Place them in a Dutch oven at a considerable distance from the fire, and keep them constantly turned: they should only be just warmed through. Fold them in a napkin when done, and send them immediately to table. This mode of treating them is said to improve greatly the flavour of the oranges.
To one pound of the apples, put one quart of water and six ounces of sugar; let them simmer gently for three hours, or more should they not be perfectly tender. A few strips of fresh lemon-peel and a very few cloves are by some persons considered agreeable additions to the syrup.
Dried Normandy pippins, 1 lb.; water, 1 quart; sugar, 6 ozs.: 3 to 4 hours.
These pippins, if stewed with care, will be converted into a rich confection: they may be served hot in a border of rice, as a second course dish.
These plums, which resemble in form small dried Norfolk biffins, make a delicious compôte: they are also excellent served dry. In France they are stewed till tender in equal parts of water, and of the light red wine of the country, with about four ounces of sugar to the pound of fruit: when port wine is used for them a smaller proportion of it will suffice. The sugar should not be added in stewing any dried fruits until they are at least half-done, as they will not soften by any means so easily in syrup as in unsweetened liquid.
Dried plums, 1 lb.; water, 1/2 pint, and light claret, 1/2 pint, or water, 3/4 pint, and port wine, 1/4 pint: 1 1/2 hour. Sugar, 4 ozs.: 1 hour, or more.
Common French plums are stewed in the same way with or without wine. A little experience will teach the cook the exact quantity of liquid and of sugar which they require.
(Our little lady's receipt.) Put into a wide jar, with a cover, two quarts of golden pippins, or any small apple which resembles them in appearance, pared and cored, but without being divided; strew amongst them some small strips of very thin fresh lemon-rind, and throw on them, nearly at the top, half a pound of very good sugar, and set the jar, with the cover tied on, for some hours, or for a night, into a very slow oven. The apples will be extremely good, if not too quickly baked: they should remain entire, but be perfectly tender and clear in appearance. Add a little lemon-juice when the season is far advanced.
Apples, 2 quarts; rind, quite small lemon; sugar, 1/2 lb.: 1 night in slow oven; or some hours baking in a very gentle one.
These apples may be served hot or cold for a second course dish; or they will answer admirably to fill Gabrielle's pudding.
Wipe some large sound iron pears, arrange them on a dish with the stalk end upwards, put them into the oven after the bread is drawn, and let them remain all night. If well baked, they will be excellent, very sweet, and juicy, and much finer in flavour than those which are stewed or baked with sugar: the bon chrétien pear also is delicious baked thus.
Pare, cut in halves, and core a dozen fine iron pears, put them into a close-shutting stewpan with some thin strips of lemon-rind, half a round of sugar, in lumps, as much water as will nearly cover them, and should a very bright colour be desired, a dozen grains of cochineal, bruised, and tied in a muslin; stew the fruit as gently as possible, from four to six hours, or longer, should it not be very tender. The Chaumontel pear, which sometimes fells in large quantities before it is ripe, is excellent, if first baked until tolerably tender, and then stewed in a thin syrup.
Make a slight incision in the outer skin only of each chestnut, to prevent its bursting, and when all are done, throw them into plenty of boiling water, with about a dessertspoonful of salt to the half gallon. Some chestnuts will require to be boiled nearly or quite an hour, others little more than half the time; the cook should try them occasionally, and as soon as they are soft through, drain them, wipe them in a coarse cloth, and send them to table quickly in a hot napkin.
The best mode of preparing these is to roast them, as in Spain, in a coffee-roaster, after having first boiled them from five to seven minutes, and wiped them dry. They should not be allowed to cool, and will require but from ten to fifteen minutes roasting. They may, when more convenient, be finished over the fire as usual, or in a Dutch or common oven, but in all eases the previous boiling will be found an improvement
Never omit to cut the rind of each nut slightly before it is cooked. Serve the chestnuts very hot in a napkin, and send salt to table with them.