A few treats from Edwardian times

  • Updated: January 9, 2013 - 5:32 PM

Potato Puffs, Raspberry Meringue Pudding

Potato Puffs

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POTATO PUFFS

Makes about 21 small puffs (5 to 7 servings).

Note: A 1920s cookbook recommends these potatoes as a side dish for a pre-theater dinner. They would accompany a green vegetable, such as peas or green beans, on a serving platter. In Edwardian times, there were no Yukon Gold potatoes -- they weren't widely available until 1980 -- but because they perform so well with this treatment, we don't feel guilty about being historically inaccurate. Also, back then the kitchen staff would have forced the potato-onion mixture through a fine sieve to obtain a smooth-as-silk purée. You can do that if you like, but we thought the potatoes were good without that step. The potato mixture can be covered and refrigerated a day in advance; or the balls can be formed and rolled in the crumbs and then refrigerated, loosely covered, a day in advance. Bring to room temperature before baking. Adapted from "Kitchen Essays," by Agnes Jekyll (first published in 1922 by Thomas Nelson & Sons, reprinted in 2008 by Persephone Books).

• 1 medium onion, cut into 8 wedges

• 2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters, or into sixths if the potatoes are large

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 2 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

• 2/3 c. plain fine dried bread crumbs (may substitute finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for half of the bread crumbs)

• 1/4 c. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Directions

Line a work surface with a few layers of paper towels.

Fill a large pot with several inches of water, add the onion wedges and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the onion is very soft, about 40 minutes, keeping the water at a low boil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onion to a colander and allow to drain for several minutes, then transfer to the paper towels. Use more paper towels to press on the onion, extracting as much of the moisture as possible. Transfer to a blender and purée until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with nonstick cooking oil spray.

Add the potatoes to the water in the pot; add water if needed to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain in a colander.

Return the empty pot to the stove over medium heat. Return the potatoes to the pot and cook, tossing, for 1 to 2 minutes or until their moisture has evaporated.

Use a potato ricer to shred the potatoes into a large mixing bowl, or place the potato pieces in the mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher.

Add the puréed onion to the potatoes and combine, then quickly beat in the butter and egg yolks. Add the salt and pepper. Beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons cream, keeping the mixture thick enough to hold its shape; if it is too thin, return the mixture to the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, to dry it out a little.

Use a fork to beat the remaining whole egg in a small bowl. Spread the bread crumbs on a small plate. Use your hands to form the potato mixture into 21 golf-ball-size balls (about 11/2 ounces each). Brush the balls with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a little parsley, then dip them in the crumbs, rolling to coat evenly. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until heated through. The potato balls will brown slightly. Serve hot.

Nutrition information per each of 3 puffs:

Calories 220 Fat 8 g

Saturated fat 4 g Sodium 240 mg

Carbohydrates 33 g

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 93 mg Calcium 49 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 bread/starch, 1 1/2 fat.

RASPBERRY MERINGUE PUDDING

Serves 6.

Note: This makes 12 large meringue cookies, though only 6 are needed to top the pudding. Enjoy the others later with a cup of tea. The meringues must be made at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks in advance. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. The pudding needs to chill for at least 4 hours; it improves in texture after an overnight rest in the refrigerator. Adapted from "Abbey Cooks Entertain," by Pamela Foster (Pamela Powered, 2012).

For the meringues

• 4 egg whites, at room temperature

• 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

• 1 c. superfine sugar

• 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the pudding

• Unsalted butter, for greasing the casserole dish

• 2 c. nonfat milk

• 2/3 c. superfine sugar

• 4 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg

• 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

• 11/4 c. plain fresh bread crumbs

• Finely grated zest of 2 lemons (about 2 tbsp.)

For assembly

• 3/4 c. seedless raspberry jam

• 1 pint fresh raspberries

• Superfine sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

For the meringues: Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silione liners.

Beat the egg whites on high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Once the egg whites are foamy, add the cream of tartar and beat until the whites hold soft peaks, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar a little at a time, beating until the meringue is shiny and holds very stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Test to make sure the meringue is ready by rubbing a little between your thumb and finger. When it is no longer gritty, you are good to go.

Create 6 equal-size mounds of meringue on each baking sheet. You can swirl the tops with a spoon or pipe the meringue through a bag fitted with a large star tip.

Transfer the baking sheets to the oven, reduce the heat to 275 degrees and bake for 60 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through. The meringues are done when they are pale and fairly crisp and sound hollow when gently tapped on the bottom.

Turn off the oven, open the door a crack and leave the meringues in the oven for at least another hour to dry.

For the pudding: Boil a kettle of water. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a large casserole dish with butter.

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and slowly bring it to a boil over medium heat.

Combine the sugar, 4 egg yolks and 1 whole egg in a medium bowl, whisking until the mixture is light and creamy. Temper the egg-sugar mixture by adding a bit of the hot milk while whisking constantly, to keep the eggs from scrambling. Gradually whisk that egg-sugar mixture into the hot milk. Strain the hot milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding any solids. Stir in the vanilla extract, fresh bread crumbs and lemon zest, and combine well.

Pour the pudding mixture into the casserole dish, place in a roasting pan and transfer to oven. Fill the roasting pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Keep checking until the pudding is almost set, yet still slightly wobbly in the center. Remove the dish from the water bath and place it on a wire rack to cool. Cover the cooled custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.

For assembly: Melt the jam in a small saucepan over low heat. (Alternatively, place the jam in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium for 30 seconds. Stop and stir well. If necessary, continue to microwave the jam on medium at 10-second intervals until it has reached a fluid consistency.)

Just before serving, place scoops of the pudding on 6 individual serving plates. (You can use a ring mold or biscuit cutter for a cleaner round shape.) Top with the melted jam, the 6 most presentable-looking meringues and fresh raspberries. Sprinkle the superfine sugar over each portion. Enjoy the rest of the meringues later.

Nutrition information per serving with 1 meringue:

Calories 367 Fat 4 g Sodium 122 mg

Carbohydrates 75 g Saturatedfat 1 g Protein 8 g Cholesterol 153 mg Calcium 152 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 5 other carb, 1 lean meat.

SAUTÉ Chicken Lyonnaise

Serves 6.

Note: As the "Downton Abbey" series first opens, the Titanic has just sunk, taking with it the heir of the elegant Yorkshire estate. Perhaps he had recently eaten this dish, served to the ship's first-class passengers as part of a multi-course dinner. French food -- or at least food with French names -- was quite popular in England in the early 1900s. We don't know the exact recipe of the dish served on the Titanic, but food cooked "a la Lyonnaise" probably would have included onions, tomato and vinegar. Adapted from "Abbey Cooks Entertain," by Pamela Foster (Pamela Powered Inc., 2012).

• 1/3 c. flour

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped (may substitute 1 tbsp. dried thyme), divided

• 1 egg

• 6 (about 21/2 lb. total) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (tenderloins removed), patted dry

• 3 tbsp. vegetable or olive oil, divided

• 2 onions, thinly sliced

• 1 large garlic clove, minced

• 1/3 c. white wine

• 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

• 2 tsp. tomato paste

• 1 c. homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth

• Pinch sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to lowest possible temperature.

Place the flour, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon thyme in a sturdy plastic food storage bag, seal and shake to combine. Beat the egg in a medium bowl. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces into the beaten egg, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, then transfer to the bag. Seal and shake to coat the chicken in the flour mixture. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the chicken pieces in the pan, smooth side down, working in batches if necessary. Cook for 5 minutes, until golden brown, then turn the pieces over and cook for 5 minutes, until golden brown on the second side. (The chicken will not be cooked through.) Transfer to an ovenproof platter and place in the oven to keep warm.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Stir in the onions, garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until a light golden brown.

Add the wine and vinegar; cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits, for about 3 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir in the tomato paste, then the broth and sugar. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes or until the sauce is slightly reduced. Return the chicken to the skillet, along with any accumulated juices. Turn the chicken pieces to coat them with the liquid, then cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or until the temperature of the thickest part of a chicken piece registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates and spoon the sauce over the chicken.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 345 Fat 13 g Sodium 275 mg

Carbohydrates 9 g Saturated fat 3 g Protein 44 g Cholesterol 120 mg Calcium 38 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 bread/starch, 6 lean meat.

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