Sunday, March 8, 2015

Historical Food Fortnightly: Challenge #20

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge #20: 

"Descriptive Foods"

The ChallengeFoods served at notable events in history 
What kind of food was served at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth? What did Benjamin Franklin eat at the Constitutional Convention? Find a food item that was served at a notable event in history, research the recipe, and recreate the dish.

The event I initially chose was Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. Marking 50 years on the throne, the empire-wide celebration lasted all day on June 20, 1887. It began with an outdoor breakfast at Frogmore where Prince Albert was buried and ended with an elegant banquet for foreign kings and princes, along with the governing heads of Britain's overseas colonies and dominions. (Wikipedia)

Regular people celebrated with recipes they could make at home. Recipes like Jubilee Cakes, Jubilee Tea Cakes, Jubilee Buns, and Jubilee puddings appeared in cookbooks. 
Ivan Day, "Jubilee Food Revisited", Food History Jottings

Ivan Day found this recipe for Jubilee Cakes
Robert Wells, The Bread & Biscuit Baker's and Sugar Boiler's Assistant. 2nd Edition (London: 1890).

Not having a kitchen scale or possessing math skills, I opted for the easier to make Queen Elizabeth II's Homemade Drop Scones recipe sent to President Dwight Eisenhower after his informal visit to Balmoral in 1959. President Eisenhower was greeted with enthusiasm by the British people for his heroics during the war. The President traveled around Europe to before his visit to Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev. Eisenhower met with a pregnant Queen Elizabeth, despite her plan to avoid public appearances until the birth of her child, and spent a night at Balmoral.
Life Magazine, Vol. 40, no. 7, Sept. 7, 1959.
Reading Eagle, August 28, 1959

The Recipe: 
Apparently, Eisenhower was so taken with the drop scones served for tea, he request the recipe. On January 24, 1960, the Queen sent a handwritten reply to his request along with the recipe.

Click Americana Queen Elizabeth II, via the National Archives American Bicentennial exhibit, 200 Years of Collections at the National Archives

How Did You Make It:
First I made my own castor sugar by grinding granulated sugar in my Rocket Blender. 

I halved the recipe and then stupidly blindly followed directions, forgetting to proof the baking soda in milk and cream of tartar.

The mixture did bubble and start to rise. I had to add more flour because the dough was very very wet.

I scooped out the batter onto greased baking sheets.

 The recipe did not include baking temperature/time so I consulted Mary Berry's scone recipe and baked my scones at 425 for 13 minutes.

Time to Complete: Half an hour.

Total Cost:
I don't know. We had all the ingredients on hand. 

How Successful Was It?:

So-so. Not something I'd serve to Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry on the Great British Bake Off/British Baking Show but decent. The bottoms came out a bit too brown. They taste like biscuits rather than the Scottish scones I'm used to. I'm still waiting for my clotted cream to come in the mail so I made do with margarine and blueberry preserves. 

How Accurate Is It?: 
100% for Queen Elizabeth II, moderately for Queen Victoria.

1 comment:

  1. Drop scones aren't baked, QNPoohBear. The reason the dough was very wet is because the mixture is dropped onto a griddle or into a frying pan: "Heat a frying pan smeared with some oil and drop spoonfuls of the batter into the pan and cook for 1 min or until the surface of each pancake is covered in bubbles. Flip over when some of the bubbles start to pop."


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