Historic Halloween Cooking

I had participated in a zoom class on Halloween from my favorite teacher, Paul Couchman.  I was quite sick that day so haven’t been able to try the recipes.  So this afternoon I felt well enough to tackle them.

First I made the Soul-Cakes. Per the class, in the Middle Ages around the days of Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day poorer members of the community would go souling or asking for charity from their richer neighbours. They’d offer to pray for the souls of deceased friends and relatives, and in exchange get a ‘soul cake’.  Soul cakes were first recorded around 1400.

They are made with flour, mixed spice (which I had previously made), nutmeg, salt, butter, caster sugar, currants, egg yolk, milk, oats and vinegar.  Here they are after baking.  They are quite yummy. I love them.

Next I started making Champ or Mash of Nine Sorts.  Per the class in rural Ireland the traditional Halloween festival food was champ – a bowl of potatoes mashed with buttermilk, made green with leeks, enriched with a pat of fresh butter and set on the table for all to share. In the creamy green mass, favours had been buried; a coin for wealth, a ring for a wedding, a dried pea for prosperity, and a blackthorn twig to beat an erring spouse. Champ also went by the poetic name of Mash of Nine Sorts because it traditionally contained nine ingredients.

For this I used our potatoes, turnip, parsnip, leeks and peas.  Here are some of these vegetables that I pulled from the garden this morning.

To this I added carrots, cream, hard cheese, and butter.  All of the root vegetables are boiled until soft and then put through a sieve.  I used my grandmother’s.

Then the remaining ingredients are added, and it is baked.  I didn’t add any objects to it.  Here it is coming out of the oven.

I thought it was very good.  It is warm, tasty and comforting.

Then I made a 1675 pumpkin pie recipe from Hannah Woolley.  I used our pumpkin, apple and eggs.  It also has nutmeg, cloves, lemon zest, brown sugar, butter and cream.  I made a shortcrust pastry using the NYT recipe.  Here it is after baking.

This pie was really good.  It is creamier and less pumpkin-y than a regular pumpkin pie.  The apples on top were fun too.

Back to the farm, I continue to feed extra pumpkins to the animals.  I gave the large pumpkin I had been coveting for a Jack-o’-lantern to them today.  It was kind of sad since I never had the energy to carve this wonderful pumpkin.  But the turkeys seem to like it,

We have starting feeding hay to the cows.  Summertime likes it too.

I thought Wally looked impressive on the Honda car.

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2 Responses to Historic Halloween Cooking

  1. Jeanne says:

    Very nice! Could you post the recipe for the pumpkin pie? If it would be okay with the lady who published it. We don’t need the crust recipe. We usually don’t have a crust, and just call it “no pie”!

    I really enjoyed your post. Thank!

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