Monday, September 26, 2011

Lundi: Recipes

In the era known in England as the Georgian and in the U.S. as the Federal, special occasions called for special foods.  Dessert, a course that – hard though it may be to believe – was even more important in the late 18th and early 19th century than it is today, was surely no exception.  One of the most frequent offerings of any self-respecting hostess would be the small and beautiful confections known as rout-cakes.  These were especially coveted by ladies who enjoyed them after the theater or while gambling late into the night.

In Lobscouse & Spotted Dog, Anne Grossman and Lisa Thomas give an authentic and delicious recipe for rout-cakes.  They are a bit labor intensive, but these little trifles are certain to impress your guests or the customers at the next bake sale.

2 sticks (1/2 pound) butter
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
½ tsp almond extract
3 cups flour
Icing and colored sugar to garnish

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Separate two of the eggs and reserve the whites.  Cream butter and sugar together and then add the four whole eggs and two yolks, lemon zest and almond extract.  Cream these together thoroughly and then incorporate the flour one cup at a time.  

Scrape batter into a greased 10 inch baking dish (batter should be about 1 inch deep).  Bake for 30 minutes.  Note that lining the dish with greased parchment paper will make removing the cake a snap.

Let the cake cool a bit before turning it out on a rack to cool completely.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 200 degrees.

Spread your icing evenly over the top of the cake.  Cut the cake into small shapes; Grossman and Thomas suggest squares, diamonds or triangles.  Brush the sides of each piece with the reserved egg white and press them lightly into the colored sugar.  Place the cakes on a cookie sheet and dry them in the oven for about 10 minutes.

This recipe makes about four dozen 1 ½ inch cakes.  Bon appetite ~

Header: Engraving of an American family at dinner, early 1800s


Barbara Monajem said...

I mentioned rout-cakes in the story I'm writing, and thought I should make some to see what they're like -- so thank you for posting this!

Pauline said...

Wonderful! I hope the recipe works out well for you, Barbara.

Grossman and Thomas' book is full of excellent, period correct recipes referrenced in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels. Well worth looking into.

Timmy! said...

Sounds tasty, Pauline!

Pauline said...

Yes! They are a little extra work, but no more so than some holiday cookie recipes, I don't think.