Preparing historical recipes from Quaker and Special Collections’ cookbooks from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Back in December, the Library hosted an installment of its Dig Into The Archives series on historical recipes. “A Peck, a Bushel, and a Gill: Recipes From The Quaker Collection” not only showcased the interesting cookbooks and volumes of recipes dating back to the 18th century that Project Cataloger Kara Flynn discovered in Quaker and Special Collections, but also served as a taste-test of sorts for the antique vittles, since library staff members actually prepared many of the dishes.

For those who were not at the talk and, therefore, were unable to taste such historical delicacies as mincemeat or oyster pie, we are beginning a series of our own on the blog and on Haverford College’s official Facebook page, featuring some of the old-timey sweets. Recipes have been modified with modern measurements and instructions, and College Photo Editor Patrick Montero has shot easy-to-follow, step-by-step videos. So try your hand at making some of these goodies yourself!

Today’s recipe is rice pudding, a dessert you may have tasted before, but not like this. This historical (and less-cloying) version is firmer in texture—somewhere between a cake and a pudding—and highlights just how much more sugar we cook with today than our 19th-century counterparts did.

Rice Pudding
(Anonymous recipe book- 1862)
Serves 9 to 12 people2 cups water
1 cup white rice (I used jasmine)
3 large eggs
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8”x8” baking dish or 2-quart casserole dish.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water with the rice and bring to a boil. Boil, uncovered and stirring often, until the rice is very soft and there’s no liquid pooling, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs well, then add the milk and sugar to combine. Stir the rice into the milk mixture, combining well, and transfer to the prepared dish.

Sprinkle the flour over the top and dot with little pieces of the remaining butter. Bake until set and lightly browned (a knife inserted into the center will come out clean), about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool briefly before serving.