[Historical Food Fortnightly is a year-long challenge series for those interested in historical foodways, or the study of how food, culture, and traditions have intersected throughout human history. Every fortnight a new themed challenge will be featured. As a participant, I take each challenge, select a relevant recipe, and prepare a historic dish. Please follow along, or join in yourself!]
One of the first things I did after getting back to Canada was check out my local farmer’s market (and I mean literally the day after arrival). I was so excited and inspired by the huge variety of fresh produce. One ingredient you absolutely cannot find in Japan is blackcurrants, so when I saw a big basket of them I knew they were destined for an historical recipe.
I’m way behind on my HFF challenges, so I felt it was a great opportunity to play a little catch-up. I used pretty basic recipes for fruit pies and pastry dough, which I found in Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book at Feeding America. The author, Catharine Beecher, was a well-known educator and home economist, so I felt she was a trusted source (sidenote: her sister is Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin!).
13. Pies (June 17 – June 30) Make a pie! Meat, fruit, sweet or savory; traditional pies, hand pies, standing pies, or galottes – get creative, but make sure it’s documented!
I was a bit nervous about this pie, and unfortunately it turns out I had good reason to be. Firstly, with no specific measurement of sugar, I added far less than I needed and the pie was extremely bitter. Secondly, with fresh, juicy berries and no thickener, the pie turned into a watery mess. The pastry was alright – not the best ever, but not awful either. It maybe could have done with a touch of sugar and an egg wash on top to make it more golden.
- I used about 1/4 cup of sugar, and it was not enough. I think at least double is necessary.
- I halved the ingredients for the crust (~2 cups of flour and 3/4 cup of butter) and it was the perfect amount for a top and bottom crust.
- I baked for an hour at 350F.
- The pie filling really needs some kind of thickener like cornstarch.