Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sweets and Champagne: Another Honeymoon Edition of Southern Cookin'

"The wines and liqueurs and champagnes of New Orleans were new and exhilarating to her, acquainted with only homemade blackberry and scuppernong vintages and Aunt Pitty's 'swoon' brandy..."

" 'You eat as though each meal were your last,' said Rhett. 'Don't scrape the plate, Scarlett.  I'm sure there's more in the kitchen. You have only to ask the waiter.  If you don't stop being such a glutton, you'll be as fat as the Cuban ladies and then I shall divorce you.'

But she only put out her tongue at him and ordered another pastry, thick with chocolate and stuffed with meringue."
--Gone with the Wind, Chapter XLVIII

In our previous installment of Southern Cookin' we brought you an assortment of Creole dishes that Rhett and Scarlett could have enjoyed on their honeymoon in New Orleans. But MM didn't just mention rich entrees, of course. There's also the small matter of liqueurs and champagne and sweets. So today I'm pleased to highlight the good stuff some sweeter and more bubbly fare from New Orleans.

The recipes--all either sugar or alcohol based--once again come from the trusty The Picayune's Creole Cook Book, first published in 1901 by The New Orleans Times-Picayune. (More info about the cookbook can be found in the first honeymoon cuisine post.)  

Check out the completely delicious, totally unhealthy menu after the jump.

Creole Macaroons
Macarons a la Creole

12 Ounces of Shredded Almonds
4 Ounces of Ground Almonds
2 Cupfuls of Sugar
2 Eggs
A Cupful of Wheat Flour
The Zest of 2 Louisiana Oranges

Blanch and wash and dry the Almonds. Then grind (not pound) four ounces. Shred twelve ounces, that is, after skinning, cut the Almonds lengthwise into thin shreds by dividing each Almond into at least five or six long shreds, or cut them crosswise, and the shreds will be shorter. Beat the yolks of the eggs and the whites separately, and then beat them together with the sugar, rubbing till very light and smooth. Add the grated zest of two Louisiana oranges that has been rubbed on sugar, and then incorporate the other ingredients. Roll the paste out into balls the size of an egg. Place on buttered wafer paper on a baking sheet, set in a moderate oven and bake to a light color.

Almonds Souffles
Amandes Soufflees

A Pound of Sweet Almonds
The White of an Egg
2 1/2 Cupfuls of Powdered White Sugar

Blanch, skin, wash and dry one pound of sweet Almonds, and then cut them into very small pieces. Add the white of one egg, beaten to a thick froth, and powdered white sugar. When well mixed drop upon sheets of white paper, and bake to a very light color in a moderate oven.

Cream Puffs
Choux a la Creme

A Cupful of Sifted Flour
1/2 Cupful of Butter
4 Eggs
A Cupful of Water

Set the water to boil, and while boiling, stir in the butter. Then add the flour, and stir continually till the paste leaves the sides of the saucepan. Set the mixture to cool. When cool, stir one after another, the four eggs in, after each egg is added, beat well until smooth. After adding the last egg, beat very vigorously for about four minutes; then drop by tablespoonfuls on buttered tins. Watch carefully so that they will not burn. When cold make an opening inside, through the side of the paste, with a sharp knife, and fill it with the following Custard:

A Cupful of Milk
3 Tablespoonfuls of Water
A Tablespoonful of Sugar
3 Eggs
A Teaspoonful of Vanilla
2 Tablespoonfuls of Corn Starch

Rub the corn starch in three tablespoonfuls of water and add it to the boiling milk. Let boil three minutes, stirring constantly. Beat the eggs, without separating, and the sugar till light, and add to the boiling Add the Vanilla, stirring all well. Fill the Cakes and set away to cool.

Chocolate Eclairs
Eclairs au Chocolat

A Cupful of Flour
A Cupful of Water
4 Eggs
1/2 Cupful of Water
2 Ounces of Chocolate
4 Ounces of Powdered White Sugar

Make a cream puff paste as in preceding recipe. Put into a tube or a pastry bag and press out upon well-buttered tins in the shape of Lady Fingers. This will give the Eclairs the right shape, making them about five inches long. Set to bake in a quick oven twenty or thirty minutes. If the oven is of the right temperature and the Cakes are properly baked, they will be hollow within and very daintily crusted without. Fill with a mixture made by melting two ounces of Chocolate and four ounces of powdered white sugar, and set away to cool. You may ice by dipping one end into the icing and then setting to dry. Eclairs may be filled with Preserved Fruits, Orange Icing, Whipped Cream or any Marmalade.

Champagne Punch a la Creole
Ponche au Vin de Champagne a la Creole

A Pound of Sugar
A Pint of Lemon Juice
A Quart Bottle of Champagne
A Quart of the Best White Wine
1/4 Pint of Curacoa
2 Quarts of Seltzer Water
1/2 of a Grated Pineapple
1/2 of a Sliced Pineapple
3 Dozen Strawberries
A Large Piece of Ice

Take a large punch bowl, and dissolve in it one pound of sugar, one pint of lemon juice, one quart of White Wine, one quart bottle of Champagne, two quarts of Seltzer Water, one-eighth of a pint of Curacoa, and one-half of a grated pineapple. Mix well. Put in a large piece of ice, decorate with strawberries and sliced pineapple, let it cool, and serve in small cup glasses. This quantity will serve twenty-five people.

Royal Sherbet
Sorbet a la Royale

A Dozen Fine Louisiana Oranges
2 Tablespoonfuls of Brandy
2 Tablespoonfuls of Orange Syrup

Take fine, fresh Louisiana Oranges and press out all the juice, and mash the pulp and strain through a sieve. To each pint of juice allow two tablespoonfuls of Brandy and two of Orange Syrup. Sweeten to taste and freeze and serve according to the directions given for preceding Punches.

Mint Julep a la Creole

A Large Cut Glass Filled With Water
3 Lumps of Sugar
A Tablespoonful of Good Brandy, or Whisky
The Juice of Half a Lemon
A Bit of Lemon or Orange Peel
6 Sprigs of Fresh Young Mint
A Few Ripe Strawberries

Take one large cut glass, half full with water, add six sprigs of fresh Mint, three lumps of sugar. Stir well, till the sugar is absorbed. Add a tablespoonful of good Brandy or Whisky, and stir well. Add a little lemon and orange peel, if desired. Fill the glass with crushed ice, and decorate on top with sprigs of Mint. Place a few ripe strawberries on top of the Mint, sprinkle lightly with crushed sugar, and serve. This Julep was a famous offering at the ancient plantation homes of Louisiana. Sliced orange or sliced pineapple is frequently added.

Roman Punch
Ponche a la Romaine

A Quart of Lemon Sherbet
1/2 Pint of Champagne
1/2 Pint of Jamaica Rum
A Gill of Maraschino (1/2 cup)
A Teaspoonful of Vanilla

Make a lemon sherbet, and freeze it very hard. Then add the liquors slowly, and beat well. Turn into a freezer, pack and cover it well, and let it stand for four or five hours. The Punch will not freeze perfectly, on account of the alcohol. The correct way to serve it is in a rather liquid state, in glasses. 


  1. Oh dear, two of my favourite things in the whole wide world in one post!! Sweets and fizzy drinks!! Can't wait to try the Creole Macaroons soon (says SJ stuffing a piece of Belgian chocolate in her mouth). And the Champagne Punch a la Creole sounds like something to share on a summer afternoon with a few friends. Summer definitely over here but I will save the recipe till next year. Thanks so much for this, iso.

    Mmm, I am sure that the newlyweds were pretty high on alcohol during the whole honeymoon. I wonder how much of this habit they took home with them. Of course the kids were around then and so they were obliged to act proper and all that and as we can see later in the marriage alcohol is used for the wrong reasons by both spouses so I would not want to suggest that they boozed all the time. But wouldn't it have been nice if they had continued some of the joyfulness at home? F.e. Rhett taking her out on the town once a week, reliving the honeymoon days so to speak. It seems that Scarlett quickly returned to her usual hard-working self with the new house, plans for Tara and the expansion of her businesses. I think Rhett envisioned more of a honeymoon kind of life for them. Aw.

  2. SJ- Thanks! I had a sense you might enjoy this one. ;) And in answer to your question, I do think Rhett and Scarlett brought some of their happy imbibing and eating habits home, at least for a little bit. It seems like the National Hotel period was a bit of an extended honeymoon for them. Certainly, Scarlett was busy overseeing the construction of the house, but we know they also lived in amiability at the National. So I can imagine them embracing a more leisurely lifestyle there, complete with some romantic dinners and plenty of alcohol. Perhaps it was like that in the very early days in the house, too, and they were able to relive the honeymoon days a little bit, before the quarrels set in and everything went downhill. Oh, why couldn't they have stayed happy forever!

  3. Because there would've been no point in writing a book!
    These posts are making me feel sad. It's all so tragic and ironic! What a shame happiness isn't permanent. But I guess that's life, it never happens as you plan.
    Does anyone have any idea how long Rhett and Scarlett were in New Orleans? I don't believe it gets a mention in the novel. And another thing, the cat and dog Scarlett bought for Beau and Wade... did they have to stay in the hotel suite until the lovebirds returned to Atlanta?
    Oh, and thanks for the recipes, I'm looking forward to the champagne punch - just imagining when I go into the bottle shop "can I have a quart of the best white wine?" I think I might have to be a bit more specific!
    As always, thanks guys. Love the posts and looking forward to the next doppelganger.

  4. This is GREAT...

    I too have a thing for sweets and anything with bubbles ;) A shame online sharing is not possible... mind you if anybody do get around to stir any of these things together I think a photo should be submitted to the editors :D

  5. @ MM. They spent two weeks in New Orleans. Located the quote: "In fact, in those two weeks in New Orleans, she learned everything about him except what he really was." I wondered the same thing about the animals. Perhaps they had an arrangement with the hotel staff?

    @M. Oh, we'll just nag SJ to post some picture of her Macaroons! :P

  6. Roman Punch is mentioned in one of my other favorite novels, "The Age of Innocence," and I always wondered what was in it. This is a different recipe from what I found when I was poking around online.

    I definitely think Rhett and Scarlett were drunk most of the time in New Orleans, though in reading between the lines I tend to think Rhett held back a bit and let Scarlett get plastered because it was fun to watch. MM says that Scarlett wasn't very used to alcohol (besides brandy, obviously), and that Rhett seemed amused by her drunken singing the night before. So I kind of think the honeymoon was all about hedonism for Rhett and that he meant it when he said he wanted her to have fun (aren't honeymoons supposed to be fun anyway?).

    I always thought it was sad that the fun in their lives seemed to evaporate once they got back to Atlanta. Granted, they had the kids and Scarlett's businesses and other responsibilities. But you never hear of them going out on the town or going on vacation or anything. How much of that was Scarlett's work-a-holic ways, and how much of it was Rhett pulling back emotionally from a bad marriage?

    P.S. I definitely think Rhett paid the hotel staff handsomely to take care of the puppy and kitten and handle clean-up duty and whatnot. I also have the feeling Scarlett didn't exactly consult him before buying the animals.


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