Wearing a red-checked apron given to me for this project by a thoughtful professor, I felt ready for an episode of Mad Men. I headed to the Interfaith House kitchen with a measure of anxiety. The cause of my worry? The puff paste. I’d never made a modern puff pastry before, and the three page instructions in Seventy-Five Receipts (which I’ve posted below) were confusing at best. I ended up relying on a combination of these instructions and the modernized ones in The Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook, and achieved great results.
I began with the baked apple pudding, which meant preparing the puff paste first, then stewing the apples. I had gone grocery shopping and managed to find all ingredients except rose water. According to the Internet, I could have gotten rose water if I looked hard enough, but decided that the average family using the book may not have had all ingredients. It was all in the spirit of flexibility. I next moved on to the cider cake, which would have been a challenge without the kitchen scale. After measuring out .5 of the l.5 pounds of flour the recipe called for, I decided to halve the recipe. Though the unusually thick batter had me worried at first, it was otherwise an easy, straightforward process.
As expected, the process required a good amount of guesswork, flexibility, and trusting of instincts, but the session was not nearly as difficult as I thought it might be. Thanks to all who came to help me convert measurements, make subjective decisions, and provide moral support. All are welcome to come visit/taste, every other Friday (generally starting at one) at the Trinity Interfaith House. This project gets more exciting every day!