Cakes and Custards of the 1860s – Part Two

The holidays are in full swing and now is the time to plan menus and treats for our friends and families.  This is a two part collection of cake and custard recipes from the November 1861 issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book.

Throughout the Civil War, Godey’s Lady’s Book carefully maintained a policy of not discussing the war and acting as an island of normalcy for American women.

This collection of recipes appeared in an issue dedicated to spreading the idea of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

These are the custard recipes.  The previous post has the cake recipes featured in the same article.


RICH CUSTARD — Boil a pint of milk with lemon-peel and cinnamon, mix a pint of cream and the yolks of eight eggs, well beaten; when the milk tastes of the seasoning, strain it, and sweeten it enough for the whole; pour it into the cream, stirring it well; then give the custard a simmer till of a proper thickness. Do not let it boil; stir the whole time one way. Or: Boil a pint of cream with some mace, cinnamon, and a little lemon-peel; strain it, and when cold, add to it the yolks of four and the whites of two eggs, a little orange-flour water, and sugar to your taste. A little nutmeg and two spoonfuls of sweet wine may be added, if approved. Mix well, and bake in cups.

RICE CUSTARDS — Sweeten a pint of milk with loaf-sugar, boil it with a stick of cinnamon, stir in sifted ground rice till quite thick. Take it off the fire, add the whites of three eggs, well beaten; stir it again over the fire for two or three minutes, then put it into cups that have lain in cold water; do not wipe them.

Holiday Rice Custard

Holiday Rice Custard

When cold, turn them out, and put them into the dish in which they ate to be served; pour round them a custard made of the yolks of the eggs and little more than half a pint of milk. Put on the top a little red currant jelly or raspberry jam. A pretty supper dish.

ORANGE CUSTARD — Boil very tender the rind of half a Seville orange, beat it in a mortar to a paste, put to it a spoonful of the best brandy, the juice of a Seville orange, four ounces of lump-sugar, and the yolks of four eggs. Beat all together ten minutes, and pour in by degrees a pint of boiling cream. Keep beating until the mixture is cold; then put into custard cups and set them in a soup dish of boiling water; let them stand until thick, then put preserved orange peel, in slices, upon the custard. Serve either hot or cold. Or: Take the juice of twelve oranges, strain it, and sweeten it well with pounded loaf-sugar, stir it over a slow fire till the sugar is dissolved, taking off the scum as it rises; when nearly cold, add the yolks of twelve eggs well beaten and a pint of cream; stir it again over the fire till it thickens. Serve it in a glass dish or in custard cups.

Sweet Potato Pudding

Sweet Potato Pudding

SWEET POTATO PUDDING — Beat to a cream one pound of sugar and one pound of butter; boil and pound fine two pounds of potatoes; beat the potato by degrees into the butter and sugar; add five eggs beaten light, one wineglass of wine, one of brandy, and one of rose-water; two teaspoonfuls of spice, and half a pint of cream.
Bake it in a crust. This will fill seven puddings.

EVE’S PUDDING — Take six large, fair, juicy apples; pare, core, and chop them fine; six ounces of bread crumbs, six ounces of currants, six eggs, and three ounces of sugar. Mix them well and boil in a mould or closely covered pan for three hours; serve with sweet sauce.

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