This is where I note my efforts as I try to recreate some old recipes. Most are taken from my small collection of handwritten recipe books which date from the late 1700's to around 1922. I also have a collection of old tatty old recipe books, well thumbed and heavily splashed from years of use. I love them all!

The old-fashioned very stylised handwriting writing is sometimes difficult to decipher, measurements and cooking instructions are minimal, no tin sizes given. Luckily I enjoy a challenge. Just to complicate things I cook and bake on my wood-fired Rayburn, which can be... unpredictable.

I suspect this blog is less about the food and more about my passion for these lovely old books and the wonderful women who wrote them.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Tweaked Chocolate Tart

The tart filling is rich and spicy thanks to a beautiful combination of really good chocolate laced with both cinnamon and lemon zest.

I found the recipe in the Georgiana Hill book 'A Year of Victorian Puddings' which was originally published in 1862, with the title 'Everybody's Pudding Book'.   It contains recipes for every month of the year.   There are minimal directions and no illustrations but I rather like that.

The recipe called for puff paste but I really don't like it, and neither does Max, so I decided to make a crunchy biscuit base instead - just butter and crushed digestive biscuits.

'Well beat the yolks of six eggs, add to them two dessert-spoonsful of flour, half a pint of new milk, two ounces of sugar, the fresh-grated rind of a lemon, a teaspoonful of powdered cinnamon, and a quarter of a pound of the best French chocolate scraped smooth.   Put all this into a saucepan, stir it over the fire until it gets pretty thick, then let it stand until cold.   Line a tart mould with a thin puff-paste, lay in the pudding, beat up the whites of the eggs to a very high froth, put them on the top, and bake for twenty minutes.  When done, sift sugar over it and glaze it with a salamander.'

Another couple of problems there: I don't like meringue and I certainly don't like plain whisked egg whites on the top of a pudding/tart, I could just have added sugar and made a proper meringue, but I decided to leave that topping off.

A couple of weeks ago it was my birthday and one of the gifts which Max gave me was some excellent chocolates and a large tin of Classic Drinking Chocolate.   The drinking chocolate is so delicious you could eat it straight from the tin, so I decided to sprinkle it on the top of the tart.   It worked a treat and also looked great.

So there you have it a slightly spicy and rich chocolate tart.   My chocoholic, Max, quickly dived in and declared it a complete success.  10/10 for this one.  I would definitely make my version again.


  1. Talk about making a recipe one's own! What a nice job of adapting this old Victorian tart! I think that chocolate crumbly topping is just a perfect embellishment! AND I'm intrigued by the lemon and cinnamon flavors in that chocolate cream pudding! Well done!

    1. Thanks Susan, I appreciate that. The lemon zest with cinnamon is definitely a combination that I will use again, perhaps in a chocolate cake or frosting. There is no doubt that some of these old recipes are well worth a visit, even if we have to adjust them to suit our tastes today.