Saturday, May 24, 2014

Doughnuts originated in Hertfordshire!

Dow Nuts (Mrs Fordham)

Receipt Book  (c1800)
A quarter of a Peek of Flower, a pound of moist Sugar, 10 Eggs {Yolks & Whites} one Nutmeg grated, 3/4 of a pound of fresh Butter, a quarter of a pint of Yeast. First melt the Butter over the fire in Milk; skim the Butter off. Mix the Sugar and Nutmeg with the Flour, making a hole in it at Top. Strain the Eggs and Yeast mixed together through a Sieve into the Flour; then put the Butter skimmed off the Milk into it also, with as much of the Milk as is necessary to make it into a paste. Let it stand by the fire half an hour to rise, throwing a Cloth over it. Then roll it out thick or thin as you like, cutting it into Nuts with a jagging Iron. Throw them into some Hogs-lard almost boiling hot; if quite boiling they are likely to be black, and if it does not near boil, they will be greasy. Stir them about with a skimmer with holes. Take them out with it, put them in a Cullender but do not put the hot ones to the cold, or they will be then heavy.

The thinner the Paste is rolled, the lighter and more cri[s]p it will be.
A little Sugar should be first put to the yeast and a little Milk, and set it by the Fire an hour to rise.

The Receipt Book of Baroness Elizabeth Dimsdale, c1800

An item in The Herts Record Society Newsletter (Spring 2014) relates to the history of the doughnut. Baroness Dimsdale collected a number of recipes over the years (some almost certainly in the late 18th century), including this one from a Hertfordshire friend. It appears to be the oldest known recipe for doughnuts.

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