The Art of Cookery


  • Intro

    The Art of Cookery, written by Hannah Glasse, was first published in 1747. It was a best seller for over 100 years, and made Glasse one of the best-known cookery writers of the 18th century. As she explains in the preface, the book was intended to be an instruction manual for servants - 'the lower sort' as she called them. During the 1700s there was a fashion for books of this kind, designed to save the lady of the house from the tedious duty of instructing her kitchen maids. As Glasse puts it, the book should 'improve the servants and save the ladies a great deal of trouble'. She is dismissive of the fanciful language used by other cookery book writers, which she feels simply confuses the servants: 'the poor girls are at a loss to know what they mean' she writes. In contrast, her style is precise and direct.


    The book contains one of the earliest references to Indian curry in an English cookbook. Asian food first became popular in Britain during the 1700s, reflecting the tastes developed by the employees of the East India Company.


    For the decades following its publication, there were widespread rumours that The Art of Cookery had been written by a man. For a woman to have written such an eloquent and well-organised work seemed implausible to many. James Boswell's diary records a party at the house of the publisher Charles Dilly, at which the issue was discussed. He quotes Samuel Johnson as saying, 'Women can spin very well; but they cannot make a good book of cookery.'


    These pages show recipes for a variety of pastry crusts, including a standing crust for great pies, a dripping crust and a crust for custards.


    Shelfmark: 1485.pp.18.

  • Transcript

    The Art of Cookery

    Original text:


    To make different sorts of tarts.

    If you bake in tin-patties, butter them, and you must put a little crust all over, because of the taking them out; if in china, or glass, no crust but the top one. Lay fine sugar at the bottom, then your plums, cherries, or any other sort of fruit, and sugar at top; then put on your lid, and bake them in a slack oven: Mince pies must be baked in tin-patties, because taking them out, and puff-paste is best for them. All sweet tarts the beaten crust is best; but as you fancy. You have the receipt for the crust in this chapter. Apple, pear, apricot, &c. make thus; apples and pears, pare them, cut them into quarters, and core them; cut the quarters across again, set them on in a sauce-pan with just as much water as will barely cover them, let them simmer on a slow fire just till the fruit is tender; put a good piece of lemon-peel in the water with the fruit, then have your patties ready. Lay fine sugar at bottom, then your fruit, and a little sugar at top; that you must put in at your discretion. Pour over each tart a tea-spoonful of lemon juice, and three tea-spoonfuls of the liquor they were boiled in; put on your lid, and bake them in a slack oven. Apricots do the same way only do not use lemon.


    As to preserved tarts, only lay in your preserved fruit, and put a very thin crust at top, and let them be baked as little as possible; but if you would make them very nice, have a large patty, the size you would have your tart. Make your sugar crust, roll it as thick as a halfpenny; then butter your patties, and cover it. Shape your upper crust on a hollow thing on purpose, the size of your patty, and mark it with a marking-iron for that purpose, in what shape you please, to be hollow and open to see the fruit through; then bake your crust in a very slack oven, not to discolour it, but to have it crisp. When the crust is cold, very carefully take it out, and fill it with what fruit you please, lay on the lid, and it is done; therefore if the tart is not eat, your sweetmeat is not the worse, and it looks genteel.


    Paste for tarts.

    ONE pound of flour, three quarters of a pound of butter; mix up together, and beat well with a rolling-pin.


    Another paste for tarts.

    Half a pound of butter, half a pound of flour, and half a pound of sugar; mix it well together, and beat it with a rolling-pin well, then roll it out thin.



    TAKE a quarter of a peck of flour, rub fine half a pound of butter, a little salt, make it up into a light paste with cold water, just stiff enough to work it well up; then roll it out, and stick pieces of butter all over, and strew a little flour; roll it up and roll it out again; and so do nine or ten times, till you have rolled in a  pound and a half of butter. This crust is mostly used for all sorts of pies.


    A good crust for great pies.

    TO a peck of flour add the yolks of three eggs; then boil some water, and put in half a pound of fried suet, and a pound and half of butter. Skim off the butter and suet, and as much of the liquor as will make it a light good crust: work it up well, and roll it out.


    A standing crust for great pies.

    TAKE a peck of flour, and six pounds of butter, boiled in a gallon of water; skim it off into the flour, and as little of the liquor as you can; work it well up into a paste, then pull it into pieces till it is cold, then make it up in what form you will have it. This is fit for the walls of a goose pie.


    A cold crust.

    TO three pounds of flour rub in a pound and a half of butter, break in two eggs, and make it up with cold water.


    A dripping crust.

    TAKE a pound and half of beef-dripping, boil it in water, strain it, then let it stand to be cold, and take off the hard fat: scrape it, boil it so four of five times; then work it well up into three pounds of flour, as fine as you can, and make it up into paste with cold water. It makes a very fine crust.


    A crust for custards.

    TAKE half a pound of flour, six ounces of butter, the yolks of two eggs, three spoonfuls of cream; mix them together, and let them stand a quarter of an hour, then work it up and down, and roll it very thin.

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