[Sca-cooks] Dredge?

Dragon dragon at crimson-dragon.com
Thu Aug 7 12:13:44 PDT 2008

Sandra Kisner wrote:

>>>In doing research I came across the following recipe in The Good
>>>Huswife's Handmaid:
>>><recipes cut>
>>---------------- End original message. ---------------------
>>Actually, I think it is exactly as simple as it looks. The mixture 
>>used is called the dredge, in this case the sugar, cinnamon and 
>>ginger, in verb form it means to coat something in a dry mixture 
>>(as in to dredge in flour).
>>These recipes make fruit pies, the sugar cinnamon and ginger will 
>>combine with the juices from the fruit during baking to produce a 
>>flavorful syrup that will (hopefully) thicken and set from the 
>>pectin in the fruit as the pie cools. Modern recipes often add a 
>>starch to the dredge to improve the thickening action but if you 
>>have good, properly ripened fruit, it really should not be an issue.
>>I'd suggest a slight modification to the recipe instructions by 
>>coating the fruit in the dredge and then placing in the crust. It 
>>will be better distributed and should give a much better result.
>But the recipe doesn't call for just coating the fruit, it asks you 
>to "fill vp your coffins," which is, I suspect, the confusing 
>part.  Unless you have very small pieces very closely packed, you're 
>going to end up with a *lot* of "dredge" in your coffin.
---------------- End original message. ---------------------

I think this is one of those things that may well be open to 
interpretation and may also be very much influenced by the 
differences in ingredients between now and then. Remember that white, 
refined sugar was available but not common. I think that is very 
significant in that it is likely that the sugar in use for most such 
recipes would have been "cone" sugar which would have had to be 
grated before use. If you have ever used this type of sugar, it has a 
rather light, slightly moist, and fluffy texture somewhat like a 
light brown sugar unless you compact it. If you just sprinkle it in, 
you won't have quite as much sugar in the pie as you might think.

You could literally fill the coffin with the sugar and yes, this 
would be a lot of sugar, even with the cone sugar. But it also 
doesn't say to pack the sugar in and around the fruit. If you use 
modern granulated sugar, it will pack in much more densely because 
the grains are uniformly small and have no molasses content so they 
don't stay separate and light like the grated cone sugar would so you 
would use more.

In either case, it's going to produce a syrup when you bake the pie. 
With the larger quantity of sugar it will be a very heavy syrup. My 
suggestion for rolling the fruit in the dredge was to make it 
somewhat lighter.


  Venimus, Saltavimus, Bibimus (et naribus canium capti sumus)

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