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.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

A Superb Coconut Pudding from Jamaica, 1880

Sometimes it takes a while for a particular recipe to come to my attention.   
Max really likes coconut, so I am always looking for recipes which incorporate it,
so it is strange that I hadn't noticed it before.

It was written in this book in 1880, when it was noted that it was "given
to M.L.K. by a Cook in Jamaica".

This is how it is written up:

 Cocoanut Pudding

Grate 3/4 of a cocoanut on a fine grater.   Beat to a cream 2oz of butter with 4oz of sugar.   Then add 1 egg and beat for a few minutes, add another, and so on till you have put in 4, also the whites of 2 additional eggs.    Take 1 breakfast cup of finely grated bread soaked in a pint of boiling milk.    Mix all together adding the the cocoanut, juice of a lemon and 1 glass of brandy.  Pour the pudding into a mould.   Boil for 2 hours and serve with Brandy Sauce.

This morning I recklessly, and suddenly, decided to serve it as a pudding for a big Sunday lunch I was preparing for family and friends.   

When I tipped it out onto a serving plate it felt surprisingly light and I began to feel hopeful that it would be a success.

It was.   I could have done a Happy Dance, so could Max.   It was coconut heaven, most definitely unlike an English steamed pudding.

Coconut flavour with a definite hit of brandy - well, I had been quite generous with the glass-size!

The recipe suggested serving it with a Brandy Sauce, but as the others had some long hours of driving ahead of them, I decided that custard would be a safer option.

Everyone loved it and the dishes were soon empty, but not before I had time to grab a camera and take a few snaps.   Rough and ready snaps because I hadn't planned to post about the pudding but it was so light and scrumptious that it merits the post with bells and trumpets.

Well done that wonderful Jamaican Cook and well done the woman who thought to ask for the recipe.

The photographs are awful, but the pudding was delicious.  I will be making this pudding regularly, it was wonderful.  

It may make it easier if I write it up in a more modern style:

Coconut Pudding

3/4 of a coconut grated - I simply used dessicated, but I will try fresh next time.
2 oz butter
4 oz sugar
4 eggs plus  2 well beaten egg whites
1 breakfastcupful of finely grated breadcrumbs (white)
1 pint of boiling milk
Juice of a  lemon
1 glass of Brandy

Soak the breadcrumbs in a pint of boiling milk.
Cream the butter and sugar, gradually add four well beaten eggs, beating thoroughly between each addition.    Add the lemon juice, brandy, coconut, as well as the bread and milk.
Fold in the lightly beaten egg whites.

Pour into a buttered mould, tie down and steam for two hours.

I am already thinking about perhaps replacing the brandy with Bacardi or rum, just to test it out...     

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