Category Archives: Doughnuts

Day 335: Shavings

The title of this recipe has intriqued me from the start but I thought it sounded challenging to make so I kept putting it off. Tonight I decided to tackle making Mrs. T. Hepburn of Preston’s recipe for Shavings. This is a recipe in the Doughnuts section of The New Galt Cook Book (1898).

Once I read this recipe a few times it began to make sense. First I made the dough and then I attempted to figure out the rest. I broke 2 eggs into a bowl and then filled a half an egg shell with milk. I did that twice. Basically this is 2 tablespoons of regular milk. I wasn’t sure if the instruction meant the equivalent to a full egg shell or just the half than can be filled. I opted for half the shell. Next I added 1 tablespoon of butter. I started adding flour and ended up using 2 cups. I stirred and hand mixed until everything was well mixed. I think melting the butter might be a better option than just a cold chunk of butter.

Next I had to figure out how to cut these as directed. I took a lump of dough and rolled it flat and round like a pie crust. How flat? Well since I was cutting them I decided to make it about 1/4 inch thick. Then I cut lines across all in the same direction but leaving about 1/3 inch from the edges. If you’ve ever made paper lanterns like we did this weekend at Waterloo Region Museum then you’ll have a good sense of how this should look. It is a bit like a one way lattice for topping a pie. I started heating my lard (I saved it from the cherry cakes on day 329). I tested by dropping a bit of the dough into the fat to check the temperature. Next I picked up the prepared dough shape trying to pick up by alternate “bars” and then dropped the entire thing in the hot fat trying to keep everything separate. I had to turn it over and then removed when it was golden. I sprinkled white granulated sugar on top and was ready to taste.

Mrs. T. Hepburn is becoming familiar. I made her Jumble recipe on day 297 so I don’t really having anything new to share about the former Emilie Hinderer.

Wow! It worked… well I think it worked. I wish I’d taken a picture since it is challenging to describe. It wasn’t lacy but it did have lines of puffy dough and it stayed as one oval piece. The texture was interesting. It was crispy but was lacking in flavour and was heavy rather than light and airy. There isn’t any leavening in the dough so I probably should have beat the eggs well before adding the other ingredients. Perhaps over mixing is the reason it is tough. Using melted butter might mean less mixing. I think icing sugar would work better than the granulated sugar.  I’d like to try this recipe again to experiment with the dough. However, the cutting technique makes a really different sort of fried treat. This recipe makes a small amount which suits the Hepburn family since there’s just Emily, her husband Thomas and their daughter Leila.

Mrs. T. Hepburn, Preston

Two eggs, butter the size of an egg, two egg shells sweet milk, flour enough to roll out; cut the size of a tea plate, cut this into strips, being careful not to cut the edges. Pick up each alternate strip and drop into boiling lard; fry a light yellow, sprinkle with sugar.


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Day 133: Crullers

After a beautiful sunny day today, the weather has just turned stormy with heavy rain, thunder and lightning so my idea about using the dandelions in my lawn for a salad accompanied by a dressing from The New Galt Cook Book (1898) is far less tempting. Instead I’m going to make something deep-fried. I’ll try the Cruller recipe contributed by Mrs. Irwin. It appears in the Doughnut section of The New Galt Cook Book.

Mrs. Irwin’s recipes looks like it will make far more crullers than I want or need so I’ll cut the recipe in half. I cracked 2 medium eggs into a bowl and added 1 cup of white granulated sugar. Next I melted some butter and added 1 1/2 tablespoons. The final liquid ingredient was 1/2 cup of regular milk. I decided to start with 1 cup of flour and 1 teaspoon of baking powder in another bowl. I grated a little nutmeg and then started to add the liquid. I alternated flour and liquid and ended up using another 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour to get a dough that seemed stiff enough for crullers. I melted some lard in a pot and once it was hot I started dropping the cruller dough in by the teaspoon. I took my usual precautions in dealing with hot fat. I had to turn the cruller when they were brown on one side since they didn’t seem to want to turn over on their own. When they seemed done I pulled them out to drain and prepared to taste.

Mrs. Irwin is a challenging woman. The only Irwin household I can find in Galt in 1891 consists of William (43), Martha (20), and Mary (23). The census makes it appear that both women are married to William. Could one be his wife and the other his sister? Or are both his sisters or even his daughters? It looks like none of the three are married at all so perhaps they are all siblings especially since all were born in England. William is listed as a druggist and Mary is a milliner. I wonder if she works in the shop pictured. It’s the Wilkinson’s in Galt which had a millinery section. If William marries in the next couple of years and stays in Galt it could be his wife who is the contributor of this recipe.

These crullers are a little disappointing. The dough is delicious but the end result didn’t work for me. I might not have used enough flour in making the dough. Perhaps it needs to be stiffer. Maybe I didn’t have enough melted lard so the crullers couldn’t float well. I tried making the crullers in various sizes but was afraid to add more flour since I thought they might sink and never reappear in the fat. It looks like I should have had more flour since apparently a cruller is supposed to be twisted before frying. That’s something impossible currently. I seem to have made more like a doughnut hole (or Timbit for Canadians).

Mrs. Irwin

Four eggs, two cupfuls sugar, three tablespoonfuls melted butter, one cupful sweet milk, two teaspoonfuls baking powder and a little nutmeg grated in flour enough to mix stiff. Fry in lard. Mix all together, then stir into the flour and baking powder.

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