 tsp cinnamon, and ¼ cup Lowney’s Always Ready Chocolate Powder dissolved in 2 Tbsp hot water. (Suppose you can use unsweetened cocoa powder as a suitable sub.) Drop dough by teaspoon-full onto a buttered baking sheet and place a whole raisin in the center of each hermit, and bake in a moderate oven. (My guess is about 350° for about 15 minutes.)
Cocoa Fruit Pudding:
Chop 2/3 cup beef suet, 1 cup chopped dried figs and 2 ¼ cup soft bread crumbs in a meat chopper. (Probably use a food processor for this.) Add 1 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1/3 cup milk and ½ tsp salt. Steam for three hours. Serve with Hot Chocolate Sauce and cream sweetened and flavored.
Presumably this pudding batter is poured into a lightly-buttered steamed pudding mould with a latched cover, and then boiled in a deep saucepan for three hours. Don’t knock this process – it makes a very delicate and cake-like pudding.
Color plate #3 – Chocolate Bavarian cream and chocolate trifle
Chocolate Bavarian Cream
Ah, at last something more to contemporary American taste!
In a double-boiler melt 2 ounces Lowney’s Premium Chocolate (I am guessing here that semi-sweet baking chocolate is a suitable sub, based on the amount of additional sugar called for – YMMV). Add ½ cup sugar, 4 egg yolks, 2 cups milk, ¼ tsp salt and simmer until mixture is thickened. Soak 2 Tbsp powdered unflavored gelatin in ¼ cup cold water, and add to egg-chocolate-milk mixture. Stir until gelatin is dissolved, then strain through a sieve and cool until just beginning to set. Fold in 2 cups whipped cream, pour into mold and set until hardened. Un-mold and garnish with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
Right then – anyone ready for more 100-year old recipes?