Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mrs. Goodfellow - Lemon Pudding before the Meringue

Mrs. Goodfellow (1767-1851) made a lemon pudding (pie) at her cooking school and shop in early Phila. (more HERE).  I've not found any proof that she created the first lemon meringue pie, as some claim - unlikely since she used whole eggs and first claim (no source) was in a 1987 book. Her lemon pudding was popular and copied into several local authors' cook books.  More details and three recipes are below.

Cookbooks with Goodfellow's lemon pudding
The recipe first appeared in her student, Eliza Leslie's (1787-1858) first book from her cooking school notes - Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, cakes, and Sweetmeats.  Two years later, a Philadelphia publisher, James Kay, jun. added American recipes to his 1830 edition of a very popular Mackenzie’s Five Thousand Receipts with a slight flavor change using Madeira and orange flower water. (see below).  This recipe was used later in a Godey’s magazine in 1874.

In her last book Miss Leslie's New Cookery Book 1857, Leslie claimed the lemon pudding was 'introduced' by Mrs. Goodfellow who had died in 1851.  She hadn't stated that in previous works, or that she was using her cooking class notes in her first cookbook. It may have been useful to finally admit she had been a student (thus having the original recipe) to sell the new cookbooks to Mrs. Goodfellow's old customers, or the locals who remembered her, and who couldn't obtain a favorite dessert from the shop anymore.

Many, many lemon pudding recipes
Every cookbook during her time period seemed to contain at least one lemon pudding/pie made of lemon juice, zest, butter, sugar and eggs but differed by:
1) whole eggs, butter and sugar (Leslie, American Lady's, NY)
2) egg yolks, butter and sugar (Rundell, Acton)
3) fillers such as Naples biscuits (Hannah Glasse), pounded almond flour or flour (Raffald), bread (Amelia Simmons), crackers (Va Housewife, Ky Housewife), sponge cake grated (Philadelphians Hale & Widdifield)
4) cooked custard filling (Briggs)
5) cream or milk (Improved Housewife, Ct)
6) boiled zest, thinly cut, then pounded, and added to beaten eggs, sugar and butter (Briggs)

Lemon meringue pies
Generally, lemon meringue pies were made with egg yolks to form the custard filling, and then the whites would be beaten stiff with sugar, put on the baked pie, and returned to the oven to brown.  A delicious way to use the 'left over' egg whites.  Mrs. Goodfellow used whole eggs for her filling, thus had no egg whites, so she would have to separate even more eggs for the whites, then make custards, then...  It is more likely that another baker used egg yolks for the filling, then whipped the whites to make the famous pie.

So far the first mention (with no source or footnote) that Mrs. Goodfellow "introduced to Americans" the Lemon Meringue Pie that I have found is in The Larder Invaded: Reflections on Three Centuries of Philadelphia Food and Drink, by Mary Anne Hines, Gordon M. Marshall, and William Woys Weaver, 1987.  Unfortunately this claim has spread wildly, in various books, blogs, etc.  If anyone has any proof ... let me know!

By 1871 the name Lemon Meringue appeared with the recipe in Marion Harland's Common Sense in the Household published in New York.  Harland was raised in Virginia then moved north.  Her 'lemon meringue pudding' had bread crumbs, milk, etc. and yolks.

An earlier description (1866), in book also published in New York - Jennie June's American Cookery Book -  was 'Kitty May's lemon cream pie' - "bake until nearly done, then take from the oven, and pour over it a frosting made of the beaten whites of the two eggs, and two table-spoonsful of powdered sugar, then...brown lightly.  One of the best pies ever eaten." She also listed "lemon meringue pie" in a couple menus.

Other meringues
Although none of the recipes attributed to Goodfellow for her lemon pudding/pie had meringues, whipping egg whites and putting them on top of a pudding and then browning was nothing new. 

*Mary Randolph in her Virginia Housewife, 1828 used it in her delightfully quirky-named (and delicious) Burnt Custard HERE as did British authors for years.

*French chef Francois Massialot (1660-1733) and his Crème Brulee.  

*Meringue 'cookies' with various flavors, and others with more sugar - small hard chocolate puffs HERE were also popular in the Federal / Regency period.  

*Meringue was also put on top of stewed apples in apple meringues or apple meringue pies, peaches, rice or other meringues.   

*Rock hard puffed icing.
As for a popular icing of that time -  the stiffly beaten egg whites and sugar.  It was not the whipped egg white looking-like-marshmallow-fluff frosting.  The old icing was spread thinly and smoothly on the cake and slowly dried to form a hard protective cover, then another layer was added and dried. The image and poem are from 1844 of a Christmas cake, more HERE.

And now for her recipes.  I made the first one, and, though flavorful and a thick sturdy flan-like custard consistency, half the butter could/should have been left out.


Leslie, Eliza.  Seventy five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats.  Boston: 1828:

Lemon Pudding
One lemon, with a smooth thin rind.
Three eggs.
A quarter pound of powdered white sugar.
A quarter pound of fresh butter—washed.
A table-spoonful of white wine and brandy, mixed.
A tea-spoonful of rose-water.
Five ounces of sifted flour, and a quarter of a pound of fresh butter, for the paste [crust].

Grate the yellow part of the rind of a small fresh lemon. Then cut the lemon in half, and squeeze the juice into the plate that contains the grated rind, carefully taking out all the seeds. Mix the juice and rind together.  Put a quarter of a pound of powdered white sugar into a deep earthen pan, and cut up in it a quarter of a pound of the best fresh butter. If the weather is very cold, set the pan near the fire, for a few. minutes, to soften the butter, but do not allow it to melt or it will be heavy. Stir the butter and sugar together, with a stick or wooden spoon, till it is perfectly light and of the consistence of cream.

Put the eggs into a shallow broad pan, and beat them with an egg-beater or rods, till they are quite smooth, and as thick as a boiled custard. Then stir the eggs, gradually, into the pan of butter and sugar. Add the liquor and rose-water by degrees, and then stir in, gradually, the juice and grated rind of the lemon. Stir the whole very hard after all the ingredients are in.

Have ready a puff-paste made of five ounces of sifted flour, and a quarter of a pound of fresh butter. The paste must be made with as little water as possible. Roll it out in a circular sheet, thin in the centre, and thicker towards the edges, and just large enough to cover the bottom, sides, and edges of a soup-plate. Butter the soup-plate very well, and lay the paste in it, making it neat and even round the broad edge of the plate. With a sharp knife, trim off the superfluous dough, and notch the edges. Put in the mixture with a spoon, and bake the pudding about half an hour, in a moderate oven. It should be baked of a very light brown. If the oven is too hot, the paste will not have time to rise well. If too cold, it will be clammy. When the pudding is cool, grate loaf sugar over it.

Before using lemons for any purpose, always roll them awhile with your hand on a table. This will cause them to yield a larger quantity of juice.

Leslie, Eliza.  Miss Leslie's New Cookery Book.  Phila: 1857:

Lemon Pudding  
To make two puddings take two fine large ripe lemons, and rub them under your hand on a table. Grate off the thin yellow rind upon a large lump of loaf sugar. Cut the lemon, and squeeze the juice into a saucer through a strainer, to avoid the seeds. Put half a pound of powdered white sugar into a deep earthen pan, (including the sugar on which you have rubbed the lemons) and cut up in it half a pound of the best fresh butter, adding the juice. Stir them to a light cream with a wooden spaddle, which is shorter than a mushstick, and flattened at one end; that end rather thin, and rather broad. Beat in a shallow pan, (with hickory rods) six eggs, till very thick and smooth, and stir them gradually into the mixture. Have ready some of the best puff-paste, made in the proportion of a pint or half a pound of very nice fresh butter to a pint or half a pound of sifted flour. Take china or white-ware dishes with broad rims. Butter the rim, and lay round it neatly a border of the paste. Put no paste inside the dish beneath the mixture. Fill each dish to the top with the pudding mixture, and set it immediately into the oven. It will bake in about half an hour when done, and browned on the surface, set it to cool, and send it to table in the dish it was baked in.

Fine puddings are now made without an under crust, but merely a handsome border of puff-paste laid round the edge, and helped with the pudding. Sift sugar over the surface. This quantity will make one large pudding, or two small ones. To almost all puddings the flavor of lemon or orange is an improvement.

A genuine baked lemon pudding, (such as was introduced by the justly celebrated Mrs. Goodfellow,) and is well known at Philadelphia dinner parties, must have no flour or bread whatever. The mixture only of butter, sugar, and eggs, (with the proper flavoring) and when baked it cuts down smooth and shining, like a nice custard. Made this way, they are among the most delicious of puddings; but, of course, are not intended for children or invalids. We have already given numerous receipts for plain family desserts. In this chapter the receipts are “for company." The author [Leslie] was really a pupil of Mrs. Goodfellow's, and for double the usual term, and while there took notes of every thing that was made, it being the desire of the liberal and honest instructress that her scholars should learn in reality.

Mackenzie's Five Thousand Receipts.  Phila: 1830:

Mrs Goodfellow's lemon pudding
Take of butter (the very best) and loaf sugar, each half a pound, beat them to a froth as for pound-cake, add five eggs, the juice of half of a large or the whole of a small lemon. Grate into it the outside yellow rind, but not an atom of the white—half a glass of Madeira, half a glass of brandy, a tea-spoonful of orange-flower water, pour it into your paste, and bake with a moderate oven.
N. B. The above quantities make three common puddings.
Mrs Goodfellow's orange pudding. Proceed as above, using a pounded orange in place of the lemon.
MacKenzie, Colin.  Mackenzie's Five Thousand Receipts in All the Useful and Domestic Arts.  Phila: James Kay, Jun., 1830 impr & enl  5th Am from latest London ed.   
Recipe copied later by Godey’s Lady’s Book  Jan 1874

©2015 Patricia Bixler Reber
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