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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Shrewsbury Cakes

I borrowed a cookbook by Richard Sax called Classic Home Desserts. It interested me because I like old recipes from pioneers and Victorian Era. I find their food very interesting both from survival perspective (pioneers and homesteaders) and extravagance (Victorian house management).

This book is quite extensive. I wouldn't say the recipes are the original recipes from way back when. Rather they are recipes that have been modernized and from hotels or chefs that the author has tried the dishes and begged for their recipes. This book has won the Beard Award, if it means anything to you.

Keeping to my 2011 New Year Resolution, I was planning only to photocopy a couple of recipes. As well, a brand new book is not available at Amazon and no reordering is planned. I also felt the book had too many fruit recipes. For me, I'd rather eat fresh fruit than make fruit recipes. So photocopying was my best choice.

I went though the entire book (it's huge, over 400 pages) and read each introduction of the recipe and sometimes the full recipe to see if it was simple for me to replicate. I bookmarked the recipes I wanted to photocopy.

When I finished reviewing the book, which was hard because I fell asleep at least 3 times (reading a recipe book is not what I consider fun), I found that the book was bulging. Why? Because of all the bookmakers I put in to photocopy.

I decided that if I'm going to photocopy that many recipes, I might as well buy the book. I guess if I wait until 2012 to buy, then I've kept my resolution!!

Back to my Baking
I decided that since I have the book and before I pay $35 for the book, I should at least try a recipe or two. I didn't want to shop for ingredients because I was too lazy so I looked for recipes with ingredients I already had.

I decided to make Shrewsbury Cakes, pronounced "Shrows-bry"

The History:

This was recipe was based from a recipe in 1796. It was named after a borough in western England. Earlier English versions were often spiced with ginger or cinnamon.

Shrewsbury cakes appear in early-American cookbooks but once they came to America from England, they seem to die out back home, similar to pumpkin pie.

How to Make:
First take soften butter

and mix with sugar and freshly grounded nutmeg.

Beat until mixed well.

Add 1 egg and beat.

Add flour and mix.

Roll into a log between wax paper.
Store in refrigerator for 1 hour.

After chilled, take it out and unwrap from wax paper.

Cut into small disks (mine were not disk shape because it wasn't rolled well)

Bake for 8 minutes and voila.

Final Thoughts:
This was a very very easy recipe that's quick to make when craving something sweet. Nice thing about this is one piece is satisfying so you won't overeat.

It is quite rich as it mainly contains butter, sugar and flour. The nutmeg gives it a nice subtle spice. I would make it again.

The book seems worthwhile buying. I'll have to make more things before I can really comment too much on it.

See ya!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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