English Toffee is the first candy we made and continues to be our most popular offering!
Who doesn’t like whipped cream?
While nothing beats thetaste of freshly whipped cream, we have no objections to the
Whipped cream, often sweetened and aromatised, was popular in the 16th century, with recipes in the writings of Cristoforo di Messisbugo Bartolomeo Scappi (Rome, 1570),and Lancelot de Casteau (Liège, 1604). It was called milk snow (neve di latte, neige de lait). A 1545 English recipe, “A Dyschefull of Snow”, includes whipped egg whites as well, and is flavored with rosewater and sugar. In these recipes, and until the end of the 19th century, naturally separated cream is whipped, typically with willow or rush branches, and the resulting foam on the surface would from time to time be skimmed off and drained, a process taking an hour or more. By the end of the 19th century, centrifuge-separated, high-fat cream made it much faster and easier to make whipped cream. The French name crème fouettée ‘whipped cream’ is attested in 1629, and the English name “whipped cream” in 1673.The name “snow cream” continued to be used in the 17th century.
Source – Wickipedia
Jacob Grimm was born on this day in 1785. He published Grimm’s Firy Tales with his brother Wilhelm. Among them the story of Hansel and Gretel.
“The tradition of baking the sweetly decorated houses began in Germany after the Brothers Grimm published their collection of German fairy tales in the early 1800s. Among the tales was the story of Hansel and Gretel, children left to starve in the forest, who came upon a house made of bread and sugar decorations. The hungry children feasted on its sweet shingles. After the fairy tale was published, German bakers began baking houses of lebkuchen –spicy cakes often containing ginger — and employed artists and craftsmen to decorate them. The houses became particularly popular during Christmas, a tradition that crossed the ocean with German immigrants. Pennsylvania, where many settled, remains a stronghold for the tradition. It is believed gingerbread was first baked in Europe at the end of the 11th century, when returning crusaders brought the bread and the spicy root back from the Middle East. Ginger wasn’t merely flavorful, it had properties that helped preserve the bread. Not long after it arrived, bakers began to cut the bread into shapes and decorate them with sugar. Gingerbread baking became recognized as a profession. In the 17th century, only professional gingerbread bakers were allowed to bake the spicy treat in Germany and France. Rules relaxed during Christmas and Easter, when anyone was permitted to bake it. Nuremberg, Germany, became known as the “Gingerbread Capital of the World” in the 1600s when the guild employed master bakers and artisans to create intricate works of art from gingerbread, sometimes using gold leaf to decorate the houses.”
—“Holiday Tradition with Spicy History,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, December 9, 2001 (p. N-9)
Gingerbread house contests are popular in the USA. Here in Boothbay, there is an annual contest held at the Opera House. Hopefully we will have an entry this year!
We make cream puffs on National Cream Puff Day, St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) or anytime we want a special dessert!
Choux a la creme, profiteroles and cream puffs are said to have originated in Renaissance France and Italy. Choux paste is different from other types of pastry because when cooked, it rises and the finished product has a hollow center. As was the custom of the day, these holes were variously filled with sweet or savory fillings. Cream puffs, as we know them today, are usually filled with custard or French cCremes. Chocolate (as a glaze or filling) was an 18th century addition.
“Choux pastry is a thick batter made from flour, milk, butter, and eggs. Its most typical application is in the making of small round buns (as used for profiteroles) known in French as choux, literally cabbages, from their shape–hence pate a choux, the pastry used for making them. The first reference to the term in English comes in the 1706 edition of Edward Phillips’s New World of English Words: Petits Choux, a sort of paste for garnishing, made of fat Cheese, Flour, Eggs, Salt, etc., bak’d in a Pye-pan, and Ic’d over with fine Sugar.’ But it was not really until the late nineteenth century that it achieved any sort of general currencey in English.”
—An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 75)
“From the sixteenth century onwards convents made biscuits and fritters to be sold in the aid of good works…Missionary nuns took their talents as pastrycooks to the French colonies. The nuns of Lima had a great reputation after the sixteenth century, and chocolate owes a great deal to the convents. The puff pastries called feuillantines were first made in the seventeenth century in a convent of that name…Sugar and chocolate had now arrived on the scene; from the time of Louis XIV onwards those delicacies became extremely popular…Gastronomy flourished in the nineteenth century…Fauvel, a chef working for the famous pastry cook Chiboust, invented the Genoese sponge and also had a hand in the creation of the gateau Saint-Honore, so called in honour of the patron saint of pastrycooks. It is garnished with choux pastry puffs, and choux pastry is also used in making eclairs and choux a la creme, and a kind of chocolate eclair known as the religieuse (nun), though no one knows why.”
—History of Food, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat [Barnes & Noble:New York] 1992 (pages 243-244)