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.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Sweet Potato Pudding

Another scrumptious pudding, this one was made with sweet potatoes.

Unadorned, it looks very ordinary, but scatter a few berries and it is transformed into a thing of beauty.
I tried some while it was warm and it was a very pleasing sweet flavour and had the texture of a slightly alcoholic egg custard tart.

Today, after a night in the refrigerator, it had become slightly more dense but was just as delicious.

I have several recipes in my books.   I contemplated making this one...

In the end I decided to make one from another book of recipes.     I couldn't resist, once I had seen that it actually had the name of the woman who had given the recipe to cook.

So here we have:    

Mrs Butler's Sweet Potato Pudding

Line a dish with puff paste 1 lb boiled sweet potatoes beaten in a marble mortar with one quarter lb of butter 4 oz sugar 1/4 pint of cream four spoonfuls of brandy candied orange peel cut thin and the yolk of 8 eggs well beaten a little salt.

No instructions about mixing or baking, but that is pretty normal.

No way was I going to use 8 egg yolks.   I reduced everything by half and also had to omit the candied peel because I had used it all up in baking a batch of gingerbread biscuits.

So, my version was:
I lined a dish with leftover shortcrust pastry and plaited the rim, just because I could.    Then I baked it blind, making sure that the base was nice and dry.

1/2 lb boiled sweet potatoes which I pushed through a sieve and then mixed with 2 oz butter, 2 oz sugar and 1/8 pint of cream.   I added two tablespoonful of brandy and 4 well beaten egg yolks.  Poured it all into the pastry dish and put it back into the oven.

I baked it (in my moody Rayburn, no wind to cheer it on) at around 170 degrees until I was happy with the degree of wobble.

Thank you Mrs Butler and thank you to the mystery woman who wrote her recipes in that particular book.  

Yes, I would make it again, it was lovely.


  1. We would call that sweet potato pie here in the States. Its very popular in the South. I prefer pumpkin.

  2. Hello Marcia, I have quite a number of old recipes which call for regular white potatoes, but only these two for sweet potatoes, so I guess they were quite unusual over here at that time. I imagine that it was quite a special dish to present to table!

  3. Mrs Butler must have lived on a chicken farm. I wouldn't have used 8 eggs either. Too much. Your version sounds delicious. The word 'egg custard' puts me off from making it, well and sieving the sweet potatoes, but I would love to eat some!!!
    Any leftovers?

  4. Hi Linda, They were pretty lavish with the use of butter and eggs!
    Our three remaining hens didn't even produce one egg between them yesterday. Just as well they are pets...