I recently purchased a cookbook published in 1857. Inside I found several recipes cut from the newspaper, none of them dated, unfortunately, but judging from the way they read I’d estimate 1860’s. There is a lemon pie recipe written on an old tablet sheet in pencil that I have tried unsuccessfully to read in order to preserve it. Between the fading of the pencil over the years and the difficulty reading the handwriting parts of it are purely conjecture. I will share a few from the newspaper clippings.
1 cup of molasses; 1 of sugar; 1 of sour milk; 1/2 of butter; 4 of flour; 2 eggs, well beaten; 2 teaspoons saleratus; 2 teaspoons of ginger.
Saleratus was sodium or potassium bicarbonate – a leavening agent like baking powder.
There were no instructions for mixing and baking, but I will share my method when I recreated the gingerbread.
Cream softened butter and add the cup of sugar. Add the beaten eggs and mix. Mix in the molasses.
I used baking powder for the leavening. Stir the baking powder and ginger into the flour.
To make sour milk add about 2 tablespoons lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk and let sit for maybe 5 minutes.
Add the flour and the sour milk alternately to the creamed mixture, and mix until blended. Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
For a pretty as well as tasty touch, serve the gingerbread with lemon curd and fresh whipped cream.
Brew a pot of coffee or tea, invite a friend over, and enjoy this gingerbread. Good food is meant to be shared.
Blissful meals, yall,
The Historic Foodie