Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Last-minute Thanksgiving dessert ideas from the Maine coast

If you're still working out the final details of tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner and need a sweet idea for dessert: (1) Wow! You're a procrastinator, (2) I have some ideas for you, courtesy of the spiral-bound 1964 edition of Maine Coastal Cooking and the Accomplisht Cook, or, The Whole Art of Mystery of Cookery, Fitted for All Degrees and Qualities.

The cookbook was published by Courier-Gazette Inc. of Rockland, Maine. Some of its recipes date back to 1664 and there are, as you might imagine, a lot of seafood recipes.

But right now the focus is on dessert, not 1,000 ways to prepare a lobster. So here are some of the sweetness-infused recipes from the book:

Molasses Blueberry Cake
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sour milk (or hot water may be used instead)
  • 3 scant cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups blueberries (washed, drained, and floured)
  • 1 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and allspice

Bake in greased and lightly floured pan in 350° oven, baking time depends on size pan used.

Submitted by Mrs. Milton Grierson, South Thomaston, Maine

Grandma Nancy's Lemon Cake
(An 1850 Recipe)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 large lemon, grated peel and juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon saleratus (soda)
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 egg whites, beaten stiff

Cream butter and add gradually while still creaming the sugar. Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored; add to the first mixture. Flavor with the grated peel and juice of the large lemon. Sift the soda with the flour and stir lightly into the mixture alternately with the milk. Beat the four egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture. Pour the cake batter into two well buttered loaf pans, 11 x 4 x 3 inches deep. Bake at 325-350° F. for about 50 minutes. Remove the cake from pan. Cool. Dust the top lightly with confectioners' sugar.

Brown Sugar Fudge
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • few grains of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Place sugars, milk and salt in a saucepan and cook, stirring constantly until fudge boils rapidly. Let boil until temperature reaches 239 degrees or until a firm ball is formed when a few drops are placed in cold water. Remove from heat and follow the very same procedure as in the recipe for making chocolate fudge. When cool, beat and pour into buttered square pan and mark into squares.

Variation: Sour cream fudge is made by the same method, substituting 3 cups brown sugar and 1 cup of sour cream in place of the white and brown sugar and milk.

* * *
Desserts in the "reprinted from 1664" portion of the book include almond tarts, cream tarts, French tarts, cinnamon pudding and "To make Rice Puddings in guts," which includes the instruction "cut the guts a foot long, and fill them three quarters full, tie both ends together, and put them in boiling water." Let's skip that one.

Other dessert posts


  1. Way to go ... now I want Strawberry Pie in the worst way :)

    1. And now I want fudge! Looks like Mr. Otto has some baking to do, right?!