Monday, 6 June 2016

History Bakers: Plum Bread

May’s recipe for Plum Bread comes from the Ada Hartley collection [C DIMH/1/3]. Ada Hartley was a teacher for 47 years within the East Riding of Yorkshire, 33 of those years spent at Hessle C.E. Infants School where she rose to be Headmistress. Her other interests included amateur dramatics, volunteering with the St. John's Ambulance Society and cooking.

Recipe book from the Ada Hartley Collection [C DIMH/1/3]

The recipe book is a collection of handwritten recipes and recipes cut out and collected from magazines from circa 1910 to 1970, the volume is dated Feb 1946 at the front.

¾ lb sugar
½ lb lard
¼ lb butter
2 lbs flour
½ lb currants
½ lb raisins
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder or baking soda

Ingredients needed for plum plums though....

As you can see, despite being called plum bread, no plums are listed in the ingredients. Perhaps the dried fruit are offered as an alternative.

·         Mix fairly soft
·         Bake in two tins for about 2 hours

The method is somewhat lacking in detail so the following is my interpretation. As the ingredients were for two loaves I halved the amount listed in order to make just the one loaf. Although instead of using just one medium egg I added two small eggs.

Mix the sugar, lard and butter together until one mixture. Add all of the other ingredients and mix together. It was fairly difficult to mix until soft, and was certainly a workout for the arms! Then put into a greased loaf tin and bake. Again, although the recipe suggests baking time should be 2 hours this seemed a little too long and so I removed the loaf from the oven after just 1 hour 25 minutes, once it was lightly golden in colour.

The finished bake!

Here are some of my colleagues’ comments:
Claire: Lovely and fruity scone-like texture
Dave: Really sweet and crumbly
Verity: Tasty and very scone-like
Elaine: Lovely, very crumbly - an excuse to eat a few more crumbs!
Alex: Crumbly, lovely and fruity
Christine: An unexpected surprise, as it tastes like a very large fruit scone and a scraping of butter would make it taste even better.

Laura Wilson, Archivist

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