As I’ve mentioned before I have a bit of a thing for kitchenalia. Trust me, if I had a big farmhouse kitchen nailed to all the beams would be random pans and Victorian jelly moulds. At moment my collection is very much orientated around vintage cookbooks. I love looking at the recipes and ingredients. The one thing great about a lot of old cookbooks is that they are plain and simple. They don’t beat around the bush and unsurprisingly the recipes often work really well. They are also the kind of book that tells you how to be a good wife and look after your servants. I think Hubby is still wishing I would follow some of the advice in the books.
Stuffed in the back of one of the books given to me by Grandma was a catalogue from one of the local grocers. Unfortunately the grocer is no longer but some googling shows it was an important and well known place within the local community. Within the catalogue is adverts for long-gone products, apart from the Rowentrees Cocoa. The Rowentree advert means I can date the catalogue to around 1910, so Grandma must have been given this cookbook by her mother. I love looking at the claims the various products make. I don’t think you would get away with it now! By clicking on the pics you can see the adverts in more detail.
Yesterday I had the craving to make Jam Tarts and while flicking through a copy of a Good Housekeeping book called The Home Book, from around 1920’s-1930’s, I stumbled across a recipe for Welsh Cheesecakes. One thing about old cookbooks, they often don’t have pictures, however they sometimes tell you how to present the dish. Even with the basic presentation instructions I still wasn’t 100% what they were meant to look like, let alone taste like. To be honest I’m not sure why these are called a cheesecake as there is no cheese in them. Some research suggests that the term “cheesecake” in olde English may mean just a tart, but I’m not sure.
A few years ago I did have a bit of a pastry phobia and have tried many shortcrust recipes over the year, but always come back to this recipe as it always works perfectly. These cakes are essentially jam tarts with a basic sponge topping. The pastry worked out at the perfect short texture and the buttery sponge helped offset the sweet jam. It’s very difficult to just eat just 1 of these little dainty cakes with my morning cup of tea. Tonight we may have a few warm with some Cherry Beer Ice Cream. mmmmm… As this is a 80 or so year old recipe I’ve kept it in old style ounces rather than grams.
Makes 12 individual cakes
8 oz plain flour
4 oz unsalted butter, cold from the fridge and cubed
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
cold water (you’ll need no more than 1/4 pint)
2 oz plain flour
2 oz unsalted butter
2 oz caster sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1) First get started on the pastry. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
2) Add the chilled water a small amount at a time and mix with a knife until you have a good dough. Roll into a ball, cover in cling film and chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
3) Cream together the butter and sugar then beat in the egg. Fold in the sieved flour and baking powder until you have a smooth cake batter.
4) Roll out the pastry until around 5mm thick. Using a 3 inch cutter, cut rounds and press gently into a bun tin. Place a small amount of jam on top of the pastry then top with 1 tsp of the cake batter. Using the scraps place a cross of pastry on top of the batter.
5) Bake at 200oc for 10 min, or until well risen and golden.