Fellow antique dessert lovers,
A brief summary of the latest Sage Hen for those who missed it, and a vital update on how to snag your next seat!
Month three in the life of Sage Hen Dessert Series was a great one. This time around, the focus was on ingredients that comprised the culinary color palate of America’s early years. Virginia brown bread with local butter balancing sourdough tang and sweet molasses, blackberries and strawberries that early settlers preserved as fast as they could forage, salvaged brewers’ yeast used to leaven a caraway-spiked cake, and the nuts our forebears grew (peanuts) or shook from native trees (pecans) all found their way into this month’s dessert flight.
A favorite was the dried strawberry dumpling (the recipe can be found below); a dish described by Mary Rockwell Powers in her diary as she and her family made their way to California on the Overland Trail. Using the very last of the precious dried strawberries they had brought from back home, she detailed her method of shaping and boiling these little steamy pockets of fruit at a campfire under the vast starlit sky of the American prairie. One can only imagine the comfort of this last taste of home as she and her family pushed towards the great unknown.
Also moving bravely forward, Sage Hen will be adopting a new ticketing system for future events starting in August! Available through brownpapertickets.com, tickets will be released one month before each event. That means tickets for August will go live tomorrow, Friday July 3 at 12am. Snag them early!
As always, you can check out what’s new for Sage Hen on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
With great appreciation for all your enthusiasm thus far and much excitement for the months to come, I wish you all a happy 4th of July!
Adapted from the American Frugal Housewife, 1833, based on a diary entry by Mary Rockwell Powers, mid-1800s
275g (1c) flour
110g (1/4c) butter, softened
5g (1 tsp) baking powder
2g (1/2 tsp) salt
100g (1/3c) water
20g (1 1/2 tablespoons) sugar
- Sift together dry ingredients
- Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add water, mix with as few strokes as is necessary to bring into a rough ball. Wrap loosely in plastic and let rest at room temperature 30 min.
- Once rested, roll out the dough 1/4 inch thick, wrap again and let rest–in the refrigerator this time–30 min.
3 cups dried strawberries or any other dried fruit
lemon juice and sugar to taste
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan with enough water to cover and simmer until strawberries are softened. Adjust sweetness and acid with sugar and lemon juice. Strain, saving the juice.
- Once the filling is cool, take your dough out of the fridge and cut out two 3-inch rounds for every dumpling you’d like to make. Working quickly so as not to overheat the dough, shape each round into a slightly concave cup. Fill with a small amount of filling and top with another, inverted dough cup. Press edges together to seal. There should be as much filling in each dumpling as you can fit without it squeezing between the two dough rounds.
- Have ready squares of plastic wrap, 8 inches in width and two layers thick. Place a dumpling in the center of each square and loosely gather the edges of the plastic together, tying with another piece of plastic wrap to create a waterproof seal.
- Once all your dumplings are ready, drop into boiling water, and hold at a steady boil for 1 1/2 hours. Serve piping hot with a spoonful of the leftover juices and a sprinkle of grated nutmeg over the top.