The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter

Recipes from the Land Between the Lakes

The Tale of Holly How (#2)

The Tale of Holly How (#2)
(click for pdf [printable] version)

These are the recipes that are included in The Tale of Holly How (#2). Authentic Lake District foods are usually calorie-rich and based on locally grown meat, poultry, vegetables, garden-grown fruit and berries, and dairy. Mutton and lamb are favorite meats (cattle are mostly kept for their milk, rather than meat).

Sarah Barwick's Lemon Bars / Mrs. Lythecoe's Recipe for Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart /
Mrs. Beeton's Veal and Ham Pie, Recipe #898 /
Cumberland Sausage Rolls / Lady Longford's Favorite Ginger Cake /


Sarah Barwick's Lemon Bars

1½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
grated zest of 1 lemon
½ cup lemon juice
2/3 cup butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup old-fashioned oats
candied orange peel for garnish

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9" x 13" pan. Pour condensed milk into medium-sized bowl; stir in lemon zest and juice. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder in two additions, beating very well. Mix in the oats. Spread about two-thirds of this mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan, making a smooth, firm layer. Pour milk-lemon mixture over bottom layer. Spread remaining oat mixture evenly over lemon layer. (This is easier if you "dot" it in place, then smooth.). Bake for 30-35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool in pan; refrigerate for one hour. Cut into 16 squares. Decorate each square with a bit of candied orange peel. Refrigerate.


Mrs. Lythecoe's Recipe for Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart

Pastry for one 10" pie shell
2 cups rhubarb (may be canned, fresh, or frozen), cut into 1/4. pieces
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
¾ cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
½ cup whipping cream
½ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400°. Place pastry in a 10" tart or pie pan. Distribute rhubarb evenly in bottom of pie pan and sprinkle with raspberries. In a mixing bowl, whisk sugar, eggs and egg yolk; add cream and vanilla and blend together. Pour egg-cream mixture over fruit and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tart is firm in center.


Mrs. Beeton's Veal and Ham Pie, Recipe #898

Published in 1861, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management was the cookery book that every middle-class Victorian bride asked for when she set up housekeeping. This recipe (which was prepared by Parsley Badger) appears on page 427 in the facsimile edition of Mrs. Beeton's. I have a copy—such fun to read! It's interesting, too, to notice the "seasonable" information included in the recipes and remember that, in the time of the Cottage Tales, most foods were still local and eaten when they were fresh and available.

2 pounds veal cutlets
½ pound ham
2 tablespoons minced fresh savory herbs (parsley, thyme, marjoram, sage)
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 blades of pounded mace
pepper and salt to taste
strip of lemon peel finely minced
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
yolks of 2 hard-boiled eggs
½ pint of water
nearly ½ pint of good strong gravy
puff crust
yolk of one egg, beaten

Mode. Cut the veal into nice square pieces, and put a layer of them at the bottom of a pie-dish; sprinkle over these a portion of the herbs, spices, seasoning, lemon peel, and the yolks of the eggs cut in slices. Cut the ham very thin, and put a layer of this in. Proceed in this manner until the dish is full, so arranging it that the ham comes at the top. Lay a puff-paste on the edge of the dish, and pour in about ¼ pint of water. Cover with crust, ornament it with leaves, brush it over with the yolk of an egg, and bake in a well-heated oven for 1 to 1½ hours, or longer, should the pie be very large. When it is taken out of the oven, pour in at the top, through a funnel, nearly ½ pint of strong gravy. This should be made sufficiently good that, when cold, it may cut in a firm jelly. This pie may be very much enriched by adding a few mushrooms, oysters, or sweetbreads; but it will be found very good without any of the last-named additions.

Time. 1½ hour, or longer, should the pie be very large.

Average cost. 3 shillings

Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons

Seasonable from March to October


Cumberland Sausage Rolls

Cumberland sausages have been on people's tables for at least 500 years. They are traditionally long (up to 24"); in shops, they are sold in a rolled coil. The highly seasoned (lots of pepper!) pork is chopped, rather than ground, which gives the sausage a chunky texture.

1 pound sausage
1 egg
3-4 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dry sage
½ teaspoon dry thyme
½ teaspoon dry savory
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
pastry for two pie shells

Mix pork, egg, bread crumbs, and herbs. Divide the mixture into 32 pieces and roll into cigar-shaped sausages about 4" long. (Hint: divide the mixture into 4 parts, then divide each part into four. Roll out 16 sausages and cut each into two.) Heat oil in a skillet and fry the sausages until they are browned nicely. Cool. Roll out half the pastry to about 1/8" thickness, and cut in 16 wedges. Place a sausage at the wide end of one of the wedges. Roll up and place point side down on a cookie sheet. When 16 rolls have been completed, roll out the second pastry round and prepare 16 more rolls. Refrigerate the unbaked rolls until you are ready to bake. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 15 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately.


Lady Longford's Favorite Ginger Cake

1 cup butter
1¼ cups brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
¼ cup grated fresh ginger root
grated zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
2½ cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9" Bundt pan. Sift together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the grated ginger root, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Dust lightly with confectioners' sugar before serving.


Click here for pdf [printable] version of these recipes

Check out some other Cottage Tales recipes:
The Tale of Hill Top Farm (#1) / The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood (#3)