Recipe of the Week >


Robert L. Bracklow, Kitchen of the Old Point Comfort Hotel, 4018 Boston Road, Eastchester, Bronx, New York City, undated (ca. 1900-1919). New-York Historical Society

Are you looking for a new recipes to cook while you're sheltering in place? We've got a technical challenge that would make even the contestants on The Great British Baking Show quiver. Each week, enjoy a new, very old recipe from the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library's recipe collection, including the Duane Family cookbook collection, an array of handwritten recipes that date back to 1840–1874. 


Sally Lunns

1/2 pint sour cream (or sweet)
1/2 pint buttermilk, piece of [butter]
size of hen’s egg [about ¼  cup or half a stick], 2 teaspoons 
[baking] soda, 1 teaspoon Tartaric acid [cream of tartar]
1 large cup of sugar
flour [2 to 2 1/2 cups] to make a soft batter
to drop from a spoon, pour
in a pan about 1 inch thick
[bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or until golden brown on top]
Nice [served] hot for tea



Plum Cake

From an 1860s volume of recipes belonging to Caroline Butler Laing and her daughter, Mary Hunt Butler Reeves.

Editor’s note: We recommend that less citron, raisins, and currants be used, also that the baking time be reduced from 4 hours to one. 
1 lb. flour 
1 lb. sugar 
1 lb. butter 
10 eggs
½ lb. citron [use 1/4 lb.]
2 lbs. raisins [use 1 lb.]
2 lbs. currants [use 1 lb.]
1 wine glass [of] brandy—ditto [also]—wine 
1 nutmeg [2 to 3 teaspoons, ground]
A little ginger, cloves, orange peel
Allspice to your taste
Bake 4 hours [Bake in a bundt cake pan for 1 hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until top is golden brown]
 —Mrs. Collins

Lemon Pudding

A recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection (1840-1874). We're not yet sure who Ellen O’Brian is. 

Line your dish with paste [flaky pastry dough]
2 cups sugar
Rind & peel of one lemon
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 pint milk
Work the sugar and butter thoroughly 
but you cannot cream it.
Eggs [4 large] stirred in gradually, last of all
grate in the lemon peel. Bake in a slow [300-325 degrees Fahrenheit]
oven 3/4 of an hour, or until the centre
is done.

Orangeade or Lemonade

A recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection (1840-1874)

Note: The original recipe does not indicate how much water, sugar, and lemon or orange juice to use. We recommend that you use 1 cup of fresh-squeezed lemon or orange juice, 1/2 cup sugar (1/4 cup for orangeade), and 6 cups water. 

Squeeze the juice. Pour boiling water on a little of
the pulp. Boil water and sugar to a thin syrup and
skim [if a film forms on top] it. When all are cold mix the juice, the infusion
and the syrup with as much water as will make a pleasant drink

Conserve of Plums

A recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection (1840-1874)

7 lbs. of plums, 4 lbs. sugar, 
1 qt. vinegar. Scald the vinegar and sugar 
3 days in succession pouring
it over the fruit.
Spice it with mace and 
nutmeg, cloves and whatever
suits the taste. Any kind 
of plums will do. Some
prefer small damsons 
pitted, others large fruit.
Tomatoes prepared the same.

Tomato Mustard

A recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection (1840-1874)

A peck [12 to 15 lbs.] of ripe tomatoes.
Take out the stalks. Boil with six red 
peppers for one hour. Then 
strain them through a 
collander and add a
1/2 lb. of salt, 3 table spoonfuls of black pepper,
one oz. of ginger, 1/2 oz. cloves
1/2 oz. mace, 1 oz. allspice, 
a few cloves of garlic 
or 2 onions. Then boil all 
for one hour. When cold 
add a quarter of a pound 
of ground mustard 
such as you would use for the
table, a table spoonful 
of red peppers and a half a 
pint of vinegar.

Bottle for use.
Sept. 1861


Tomato Pickles

A recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection (1840-1874)

Put them [tomatoes] in salt & water for 8 days, [then for] 24 hours in vinegar & water.

Slice some onions, put a layer of onions then a layer of tomatoes [in a deep dish or bowl].

Take cold vinegar, some whole red peppers and whatever spice you like—dry mustard, allspice, cloves [and add] over the tomatoes.


A recipe for a sweet, spiced bun from the Duane Family cookbook collection (1840-1874)

2 lbs flour
1/2 lb butter
1/2 lb sugar
1 pt milk
6 eggs
A little yeast
Baked to eat warm—like muffins

Washington Cake

A recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection (1840-1874). The original recipe for Washington Cake is credited to Mary Simpson in the early 19th century. Simpson was a free Black woman in New York City who ran her own bake shop and sold the cake to commemorate the first president. She's sometimes named as Mary Simpson Washington and described as a woman who was once enslaved by the Washington family.​

Mix together until quite white
3 cups of sugar
2 [cups] of butter
4 eggs
7 cups of flour 
1 teaspoon full of salamatus [baking soda]
1 tea cup [just under ¾ cup] of milk
1 glass of wine
1 teaspoon rose water
1 pound of fruit [dried fruit like citron, currants, or raisins]


Rice Pudding

A recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection (1840-1874)

1/2 pound of rice flour, boiled in 3 pts of milk
when cold, beat 8 eggs well with 1/2 lb of
butter & 1/2 lb of sugar, cinnamon, mace or
nutmeg to your taste. Bake half an hour.
If you please you can lay a puff paste [pastry]
over the sides & rim of the dish; and put in
raisins or currants, candied citron or other
dried sweet meats.

Scalloped Oysters

A recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection (1840-1874)

Crumb some bread fine and season it with chopped parsley nutmeg & a little pepper (Cayenne Pepper is better than black). Put some raw oysters & a little broth in the bottom of a deep dish, then layers of the bread crumbs and oysters alternately and on the top of the dish crumbs of bread & small lumps of butter. Bake slowly.




Election Cake

A civically minded recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection. During the 19th century, Election Day was considered a holiday and women would bring special celebratory cakes to polling sites to feed the male voters, many of who traveled a long way to vote. 

3 cups of warm milk 
1 cup of sugar 
1 yeast or buy 2 cts worth 
Add enough flour to make a stiff batter at night—
In the morning add: 
3 cups of sugar 
2 1/2 of butter—better to use 1 cup of lard and 1 1/2 of butter 
1 egg
1 lb raisins
1/2 lb citron
1/2 oz mace
[Note: You can substitute allspice or cinnamon]
4 nutmegs
[Note: 1/2 a nutmeg is equal to 1 tsp ground nutmeg; because nutmeg and mace have a similar flavor, consider halving the nutmeg]
1/2 gill wine
[Note: "Gill" is a liquid measurement equal to four ounces in the U.S. and five ounces in the U.K.]
1/2 gill brandy
This makes fore good sized loaves—It will be easy to half this quantity— 
If you don't get fresh lard use all butter but it's common to use lard in country

Almond Cake

A recipe taken from the Phila Delaplaine Reed diary and cookbook, circa 1824-1834. She was a member of the Delaplaine family of New York State, with branches in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia.

1 pound of butter
1 pound of flour
1 pound of sugar
1 pound of blanched almonds pounded in rosewater
A little cinnamon, cloves, and grated lemon peel

Mrs. James Tracy’s Dover Cake 

A recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection. Note: Saleratus was a leavening agent that was a precursor to baking soda. And we don't yet know who Mrs. James Tracy was. 

1 Pound of sugar 
1 Pound of flour 
1/2 Pound of butter and a large cup of cream or sour milk
3/4 of a pound of butter
6 eggs
a glass of brandy or wine 
A small teaspoon full of saleratus and nutmeg 
Or made to your taste 
A quick oven 




An 1843 recipe from the Duane Family cookbook collection for a traditional spiced cookie. Join us on May 20 at 1 pm for a virtual Living History program during which we'll uncover the history of jumbles and make the recipe

3 lb flour
2 lb sugar
1 1/2 lb butter
6 eggs 
1/2 caraway
Some rosewater 


Chocolate Brownies

From a book of recipes, probably American, compiled by an unidentified person during the early 1900's. Most of the recipes are for desserts, breads, and pastries. We don't yet know what the "Delano" refers to next to the name.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 squares of chocolate 
1/2 cup flour
1 cup  chopped walnuts
Pinch of salt
1/2 [tsp] vanilla 
2 eggs beaten separately
Bake 20 minutes in a hot oven


Spruce Beer

A recipe found in the papers (ca. 1800-1880) of New York physician John Neilson

For a Cask of 30 Gallons take 12. oz. of the Essence [of spruce] 2. Gallons of Mollasses: mix both well together in 5. or 6. Gallons of warm or cold water, according to the Climate. After the liquor has been well stirred till it bears a froth, pour it into the Cask, which fill up with water [sic]. To make it ferment put for the first time a pint of Yeast; afterwards the grounds of the same Cask will serve for the next brewing. Shake the Cask well + set it by for 2 days to work: after this let it be bunged up + it will be fit for bottling— The Bottles should be put into a cool Cellar.



Clove Cake

3 lbs of flour
1 of sugar 
1 of butter 
3 eggs 
1 pt (or less) of molasses
2 spoonfulls of cloves or teaspoon of ginger




Lemon Cake

2 1/2 tumblers of powdered sugar
3/4 of butter
3 eggs
1 tumbler of milk
4 of flour
1 teaspoon of soda dissolved in milk
1 lemon juice & peel added last
(Note: "tumblers" are similar to today's "cups" and no, they don't tell you how long to bake it.)   










The Duane Family Cookbooks were cataloged and conserved with important support from the Pine Tree Foundation of New York.

Creative: Tronvig Group