Treasure 12: Clara Palmer-Morewood’s Recipe Book

The Record Office has many household recipe books (or receipt books as they were known), dating back to the 17th Century.  Our twelfth treasure is the 1830s recipe book of Clara Palmer-Morewood of Alfreton Hall.

Recipe books of this time combine cookery recipes with medicinal and veterinary cures as well as beauty treatments.  Clara’s is a great example, with recipes for fashionable foreign dishes such as ‘fromage fondue’, ‘petty shoes’ (petit choux!) and ‘Spanish fritters’, but also ‘a cure for dogs who are troubled with the snort’, lip salve and a recipe to wash chintz amongst other delights.

Many of Clara’s recipes have been contributed by friends and relations, whose names are given beside each recipe, so the book also gives an insight into Clara’s social circle.  You can see a full list of recipes and their contributors on our online catalogue here, or read some of Becky’s transcriptions of the recipes for rabbit soup, lobster curry, sponge cake, gingerbread, pancakes, ginger beer, mince pies, and biscuit puddings on this blog.

What really makes Clara’s book a treasure, though, is that it has a recipe for Bakewell Pudding dated 1837.  It is a really delicious and easy recipe, which I’ve now made several times!  Legend has it that this local speciality was invented by accident in the 1860s.  Clara’s book shows that this local legend can’t be completely true – and Ivan Day’s excellent research into this question has revealed some even earlier Bakewell Pudding recipes.

D7555/1 Clara Palmer-Morewood recipe book, Alfreton Hall

If you’d like to make the pudding yourself, here’s how to do it:

Line a 7 inch (18cm) metal pie dish with puff pastry.  Spread a couple of tablespoons of jam over the bottom and scatter over some candied orange peel, if you like it, and flaked almonds to taste (about 50g).  As an alternative to jam you can use dried cherries or raisins, finely chopped.  Cherries are better as they are a bit more tart.

In a bowl put 4 egg yolks, 1 egg white, 4 oz (100g) melted better, cooled, and 4 oz (100g) sugar.  Beat for a couple of minutes with an electric whisk until fluffy, pour into the pie dish and bake in the middle of the oven at 180 degrees centigrade (gas mark 5) for 30-35 minutes.

If you give it a try, do leave a comment to let us know whether you enjoyed it!

1837 Bakewell Pudding now on sale

Following our recent discovery of possibly the earliest written example of a recipe for the famous Bakewell Pudding, Carolyn and Richard Young have recreated the pudding from Clara’s recipe and it is now on sale in their Original Farmers Market Shop in Bakewell. Here are some photos of their dish

Don’t forget to send us your pictures of dishes created to our historical recipes and we will feature them here too

Early Bakewell Pudding Recipe

Here is the recipe for a Bakewell Pudding discovered in the recipe book of Clara Palmer-Morewood, one time resident of Alfreton Hall. Dated as it is in 1837 it is possibly the first ever documented version of the almond dessert which local legend claims was invented by accident in the 1860s. Why not have a go at making the famous local dish yourself to this unique 1837 recipe? And don’t forget to let us know how you get on, and send your pictures in (Record.Office@derbyshire.gov.uk) and we’ll put them up here.

D7555/1 Clara Palmer-Morewood recipe book, Alfreton HallIt reads: “Lay a Puff paste over a tin, open tart mould, put into it two dozen raisins stoned and chopped fine (Dryed cherries would be better) Almonds cut thin, candied orange peel, or any kind of Preserve. Beat well the yolks of four eggs, & the white of one, add ¼ lb of clarified butter, & some powdered sugar, beat all together & fill up the mould with the mixture, (Lemon would improve it) bake it in a slow oven – to be eaten cold & sprinkled over with powdered sugar. 1837”

(click image to enlarge)

We will be adding more recipes from Clara’s book (including some medicinal and gardening “recipes”) over the coming weeks, so keep an eye for more delicious dishes to try your hand at