Sunday, August 17, 2014

Recipes from Waterford's Earlier Years

Apple cranberry crisp.
The amazing Barn-to-Table event held at the Waterford church this past June, as a co-benefit for the church and the library's Waterford History interest group, served a capacity crowd of 80 people with delicious tastes of recipes connected with the barns that the history group is documenting for the town. Organizer Helen Chantal Pike saw clearly that people can enjoy learning while tasting!

My contribution was a half gallon of the old-time haymakers' thirst quencher known as switchel. I used a recipe from a collection of traditional Vermont cooks, adapting it to include maple syrup, which I've often heard as an ingredient in this drink, although the original wasn't written for it. Here's the switchel recipe, from the "Vermont Grange Favorites," modified the way I made it for the Barn-to-Table event:


2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Put all ingredients into a two-quart pitcher, Add cold water to make two quarts and stir well. Chill.

While we're on the topic of earlier recipes, Waterford has two cookbook collections of these, with the more recent one being a fundraiser for the fire department. For our July get-together, I baked 
BLUEBERRY BUCKLE CAKE from Laura Goodwin’s recipe in the fire department cookbook.

Doing this reminded me to look up, again, the differences among the various fruit dessert terms that were common a century ago, and even a generation ago. We're headed to apple crisp next, right? Or apple pan dowdy? Or apple brown betty? How many have you baked?

Here are some definitions of those dessert names (with thanks for some tips from baking pro Carol Pellegrinelli):

BUCKLE: Buckles are baked and are usually made in one or two ways. The first way is that bottom layer is cake-like with the berries mixed in (as in Laura’s recipe). Then the top layer is crumb-like. The second way is where the cake layer is on the bottom of the pan, the berries are the next layer and the top is the crumble mixture. Blueberry Buckle is the most prevalent Buckle recipe found.

COBBLER: The fruit filling is put in a deep baking dish and topped with a biscuit dough. The dough may completely cover the fruit or it may just be dropped in handfuls. Either way, a cobbler is baked.

CRISP: In this baked dessert, the fruit filling is covered with a crunchy topping that is crumbled over the top. (Similar: the CRUMBLE, in which the topping is crumbled on top.)

GRUNT: A grunt is a stewed or baked fruit dish. Biscuit dough is rolled and put on top of the fruit. The name of grunt may have come from the noise people made while eating it. Grunts are also known as slumps.

PAN DOWDY or PANDOWDY: You'll find both spellings in this baked dish. The dough is on top of the fruit and although it is rolled out, it ends up being crumbly.

SLUMP: Same as grunt.

BROWN BETTY: Traditional baked American dessert made from fruit (usually apples, but also berries or pears) and sweetend crumbs, which are in layers between the fruit. Dates back to at least 1864, and an 1877 recipe uses apple sauce and cracker crumbs. Also known as one of the favorite desserts of Pres. and Mrs. Reagan in the White House.

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