Baltimore’s Little Italy

Great post on Baltimore’s rich culinary traditions.

jovina cooks


Ellis Island in New York harbor is well-known as the main entry point for European immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. What many do not know is that Baltimore was the second-leading port of entry at that time. The establishment of the nation’s first commercial steam railway, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, in 1828 opened the way to the West. As the westernmost major port on the East Coast, Baltimore was a popular destination.

Irish and German settlers were the first to use Baltimore as a point of entry. Immigration increased after the Irish potato famine of the mid-1840’s and the German political uprisings of 1848. The number became so great that after 1850, immigrants were no longer brought directly to Fell’s Point, Baltimore’s first port. Instead, they were unloaded at Locust Point, next to Fort McHenry. Between 1790 and 1860, Baltimore’s population rose from 13,503…

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Influential Mid-Atlantic Cookbooks (Part 6)

Cover of "Chesapeake Bay Cooking"

Cover of Chesapeake Bay Cooking

Chesapeake Bay Cooking with John Shields

            Although John Shields has written several cookbooks on Mid-Atlantic cooking, this is by far his best one. It was released as a companion book for the PBS cooking show which he hosted. he is the owner and operator of the restaurant Gertrude’s named for his grandmother who introduced him to Mid-Atlantic cuisine. He also has his own blog and website at:

The book deals mostly with coastal cuisine but touches on a few of the dishes found in the Alleghenies as well, but its main influence are the Chesapeake Bay. For Mid-Atlantic seafood recipes, this is a great resource and a must have in your kitchen, if you are interested in traditional Mid-Atlantic fare. The TV show is also available on DVD on Amazon:

The series is really well done and actually takes John out of the kitchen and all around the Chesapeake Bay region to gather recipes from native people who have produced this cuisine and maintain its traditions to this day. Anyone interested in this style of cooking, the book and the show will be a valuable addition to your collection.

Some of the dishes are more modern than the original or classic dish, but this just shows the evolution of the style of cooking and where it may soon be heading in the future. There are some great stories included in the series and in the book as well as interesting facts about modern influence on the dish.

While the book is not all inclusive when it comes to Mid-Atlantic cuisine, it does a great job in giving a cross section of Chesapeake cooking and offers a fantastic variety of recipes for several dishes, including all of the usual classics and some less famous, but locally known dishes.

The book can be found anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic region and is available on Amazon through used dealers. Pick it up and see why John Shield‘s is referred to as “The ambassador of the Chesapeake.”

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Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup

John Lewis Krimmel

The Pepperpot Street Vendor by John LewisKrimmel

This soup has a fascinating history steeping in American mythology. The soup is said to have been invented by a man named Christopher Ludwick in the winter of 1777-1778 during General Washington’s encampment at Valley Forge. It was said to have been created sue to the fact that food was scarce and they had to make do with whatever foodstuffs was available, this claim has also been made about the striped bass and the Chesapeake bluefish as being the saviors of American independence, but reality tells a slightly different tale. Soup made from beef tripe was not an unknown idea in 1777. There are countless variations of the dish in European countries.
The dish has seen a decline in popularity in recent times due to the difficulty in making the dish. The beef tripe takes several hours to cook and does not give off a pleasant smell when cooking. Most home cooks shy away from this sort of dish due to the planning necessary in its preparation. Beef tripe has also become sort of a specialty item in modern grocery stores, the commercial chains do not usually carry it and the loss of butcher shops has relegated beef tripe to a scrap meat used in commercial dog food productions.
Beef tripe is made from the first three chambers of the cow’s stomach, but the reticulum or honeycomb tripe is the one most commonly used in making food for humans. The honeycomb tripe is very difficult to clean and requires a great deal of scrubbing and peeling in order to dress it out, It can be bought already cleaned and is you can find it, it is usually sold this way. The extra cost is minimal and it will reduce the preparation time a great deal, so I highly recommend buying it this way.
Pepperpot soup was always sort of looked upon as a working man’s food and due to the increased affluence in the western world, it has fallen out of favor with the general population except as a novelty historical dish in the Mid-Atlantic region.
I made this dish when I was working in a private club in Washington DC. It was not a popular dish, but it stayed on the menu due to the fact that there were a few members who truly loved the dish.

Philadelphia Pepperpot Soup
Cosmos Club
Bernard Meehan

10 Lb. Cleaned Honeycomb Tripe – Cook tripe 1 Day ahead

2 Lb. (flour = Butter)

1 Pound Garlic (Minced)
1 Container Chicken base
1 Container Beef Base
1 Hotel Pan Onion (diced)
½ Hotel Pan Green Bell peppers (diced)
½ Hotel Pan Red bell Peppers (Diced)
½ Hotel Pan Celery (diced)
1 Hotel Pan Potatoes (peeled & Diced)

10 gallons Chicken stock
6 Quarts Heavy cream


There are several versions of a tripe soup which came to us from Eastern European influence. In Bulgaria there were restaurants called shkembe chorba, which only served a sort of tripe and intestine soup similar to this except seasoned with a great deal of paprika.
In Poland there is a dish known as Flaki, which also contains meatballs, which is a variation which can be found in the Evolution of the dish below.
The biggest difference in the soup regionally is the inclusion of dumplings into the soup. The dish I made does not contain them, but it is common in the Pennsylvania Dutch version of the dish. This could have been a substitution used in place of meatballs which may not have been available to the working classes during colonial times.
This dish is a challenge to make for a modern home cook. It will require a great deal of work and time to prepare, it is not for the novice part-time homemaker, unused to working with unfamiliar cuts of meat and cooking techniques, but it is well worth the ending results. It is also a great “catch-all” soup which you can make depending on the leftover contents of your refrigerator.
There are a few people, who still produce this soup commercially in the Mid-Atlantic region, and you can search the internet for markets where you can by it, but the canned variety will never be as good as the one you make yourself.
There is a movement in the culinary world of cooking “nose to tail,” which means using the entire animal or vegetable product and not discarding anything as waste. It involves composting trim and rendering fat as well as making stock from bones and leather or fur coats from the hides of the animal. It goes well beyond the skills of just the chef, but I think it is a great way not just to maximize the sacrifice that the animal or plants make, but also it makes economical sense. Our affluent society has become far too disposable, but with a little practice and some imagination, you can utilize almost every ounce of food that we grow or buy.
This soup is a delicious way of utilizing one of the great overlooked cuts of meat, which should never have been relegated to poor man’s food since it was once held in Victorian times as a soup fit for a king, due to the difficult process involved in cleaning and cooking it. This is a dish that is well worth searching around for and will challenge the amateur chefs and teach them skills which will definitely make you a better cook.

Andy Warhol

Pepperpot Soup by Andy Whohol

The Evolution:

Pepper Pot
Mrs. Rorer’s Philadelphia Cookbook: A Manual of Home Economics
 Mrs. Sarah Tyson Rorer
 Applewood Books Bedford, Massachusetts 1886

1 Knuckle of Veal
1 Pound of Plain Tripe
1 Pound of Honey-Comb Tripe
1 Bunch of Pot Herbs
1 Onion
¼ Pound of Suet
2 Medium Sized Potatoes
1 Bay Leaf
3 Quarts of Cold Water
2 Tbsp. of Butter
2 Tbsp. of Flour
Salt and Cayenne to Taste

Wash the tripe in cold water. Put it in a kettle, cover it with cold water and boil for eight hours; this should be cooked the day before you want the soup. Wipe the knuckle with a damp towel, put it in the soup kettle and cover with water, place it on the fire and bring slowly to a simmer, carefully skimming off the scum. Simmer gently for three hours then gently return to the kettle. Wash the pot herbs, chop the parsley, rub off the thyme leaves and cut only half the red pepper (they usually put a whole one in each bunch.) Cut the potatoes into dice; into pieces one inch square. Cut the meat from the knuckle into pieces; add these also to the soup; place it on the fire and, when at the boiling point, season with the salt and cayenne. Rub the butter and flour together and stir into the boiling soup, and then fifty small dumplings made as follows: Chop the suet fine, measure it and take double the quantity of flour, one quarter of a teaspoonful of salt, mix well together, moisten with ice water (about a quarter of a cup.) Form into tiny dumplings about the size of a marble, throw into the soup, simmer for 15 minutes and serve.

Washing the tripe, even if it is purchased clean is important. It may be difficult to find and you may have to special order it from your supermarket, but it can be found in many store in the Mid-Atlantic region. This version contains the dumplings which are found in many versions of the soup if you can find it in a restaurant. The dumplings I make usually do not contain beef suet, but it is a welcome addition, butter can be used in its place.

To Make Pepper Pot
Eat, Drink & Be Merry in Maryland
 Frederick Philip Stieff
The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, 1932

Take four pounds of tripe and one knuckle of veal and boil them separately until perfectly tender, then cut them into small pieces and put them in the liquor the veal was boiled in. Add a few forcemeat balls, about 10 potatoes, cut small, a handful of sweet marjoram, a little sweet basil, a few cloves and pepper and salt to taste, then let boil for about two hours. – Mrs. J. Alexis Shriver, Olney, Hartford County.

This is more like the Polish version of the dish Flaki which contains meatballs poached in the soup. The version I made was actually puréed, but normally the dish is not served that way. This may be a truer form of the dish to its historical Polish roots.

Philadelphia Pepper Pot Soup
The Pennsylvania Dutch and their Cookery
J. George Frederick
The Business Bourse, Publishers, 1935

1 Veal Joint ½ Pound Beef suet
4 Pounds Tripe 2 Bay Leaves
2 Onions 2 Tsp. Salt
1 Bunch Herbs 1 Tsp. Black Pepper
4 Potatoes ½ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
2 Tsp. of Minced Parsley 1 Red Pepper
1 Cup Beef Suet 2 Cups Flour

This is a two day job of cookery.
Scrap tripe; wash in three waters, cold. Put in cold water to boil for 7-8 hours, then after tripe is cool cut into ½ inch squares. The next day simmer for 3 hours the veal with bones in 3 quarts of cold water; and skim off the scum. Separate meat from bones and dice. Strain the broth, add bay leaves, chopped onion and simmer for another hour. Add the potatoes, diced, the herbs, parsley and red peppers, cut. Add the meat, salt, cayenne, add also dumplings made of beef suet and flour and salt, mixed and made to a paste consistency with cold water. Roll in flour, the dumplings, only ½ inch in diameter. Drop into soup and simmer five minutes more.

There is a great discrepancy in the recipes for the amount of time to boil the tripe. This one is more accurate by my experience. It does take about 7 – 8 hours to make the tripe tender. The dumplings are here once again and are very common in Pennsylvania Dutch versions of the recipe.

Philadelphia Pepperpot
The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook
Ruth Hutchison
Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York & London 1948

2 Pounds Tripe
2 Pounds Honeycomb Tripe
½ Pound Beef Suet
1 Veal Knuckle
2 Cups Flour
½ Tsp. Salt
⅛ Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
4 Potatoes
1 Bunch Pot Herbs
2 Small Onions
1 Red Pepper
1 Bay Leaf
2 Tsp. Parsley

Wash the tripe three times in ice water. Cover and boil slowly for a long, long time. (The old recipes say 6 – 8 hours.) Cool, remove the tripe from the water, and cut into small pieces. Wash the veal, cover with water, and simmer slowly for 3 hours, skimming frequently. Remove the veal from the bone and cut into small pieces. Set aside. Strain the broth and return to the kettle. Add the chopped onion and bay leaf simmer for another hour, and add the diced potatoes. The pot herbs can be whatever herbs you prefer, or can obtain. Nowadays, you may have to make do with dried herbs which can be placed in a small bag and removed later. Add these with the chopped pepper. Add the veal and the tripe, the salt and pepper. Make dumplings by blending the suet with the flour and adding a little salt. Add enough water to make a paste that can be rolled into balls between floured fingers, about the size of a walnut. Handle the dumplings lightly, sprinkle with a little flour, and drop into the bubbling soup. Simmer for about 5 minutes, tightly covered. Sprinkle with the parsley, and serve. Serves 6. This is the way my grandmother used to serve pepperpot.

Beef suet may be difficult to find. It is stored fresh in the refrigerated section of the store if they carry it, but it can also be found in a canned variety. I have only used the fresh version. Beef suet is the hard fat which has been rendered from around the kidneys of the cow. If you are looking for a healthier version of the dish you can use butter or Crisco in your dumplings.

Dutch Pepperpot
The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook
Ruth Hutchison
Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York & London 1948

1 ½ Pounds Beef, Cut Into Cubes.
1 Green Pepper
1 Onion
2 Potatoes
Salt And Pepper

Cook the cubed beef in water until nearly tender. Add the chopped pepper, diced onion, and diced raw potatoes. Season. Mix paste for noodles:
3 Eggs
Flour to Make Soft Paste
¼ Tsp. Salt

Beat the eggs, mix with the sifted flour and salt, and mix together. Roll out lightly on a floured board, until very thin. Cut into squares and let dry on a cloth for about an hour. Add the noodles to the soup. Simmer about 15 minutes until noodles are thoroughly cooked.

This version adds noodles to the dish, which is not very common, but since this dish was invented as a sort of “catch all,” it is perfectly in keeping with its tradition. Egg noodles are the common noodle used in the Pennsylvania Dutch region of the Mid-Atlantic and would make a wonderful addition to the soup.

Philadelphia Pepper Pot
Encyclopedia of Cooking Vol. 10
Mary Margaret McBride
Homemaker’s Research Institute, 1958

1 Lb. Fresh Honeycomb Tripe
3 Tbsp. Butter or Drippings
3 Qts. Cold Water
1 Lb. Stewing Lamb or Mutton, Trimmed of Fat
¼ Lb. Lean Salt Pork
1 Small Bay Leaf
1 Clove
1 Sprig Parsley, Thyme, and Marjoram
2 Cups Mixed Vegetables
1 Cup Diced Potatoes

Use a variety of vegetables in season, making up the 2 cups of equal parts of beans, carrots, and celery; peas, onions, an =d beans; tomato, eggplant, and onions, etc.
Wash tripe, drain well, and cut into cubes. Brown in soup kettle or drippings.
Add water, meat (cut into small pieces), salt pork, and seasoning tied together in a piece of cheesecloth. Cover tightly, bring to a boiling point and simmer 2 hours.
Add vegetables and potatoes and cook until tender.
Cool, skim off fat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Thicken with a paste made of 3 – 5 Tbsp. flour blended with 3 – 5 Tbsp. butter. Bring to a boiling point.
 If a rich effect is desired, pour boiling soup over 2 egg yolks, while stirring constantly. Serves 6 to 8.

Most modern cookbooks do not contain recipes for this dish. As I noted earlier, it has fallen out of favor with home cooks who do not have the time to devote to its preparation. The recipe above does not mention pre cooking the tripe, but I would definitely boil it for a good 8 hours to ensure its tenderness. It is a tough cut of meat and should be treated as such. It will also allow time for all the impurities to boil out and be skimmed off.
I highly recommend you make some time to try this dish, it is difficult to make, but that just makes it more rewarding in the end.


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Philly Cheesesteak


Side Note: Vol. 2

Philly Cheesesteak

The Philadelphia Cheesesteak is an iconic classic of American cooking in general and Mid-Atlantic cooking in particular.  The dish is said to have originated from a hot dog vendor in the 1930’s.  There are many variations of the dish with all sorts of ingredients being added into the mix and calling themselves “authentic,” but the cheesesteak is actually quite simple in its design.

A frozen steak is sliced thin and fried up with peppers and onions.  It is placed on a Philadelphia roll and topped with Cheese Whiz.  There are countless variations such as mushrooms, bacon, provolone or even cheddar cheese, but these ingredients make the dish more of a steak and cheese sandwich as opposed to the classic Philly Cheesesteak.

It wasn’t until the 1960’s that cheese was added to the sandwich at Pat’s King of Steaks restaurant and the classic was officially born.  There is even a sign which explains the process to customers as they enter the historical landmark:  For the uninitiated, a sign explains the drill: with or without onions; specify provolone, American or Cheez Whiz; have your money ready; go to the back of the line if you make a mistake.

There is no mistaking this iconic classic of fast food.  The Philly Cheesesteak is now a celebrated classic of American cuisine and is seen as the high end equivalent to the hamburger in popularity.

English: Cheez Whiz

The Society Hill’s Philadelphia Phenomenon Cheese Steak

Best of the Best from Pennsylvania

Gwen McKee & Barbra Moseley

Quail Ridge Press 1993


1 (8-inch) Italian Roll

2 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

6 Oz. Thinly Sliced Steak

2 Slices Cheese (American, Mozzarella or Provolone)

2 Tbsp. or More Water

1 Tbsp. Chopped, Sautéed Onions (optional)

1 Tbsp. Chopped, Sautéed Green Peppers (optional)

1 Tbsp. Chopped, Sautéed Mushrooms (optional)

1 Slice Bacon, Fried & Crumbled (optional)

1 Tbsp. Chopped Artichoke Hearts (optional)

1 – 2 Tbsp. Commercial Pizza Sauce (optional)


Cut roll in half and hollow out.  Heat roll in 250° oven until warm, approximately 4 – 5 minutes.  Heat oil on grill or in frying pan.  When oil is hot, sizzle steak.  Break steak apart for faster cooking.  When steak has cooked for 10 – 15 seconds, place cheese on top; add water to grill or frying pan to aid cheese in melting.  Remove from grill or pan; stuff roll with steak and cheese and any or all of the optional ingredients.  Serves 1. 


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Red Velvet Cake

English: Photograph of a slice of a 4-layer re...

Side Note: Vol. 1

Red Velvet Cake


The story of the Red Velvet Cake, or the Red Devil Cake, or the Waldorf Cake, or the $100.00 Cake has sort of become urban legend.  It is summed up here in the book:  The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings by Jan Harold Brunvand:


            Our friend, Dean Blair, got on a bus in San Jose one morning and shortly after, a lady got on the bus and started passing out these 3 x 5 cards with the recipe for “Red Velvet Cake.” She said she had recently been in New York and had dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria and had this cake. After she returned to San Jose, she wrote to the hotel asking for the name of the chef who had originated the cake, and if she could have the recipe.

            Subsequently she received the recipe in the mail along with a bill for something like $350 from the chef. She took the matter to her attorney, and he advised her that she would have to pay it because she had not inquired beforehand if there would be a charge for the service, and if so, how much it would be. Consequently, she apparently thought this would be a good way to get even with the chef.

While the chef of the Waldorf – Astoria Hotel is credited with the invention of this cake, it has actually become synonymous with the south.  It is thought that the idea of the recipe came about when the chef wanted to add the color red to make a devil’s food cake look more like the devil.  A popular myth associated with the recipe is that the red color is caused by a chemical reaction between the cocoa and the baking soda.  This is not the case, beet juice or red food coloring has always been the root of the recipes famous color.

The Waldorf – Astoria Hotel is one of New York’s premier hotels and is currently owned by the Hilton hotel group.  The original hotel once stood on the site now occupied by the Empire State Building and was originally two separate structures linked together by the “Peacock Alley.”  The hotel was demolished and moved to its current location in 1931.

There has been very little variation of this recipe over the years, since its inception in the 1920’s.  It has in that time become one of the classic American cakes and one of the most popular.  I often hesitate to include New York in the category of Mid-Atlantic cuisine, since it has such cosmopolitan roots as well as a strong influence from the New England school of cooking, but geographically, it does fall into the Mid-Atlantic region.

There was often a friendly revelry between Baltimore and New York in the early years of our nation’s history, as to which city could be called the country’s largest city.  New York, long ago passed Baltimore by, despite the fact that Baltimore was second only to Ellis Island as the entry point for immigration in the 19th century.

The culinary style of New York, if there is one, is so diversified that it defies categorization.  The variety of influences into the city was beyond cataloging, and even though traditional Mid-Atlantic cuisine is fast becoming a relic in our own region, it never stood a chance in New York.  It was just one of many.


Red Velvet Cake @ Figaro

Red Devil’s Food Cake

Encyclopedia of Cooking Vol. 3

Mary Margret McBride

Homemaker’s Research Institute 1958


½ Cup Shortening

1 ½ Cup Sugar

½ Cup Cocoa

2 Eggs

2 Cups Sifted Cake Flour

½ Cup Milk

2 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Cup Boiling Water

1 Tsp. Vanilla


                Cream shortening and add sugar and cocoa.  Cream thoroughly and then add eggs and beat well. 

                Add flour alternately with milk in which soda has been dissolved.  Add boiling water and vanilla. 

Line bottom of 2 (8 inch) cake pans with waxed paper.  Turn into cake pans.

                Bake in moderate oven (350°F.) 30 minutes.  Frost as desired. 


The one thing that stands out about this recipe is the lack of any red coloring.  If you think that it is going to turn red on its own, the cocoa and acid myth, it will not.  You will need to add red food coloring to this dish.


Red Velvet Cake

Seaboard to Sideboard

The Junior League or Wilmington, North Carolina

Favorite Recipe Press, 1998


2 ½ Cups Flour

1 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Tsp. Salt

1 ½ Cups Sugar

1 Cup Buttermilk

1 ¾ Cups Vegetable Oil

2 Eggs

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Tsp. Vinegar

¼ Cup Red Food Coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting


                Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.  Beat the sugar, buttermilk, oil and eggs in a large mixer.  Add the flour mixture and mix well.  Add the vinegar, vanilla and food coloring.  Pour into 3 greased and floured 8 inch cake pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes or until the layers test done.  Cool the pans for a few minutes.  Invert onto wire racks to cool completely.  Spread cream cheese frosting between layers and on top and sides of the cake.   Yields: 12 servings. 


The unique thing about this recipe is the lack of cocoa.  This will indeed give you a red cake, but it will not be a red velvet cake since it is not a devil’s food cake recipe.  It is an interesting variation.

Red Velvet Cake

Southern Cakes

Nancie McDermott

Chronicle Books, 2007


2 ½ Cups All – Purpose Flour

½ Tsp. Salt

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Buttermilk (See Note)

2 Tbsp. Cocoa

1 Oz. Red Food Coloring

1 Cup (2 Sticks) Butter, Softened

2 Cups Sugar

2 Eggs

1 ½ Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tbsp. Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar


1:            To Make the Cake:  heat the oven to 350°F.  Grease 2 (9 inch) round cake pans generously and line them with waxed paper or kitchen parchment.  Grease the paper and flour the pans. 

2:            Prepare 3 separate mixtures:  for the batter: combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl and use a fork to mix them together well.  Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk.  Combine the cocoa and food coloring in a small bowl, mashing and stirring them together to make a thick, smooth paste.

3:            In a large bowl:  beat the butter with a mixer at low speed for 1 minute, until creamy and soft.  Add the sugar, and then beat well for 3 – 4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl now and then.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one, until the mixture is creamy, fluffy and smooth.  Scrape the cocoa – food coloring paste into the batter and beat it to mix evenly.

4:            Add about a third: of the flour mixture and then about half the milk, beating the batter with the mixer at low speed, and mixing only enough to make the flour and liquid disappear into the batter.  Mix in another third of the batter, the rest of the milk, and then the last of the flour in the same way.

5:            In a small bowl:  combine the baking soda and vinegar and stir well.  Use a wooden spoon or spatula to quickly mix the last mixture into the batter, folding it gently by hand.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pans. 

6:            Bake: at 350°F. for 20 – 25 minutes, until the layers spring back lightly when touched in the center and are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans.

7:            Cool the Cakes: in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 15 minutes.  Then turn them out on the racks or on plates, remove the paper and turn top side up to cool completely. 

8:            Frost: with cream cheese icing.


Note: If you don’t have buttermilk, stir 1 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup of milk and let stand for 10 minutes. 


English: Red Velvet Cake :D


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Black Walnut Cake


Black Walnut Cake


Black Walnut, Juglans nigra ....#14


                The black walnut or Juglans nigra or “black nut of Jupiter,” is a type of tree which grows in the northeastern United States from Ontario, Canada to Northern Florida.  There are many uses for the tree beyond the production of nuts.  The wood is of a high quality and is used as finishing wood, or wood that will show in a finished product and is highly sought after by woodworkers for its look and feel. 

                The nuts themselves are also used for many industrial purposes other than culinary.  The shells of the walnuts are incredibly dense and used for all sorts of abrasive industrial applications.  There is also a pigment called juglone, plumbagin and tannin, which is used in commercial applications such as furniture dye and was even used as hair dye for many years.  Due to these compounds, black walnut trees are known to stain cars, driveways and patios as well as siding and houses if the trees are planted to close to these areas. 

                Black walnuts can be bought commercially, the largest producer of them being Hammons Products Company, in Missouri.  Shelling the walnuts yourself is a difficult job and can cause health issues in those who are sensitive to contact dermatitis.  If you do attempt this, be sure to harvest “green” walnut shells, as these are easier to break open and this is when the nuts are at their best, also be sure to have the area protected from the pigments contained in the shells. 

                Like a lot of trees, the black walnut tree is facing its own threat in the form of a disease called Thousand Cankers Disease which is caused by the combined activity of the walnut twig beetle (Pityophthorus juglandis) and a canker producing fungus, Geosmithia morbida.  So far, this disease has only affected trees on the westernmost area of the trees habitat, but it is expected to move east.

Two of the other uses of the tree are the production of black walnut oil (see chart) and a sweet syrup which can be made from tapping the tree in the spring and reducing it in a similar method to making maple syrup.  It is not used as much as the maple variety, but it is used as a commercial sweetener in many products.


Black Walnut Oil Nutritional Informantion


                Nutritionally similar to the milder-tasting English walnut, the black walnut kernel is high in unsaturated fat and protein. An analysis of nut oil from five named J. nigra cultivars (Ogden, Sparrow, Baugh, Carter and Thomas) showed the most prevalent fatty acid in J. nigra oil is linoleic acid (27.80–33.34 g/100g dry kernel), followed (in the same units) by oleic acid (14.52–24.40), linolenic acid (1.61–3.23), palmitic acid (1.61–2.15), and stearic acid (1.07–1.69).[4] The oil from the cultivar Carter had the highest mol percentage of linoleate (61.6), linolenate (5.97%), and palmitate (3.98%); the oil from the cultivar Baugh had the highest mol percentage of oleate (42.7%); the oil from the cultivar Ogden has the highest mol percentage of stearate (2.98%).


English: The National Champion Black Walnut (J...

                There are five main types of black walnut tree, they are grown for specific purposes such as use as lumbar and use for production of nuts.  The main varieties of walnut producing trees include: Thomas, Neel #1, Thomas Myers, and Pounds #2, Stoker, Surprise, Emma K, Sparrow, S127, and McGinnis.  There is also an older variety known as Kwik Krop, which is still in use in some areas.  All of these are primarily hybrids bred specifically for the commercial production of nuts.  If you wish to plant these trees in a large garden for personal use, these are the varieties to ask for.  The harvesting of nuts usually comes in alternating cycles of bumper crops every other year

The black walnut is also the state tree of Missouri, and is in high demand as a source of lumber.  Many trees are cut down and sold because of the high demand for the multi-purpose tree.  Trees are often cut from public areas and stolen from people’s yards.  The long period of time it takes for a Black walnut (60 years) to grow to maturity has driven up the price of the hardwood and made these enterprises profitable, despite the risk and cost.  Six mature black walnut trees can fetch as much as $60,000 dollars on the open market.  This makes them a prime target for poachers who want to exploit parks and residential areas.

Black Walnut Cake is an adaptation of the classic English Walnut Cake using local ingredients.  There are basically two methods of making this cake.  One is the traditional cake with whole or chopped black walnuts mixed into the batter and the other is to grind the nuts and make a torte.

A torte is a cake in which some or all of the flour has been replaced by ground nuts or nut flour.  These cakes are usually denser than their counterparts due to the lack of a gluten web to trap the leavening agents.  A torte will give you a lot more flavor of the black walnut than the traditional cake which will give you bites of it here and there interspersed with the flavor of whatever cake you have incorporated them into.

The most traditional cake used is the pound cake, but Bundt cakes as well as chiffon and even Lady Cakes can be used to make the dish.  I, myself add black walnuts to the filling of The Lady Baltimore Cake, lending its distinctive flavor to the traditional dish.


Lady Baltimore Cake W/ Black Walnut

Christopher Gobbett




2 Tablespoons Plus ½ Pound Unsalted Butter, Softened

2 Tablespoons Plus 3 Cups Cake Flour

1 Tablespoon Double Acting Baking Powder

¼ Teaspoons Salt                                                                            

1 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Almond Extract                                                       

1 ½ Cups Sugar

5 Egg Whites


Note: Before making the cake, see the frosting section opposite for instructions regarding the soaking of dried fruit and nuts.


Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  With a pastry brush, spread 2 tablespoons of the softened butter on the bottom and sides of three 9 inch layer cake pans.  Divide 2 tablespoons of the flour among the three pans and tip the pans from side to side to distribute flour evenly.  Then invert each pan and rap it sharply to remove the excess flour.

                Combine the remaining flour, baking powder and salt, and sift them together into a bowl.  Stir the milk and almond extract together in a small bowl and set aside. 

                In a large deep bowl, cream the remaining butter and the sugar together by beating them against the sides of the bowl with the back of a wooden spoon until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in about 1 cup of the flour mixture and, when it is all incorporated, beat in 1/3 cup of the milk and almond extract mixture.  Repeat twice more, alternating the flour and milk mixtures, and continue to beat until the butter is smooth. 

                With a wire whisk or a rotary or electric beater, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until they are firm enough to stand in stiff peaks on the beater when it is lifted out of the bowl.  Stir a few tablespoons of whites into the batter, then scoop the batter over the whites and fold together gently, but thoroughly with a rubber spatula. 

                Pour the batter into the pans, dividing it equally among them and smoothing the tops with the spatula.  Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until the tops are pale gold and they have begun to shrink away from the sides of the pan.  Turn the cake layers out onto wire racks to cool at room temperature. 




4 Egg Whites

¼ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

1 Cup Water                                                                                      

1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup



12 Dried Figs, Pitted and Finely Chopped                                            

2 Cups Black Walnuts, Finely Chopped

2 Cups Seedless Raisins, Finely Chopped                                            

1 Cup Sherry

1 Cup Maraschino Cherries


                Frosting:  With a wire whisk or a rotary or electric beater, beat the 4 egg whites and cream of tartar in a deep bowl until they are firm enough to stand in stiff peaks on the beater when lifted from the bowl. 

                Quickly combine the sugar, water and corn syrup in a heavy 1 to 1 ½ quart enameled or stainless steel saucepan and, stirring frequently, cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves.  Raise the heat and continue to cook uncovered and undisturbed until the syrup reaches 238 degrees F. on a candy thermometer, or until a few drops spooned into ice water immediately form a soft ball. 

                Beat the reserved egg whites constantly, pour in the hot syrup in a slow, thin stream, and continue to beat until the filling is smooth, thick and cool. 

                Filling:  Place the figs and raisins in a bowl and add the sherry to soak for 30 minutes. 

                Place the raisins, nuts, and figs in a fine sieve and drain them.  Discard the soaking liquid.  Toss with the walnuts.

                To Assemble:  Set one cake layer upside down on an inverted cake pan and with a metal spatula or knife, spread about ½ cup of the frosting evenly over the surface of the cake.  Carefully put the second layer in place right side up and spread with another ½ cup of the frosting and ½ of the fruit and walnut mixture.  Place the rest on top of the second layer.   Top with the third cake layer right side up and coat the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.  Carefully slide the cake onto a serving plate and serve.  Or, if you prefer, cover loosely with wax paper or aluminum foil and set aside at room temperature for as long as two days; frosting will keep the cake moist. 


For my interpretation, I Figured I would use a more local ingredient to this dish.  All of the cakes call for walnuts, but I thought black walnuts would be a great local addition.  Of course this would make the cake more of a seasonal dish.

I try to keep the cake as white as possible and fold the nuts and fruit into the cake batter and then I have a completely white frosting to use on the cake, however you lose the pristine white of the cake, so it is better still to add the walnut filling into the middle if the cake to give some contrast to the white on white effect.

This recipe is almost the same as the one from the Time – Life Foods of the World Series printed in 1971, with the addition of black walnuts instead of regular walnuts.

This recipe again since it is a baking ratio has not changed much over the years, only the filling has been modified from the traditional lady style cake.

There is some link to the walnut cake going back as far as ancient China.  It was considered a luxury dish for the very wealthy, as anything that would require so much effort to extract from their shells would.  Modern manufacturing has made the process much easier and the walnut cake, while popular, never was considered to be the king of nuts like they are in many regions of the world.

Traditional or English Walnuts are almost exclusively grown the southwestern region of the United States, in fact the state of Arizona was originally named “Nogales,” which is Spanish for Walnut, due to the large quantity of walnut groves in the southern part of the region.

Black walnuts were a great source of food for the Native Americans and later the English colonists as they provided a high protein source that became available, just as most other foods were becoming scarce.  It was also a familiar food to the colonists, who already knew how to use them to their best advantage.  While black walnuts have a distinctive flavor with is quite different from their English walnut counterpart, they act and react the same way in preparation and in use.  For those who have not tried the black walnut, I would highly recommend using them in your next culinary adventure.  They can be used in any preparation that regular walnuts can.


black-walnut-cake 001

The Evolution: 

Black Walnut Cake

Eat, Drink & Be Merry in Maryland

Frederick Philip Stieff

The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, 1932


                ¾ Lb. butter.  1 Lb. sugar, 1 Lb. Flour. 1 nutmeg (ground).  6 eggs.  ¾ lb. black walnuts.  Bake in a loaf pan.  – Ms. Charles B. Trail, Frederick County. 


This is a very basic recipe for a black walnut pound cake.  Everything is measured as a pound, with the fat of the nuts compensating for the reduction in butter by ¼ cup.  No real instruction is given for the preparation of this dish, but you can work it out from accessing any pound cake recipe.  Creaming the butter and sugar is important to the lightening of this mixture.  Do not over incorporate the flour, or it will be very dry.  I would add the flour last so as not to overwork it.


Dutch Black Walnut Christmas Cake

The Pennsylvania Dutch and their Cookery

J. George Frederick

The Business Bourse, Publishers, 1935


2 Cups Sugar                                                                                                                     

1 Cup Milk

1 Cup Butter                                                                                                                      

3 ⅓ Cups Flour

5 Eggs                                                                                                                                   

4 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Pt. chopped Black Walnut Meats                                                                         

⅓ Tsp. Salt


                Cream the butter and then work in the eggs (well beaten) and sugar.  Then sift in the flour, baking powder and salt; add the nuts and stir alternately into the flour mixture together with the milk.  Oil a large cake pan, put in the mixture and bake for 50 minutes in moderate oven.  Spread a nut icing over it. 


The modern version of this dish is actually due to the persistent use of the recipe by the Pennsylvania Dutch.  They have actually kept this dish alive in the region, even through the cake mix revolution of the last century.

In this cake, you have a pound cake with a chemical leavener and the walnuts are added as part of the icing, rather than into the cake.


Walnut Cake Men Prefer

The Georgetown Cookbook

Compiled by: St. Stephen’s Guild of Christ Church Parish



1 Pound Black Walnut Meats

1 Pound Dates Pitted and Left Whole

1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup Flour Sifted Over Dates and Nuts, Leaving ⅛ of It in the Sifter with Baking Powder

3 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Tsp. Vanilla

½ Tsp. Salt

4 Eggs, Beaten Separately


                Beat yolks, add sugar and then alternately nuts and dates with beaten whites and other ingredients.  Cook 1 hour in moderate oven, 350°.

                Makes 2 small cakes.


This version is actually more of a fruit cake.  Great for the holidays.  It is also the best time of year to buy black walnuts since they are harvested in the late fall and early winter.  Black walnuts are a common ingredient for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the Mid-Atlantic region.


Black Walnut Cake

Recipes from Old Virginia

Virginia Association for Family & Community Education, Inc.

The Dietz Press 1958


¾ Cup Butter

2 Cups Sugar

4 Eggs

3 Cups Flour

1 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 Cup Milk

1 Tsp. Vanilla

2 Cups Black Walnut Meats


                Cream butter, sugar and eggs together.  Sift flour and baking powder.  Add all ingredients.  Bake in cake mold about 1 hour in moderate oven. (350°). 


Mrs. Ernest Vawter, Louisa County


This is the classic Bundt cake.  It is often finished with powdered sugar, but can also be topped with a royal icing.


Black Walnut Pound Cake

The Virginia Hostess

Junior women’s Club of Manasses, Inc.

The Wimmer Companies, Inc.  1991


1 ½ Cups Butter or Margarine                                                                                    

1 Tsp. Black Walnut Flavoring

1 (16 Oz. Box) 10 X Sugar                                                                                              

1 Cup chopped Black Walnuts

6 Eggs

2 Cups flour + 2 Tbsp. Flour


                Cream the butter and sugar, add one egg at a time, beating thoroughly after each.  Add flour gradually, mixing well.  Add flavoring and nuts.  Bake in a greased and floured tube pan at 350° for 65 minutes.  Remove from pan to cool on rack.  Delicious if sliced thinly and served with vanilla ice cream between two slices, sandwich style.  Serves 12. 



                This is the first mention of using black walnut flavoring.  This is a product which is usually only available in the Mid-Atlantic region and even then, it can be hard to find.  I am not crazy about using it, since I feel that it gives a sort of “moldy” aftertaste to the dish.  You are better off grinding some of the nuts and folding them in with the batter rather than using this.


Maryland Black Walnut Cake

Chesapeake Bay Cooking

John Shields



2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Tbsp. Baking Powder

¼ Tsp. Salt

8 Oz. (2 Sticks) Butter

1 ½ Cups Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

3 Eggs, Separated

¾ Cup Milk

1 ½ Cups Ground Black Walnuts

Confectioner’s Sugar for Dusting

Vanilla Ice Cream and/or Fresh Strawberry Sauce, for Accompaniment (optional)


                Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan. 

                Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and egg yolks.  Beat the mixture well.  Alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk in small portions into the batter, mixing after each addition.  Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.  Gently fold them into the batter, one third at a time.  Fold in the walnuts.  Pour the mixture into the pan. 

                Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack. 

                Dust the confectioner’s sugar, and serve with vanilla ice cream or surround with a fresh strawberry sauce.  Or if you feel like pulling out all the stops, try all three. 


This is a great version of the torte method of making the cake.  The walnuts are ground rather than just folded into the batter and it blends well with the texture of the cake.  Again, be careful with mixing in the flour, since this cake will be denser, due to the ground nuts.  You must also be aware of not over baking the cake, which will dry it out.  The ground nuts will actually make this cake moister than an average cake.

Black Walnut Cake

The Editor’s of Stackpile Books &

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Stackpile Books, 2004


3 Cups Flour

1 ¾ Cups Sugar

2 Tsp. Baking Powder

1 ½ Tsp. Salt

4 Eggs, Divided

1 Cup Shortening

¾ Cup Milk

2 Tsp. Vanilla

1 Cup Black Walnuts, Chopped


                Shortening, eggs and milk should be at room temperature.  Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add two eggs, shortening, milk and vanilla to the flour mixture, and beat for 2 minutes.  Add 2 remaining eggs and beat an additional 2 minutes.  Fold in black walnuts.  Pour batter into Bundt-type baking pan.  Bake at 375° for 1 hour.  When cool, remove from pan and glaze the cake. 


                This is another version of the classic Bundt version of the cake.  Be sure to grease and flour your Bundt pan, if it is new, as the pan get older, a patina will form and allow the pan to work better, but “curing” the pan is necessary for the first few uses, especially the more intricate the design of the pan.  Many of the more intricately designed pans may look great, but they often have areas where the cake will cook unevenly, try to find one that is symmetrical in design, with only a few ridge areas, or your cake may look better than it tastes.




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English: Scrapple, served in a restaurant.


Scrapple is considered to be one of the first original dishes created in the Mid-Atlantic region.  It is called Pon Haus in Pennsylvania Dutch which is the region in which the recipe is most commonly associated with.  In Pennsylvania it is also referred to as Pannhaas,” “panhoss,” or “pannhas.”

As the name implies, this dish was created as a way of utilizing scrap meat from pork butchering.  There is a great injustice associated with this product.  It is much maligned by people who are uniformed on the subject.  Scrapple does not contain eyeballs, ears, lips and intestines of the pig.  It may contain Offal such as liver or lungs, but it is mostly limited to pork trim.

Along the Mid-Atlantic, it is jokingly referred to as “poor man’s pâté,” and in a way it kind of is, although it has more in common with “white pudding,” which is a dish eaten primarily in the United Kingdom and is made with oatmeal rather than cornmeal and rye flours.

The Pennsylvania Dutch is a remarkable ethno-religious people which have created a sort of cuisine within a cuisine, when it comes to regional Mid-Atlantic cooking.  Their food is generally much plainer than food in the rest of the region, but this is due to the self-reliant nature of the people who practice this belief.

The spices which were so common in the American spice trade, which ran through Baltimore, while locally convenient, all such luxuries had to be traded and bartered for by the Pennsylvania Dutch.  Due to their reclusive nature, which increased more as industrial innovation began to become common place, they did not have access to “exotic” ingredients which were considered to be common only a few miles away.

As the innovations in technology and transport became more common, the Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine remained dependent on local and seasonal ingredients.  This dependence has worked to their advantage in recent years as the culinary market for local food has made the Pennsylvania Dutch a coveted supplier to restaurants and hotels in the region.


(Wikipedia Entry)

Becky's toot

            Pennsylvania Dutch refers to immigrants and their descendants from Alsace, southwestern Germany and Switzerland who settled in Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries. Historically they have spoken the dialect of German known as Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania German.

            The first major emigration of Germans to America resulted in the founding of the Borough of Germantown in northwest Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania on October 6, 1683.[1] Mass emigration of Palatines began out of Germany in the early 18th century.

            The Pennsylvania Dutch maintained numerous religious affiliations, with the greatest number being Lutheran or Reformed, but many Anabaptists as well. The Anabaptist religions promoted a simple lifestyle and their adherents were known as Plain people or Plain Dutch, as opposed to the Fancy Dutch who tended to assimilate more easily into the American mainstream.

            Over time, the various dialects spoken by these immigrants fused into a unique dialect known as Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania German. At one time, over a third of Pennsylvania’s population spoke this language, which also had an impact on the local dialect of English.

            After the Second World War, use of Pennsylvania German died out in favor of English, except among the more insular and tradition-bound Anabaptists, such as the Old Order Mennonite and Old Order Amish. However, a number of German cultural practices continue to this day, and German-Americans remain the largest ancestry group in Pennsylvania.[2]


Pork mush or scrapple can be eaten “raw,” which is actually not really raw since it is pre cooked, and is sometimes eaten by impatient children, but most often, it is sliced and dredged in flour and fried in oil until crisp.  It is usually served with eggs, but it can also be commonly found in a breakfast sandwich.  Most people consider it to be a cholesterol nightmare, but in fact, it is mostly a carbohydrate.

Scrapple is commonly served with catsup, or applesauce, although sour cream is also a common accompaniment.  It is said that these are a direct result of the region of Pennsylvania in which you eat it, but you can see any of these things served just about anywhere.  Catsup is the most common of all the condiments since it also is served on the side with scrambled eggs.

I don’t have a recipe for scrapple myself, since even though it is on the breakfast menu; it is not something that we make.  It is readily available for purchase already made and is a quality product as good as anything you can make yourself.  You may have to special order it if you do not live in the Mid-Atlantic region.



Scrapple and Eggs


Eat, Drink & Be Merry in Maryland

Frederick Philip Stieff

The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore & London, 1932


                One jowl and one liver.  Boil until it is well done, take out all the bones, run the meat through sausage cutter, then throw it in the water it was boiled in, season with salt, pepper, and sage, thicken with cornmeal the consistency of thin mush, put in pans and slice off to fry.  – Mrs. J. Morsell Roberts, Calvert County. 


The recipe for scrapple has not really changed much over the years, since it is a product of utilizing scrap meat.  The one tip I can give you is the importance of seasoning, since the dish is comprised of so much carbohydrates and flour, the seasoning must be strong.  Salt, as well as herbs and spices, must be used in large quantities.  You can taste this dish as it is thickening, since it is already well cooked by this point.


Philadelphia Scrapple Croquettes

 The Pennsylvania Dutch and their Cookery

J. George Frederick

The Business Bourse, Publishers, 1935


1 Cup Scrapple                                                                                                 

½ Cup Cracker or Bread Crumbs

2 Eggs, Hard Boiled                                                                                        

1 Tsp. Minced Parsley

1 Cup Cooked Rice, or Mashed Potatoes                                              

Salt, Pepper

1 Egg, Beaten


                In a wooden or earthen bowl, mix well the scrapple, the rice or the potatoes, the hard cooked eggs, chopped fine.  Season with parsley etc, shape into croquettes with beaten egg and bread crumbs, fry in deep fat.  Serve with horseradish sauce or with fried tomatoes.


                In this book there are a myriad of recipes for the uses of scrapple including:  Scrapple Cabbage, Bethlehem, Baked Scrapple with Scalloped Potatoes,  Scrapple Peppers, Germantown, Scrapple with Pineapple Rings, scrapple with Fried Tomatoes, Scrapple with Fried Peppers, Scrapple with Tomato Sauce, and Scrapple with Spinach.  The recipe use scrapple as an ingredient rather than as a recipe for making scrapple so I do not include them here, but it is a book that is worthy of seeking out if you are interested in the history and cookery of the Pennsylvania Dutch. 


Pann Haas


The Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook

Ruth Hutchison

Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York & London 1948


1 Calf’s Liver

½ Kidney (Optional)

Pork Scraps


½ Tsp. Sage

Salt And Pepper


                The correct way to make scrapple is to boil a lot of pork scraps in the water in which liverwurst is made.  Since this can only occur on a farm at butchering time, the way to get around that is to boil the liver and kidney until tender, remove from water, and chop the liver.  Chop pork and place in water with the liver.  (Skip the liver if you do not want a decided liver flavor.) Simmer until the scraps of meat shred.  The drabble cornmeal into the mixture stirring constantly.  When the consistency of mush had been achieved, add the sage, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 15 minutes longer, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.  Pour into pans about 3 inches deep.  Cool.  Slice and fry lightly.


                One of the big differences in scrapple recipes is the use of buckwheat flour.  This adds a unique taste to the dish.  In the recipe above, only cornmeal is used, this will require more cornmeal as it does not thicken the same way that Buckwheat flour does and will need additional seasoning.  This recipe would be great for anyone with a gluten allergy.

Homemade Scrapple

Mrs. Kitching’s Smith Island Cookbook

Frances Kitching & Susan Stiles Dowell

Tidewater Publishers, 1981


2 Pounds Pork Liver

1 Pound Lean Salt Pork

1 ½ Cups Flour

1 ½ Cup Cornmeal

1 Tsp. Sage


                Cut up meat into cubes.  Add to 1 ½ quarts of water.  Cook until meat is tender.  Drain and Save liquid.  Mash meat and add liquid.  Sift together dry ingredients and add to mashed meat as it simmers on the stove.  Stir constantly to keep from sticking.  Pour into baking dish and let stand until gelled.  Eat hot or store in the fridge to slice and fry later. 


In this version, they use salt pork and a larger quantity of pork liver.  Be careful with the liver, as it has a strong flavor and can make the dish taste more like pate than scrapple.  Salt pork can be used, but it is hard to puree it into the necessary mush since it has been cured.  It will give a good flavor, but the texture will be different in the final product.



Best of the Best from Pennsylvania

Gwen McKee & Barbra Moseley

Quail Ridge Press 1993


1 Pound Pork Pudding Meat

1 Qt. Water or Pork Broth

1 ½ Cups Cornmeal

¼ Cup Buckwheat Flour

Salt & Pepper to Taste


                Stir pudding meat into 1 quart seasoned rapidly boiling water or pork broth.  When the mixture reaches the boiling point, slowly add the cornmeal and buckwheat flour.  Stir continuously until thickened.  Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.  Pour into two 1 pound loaf pans.  Cool thoroughly; then refrigerate promptly.  When scrapple is set, cut in ⅜ to ½ inch slices and fry in hot, greased skillet.  When slices are browned and crusty, turn and brown the other side. 

                Serve with catsup, syrup or apple butter.  A hearty and traditional breakfast dish.  Makes 3 – 4 pounds of scrapple.


                This is a classic example of a scrapple recipe.  Pork pudding meat is pureed pork trim, this can be done in a food processor.  The main innovation in the evolution of this dish is the use of machines to pulp the meat.  Even 50 years before this, sausage grinders were used, now any number of kitchen tools can be used to achieve the same result with a lot less effort.

The recipe does not make clear if the pork pudding meat is raw or cook, it should be cooked since the liquid used to cook the pork makes a stock which is used in the cooking process.


Scrapple (Pannhass)

Pennsylvania Trail of History Cookbook

The Editor’s of Stackpile Books &

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Stackpile Books, 2004


2 Pigs Hearts                                                                                                     

1 ½ Pounds Pig Liver

2 Pounds somewhat Fatty Pork                                                                

2 or 3 Pounds Pork Bones (Optional)

1 ½ Cups Flour                                                                                                  

1 Cup Buckwheat Flour

3 Cups Yellow Cornmeal                                                                             

2 Tbsp. Salt

2 Tbsp. Ground Black Pepper                                                                    

1 ½ Tbsp. Ground Sage (Optional)


                Cover meat and bones completely with water in a large pot.  Boil for 3 hours.  Remove meat and bones, and let cool.  Strain the liquid and set aside.  Cut off the excess fat and gristle, then grind the meat.  Discard bones.  Mix together flour and cornmeal.  Dissolve a little of the flour mixture into some of the liquid to make a smooth paste.  Mix this into the rest of the liquid, add meat and bring to a boil.  Take off the heat and stir in the rest of the flour and cornmeal mixture and seasoning.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Return to the heat and boil for 30 – 45 minutes, or until very thick.  The mixture must be stirred constantly after the cornmeal is added, as it will burn very easily.  When a cake tester remains upright in the mixture, pour into bread pans and let cool.  After refrigerating overnight, the scrapple will be ready to fry.  If it is cooked nice and thick, the scrapple will slice easily and fry up without breaking apart.  Fry on both sides with a little lard and butter.  You may dip the scrapple into flour before frying.  In the Cambria-Somerset county area, scrapple is often topped with maple syrup, jelly or apple butter.  In the Lancaster County, where Landis Valley Museum is located, the preferred topping is King Syrup, Molasses or Catsup.  Makes 3 – 4 servings. 



The biggest problem faced when making scrapple is keeping the slurry moving in the pot, so it does not burn.  If it “catches” on the bottom, the resulting burning of the mush will contaminate the flavor of the entire dish; it can’t just be scrapped off.  It is similar to making a cream based soup, it is better to take it slow over a low heat than to try to bring it to a boil.  This is why the ingredients need to be cooked before the final thickening is done.

Scrapple is a dish that must be experienced before it is written off.  Most of the prejudice against this dish is based on complete ignorance.  The people, who are the strongest advocates against it, are people who have never tried it.

It is considered to be a first world problem to be picky about the food you eat.  In countries where food is a necessity, not a luxury, utilizing every scrap is the difference between eating and starving.  This dish was born out of necessity and in the modern world, it should be considered an inexpensive luxury.




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