The simplest forms of cooking fruit are stewing and baking. Only a small amount of sugar is needed, and it is not well to prepare a large quantity at a time, as stewed fruits do not keep long. In cooking fruit always use porcelain or granite kettles, earthen dishes, wooden spoons, and silver knives, and pare just before cooking, that the delicate flavor of the fruit may be preserved, and its attractive appearance not impaired by discoloration.
Pare, core, and quarter six or eight tart apples. Make a syrup with one cup of sugar, two thirds of a cup of water, and a little lemon peel. When boiling, add the apples, and cook carefully two or three minutes, till they are just tender, but not broken. Remove them carefully, boil the syrup down a little, and strain it over the apples. Cook them in granite or porcelain pans, and use a wooden spoon.
Make a syrup with one cup of sugar, one cup of water, and a square-inch of stick cinnamon. Boil slowly for ten minutes, skimming well. Core and pare eight or ten tart apples; cook till nearly done in the syrup. Drain, and cook them a few minutes in the oven. Boil the syrup till almost like a jelly. Arrange the apples on a dish for serving. Fill the core cavities with jelly or marmalade. Pour the syrup over them. Put whipped cream around the base, and garnish the cream with jelly.
Core and pare sour apples. Put them in a shallow earthen dish, fill the cavities with sugar, mixed with grated lemon rind; add water to cover the bottom of the dish. Bake in a very quick oven till soft, basting often with the syrup.
No. 2.- Fill a deep pudding-dish with apples, pared, cored, and quartered. For two quarts add one cup of sugar and one cup of water. Bake, closely covered, in a very moderate oven several hours, or till dark red.
Hard pears, or "windfalls," are delicious pared and baked as in the preceding receipt. When done, and still hot, they may be sealed in Mason's jars, and will keep indefinitely. By preparing one large dishful every day during the pear season, a supply of wholesome sauce may be easily obtained from fruit that is often left to waste on the ground.
Wash and cut the rhubarb into inch pieces without peeling. Put it into a granite double boiler, add one cup of sugar for a pint of fruit, and cook till the rhubarb is soft. Do not stir it. When the rhubarb is very sour, steam it without sugar until the juice flows, then drain it, add the sugar, and steam again till the sugar is dissolved. Or pour boiling water over it and let it stand five minutes, then drain and steam.
Wash carefully, and if hard and dry soak an hour before cooking. Put them into a porcelain kettle, with boiling water to cover them. Boil, closely covered, from five to ten minutes, or until swollen and tender. Then add one tablespoonful of sugar for one pint of prunes, and boil a few moments longer, but not enough to break them. Use only the best selected prunes. If they lack flavor, add a little lemon juice.
Put three pints of washed cranberries in a granite stewpan. On top of them put three cups of granulated sugar and three gills of water. After they begin to boil cook them ten minutes, closely covered, and do not stir them. Remove the scum. They will jelly when cool, and the skins will be soft and tender.
No. 2. (Miss Ward.) - Equal measure of cranberries and sugar. Wash, drain, put in a porcelain kettle with cold water to just show among the berries when they are pressed down. When they boil add a quarter of the sugar. Sprinkle it over the berries without stirring. Let it boil again a minute, add another quarter, etc., till all the sugar is in. Boil up once more, and turn out. Boil slowly, and do not stir. This method is preferred by those who like a very rich sweet sauce.