Friday, 8 August 2014

Hannah Glasse's chocolate pie

Years ago I saw the Two Fat Ladies do a version of this and thought it looked tasty, but never got around to making it.  Well, this week I decided to look out the original 18th century recipe.  It's actually two recipes.  The almond pastry ("Pafte for a Crackling Cruft") comes from The Art of Cookery, while the chocolate filling is from The Complete Confectioner.

First up, pastry.  I bought my almonds pre-ground and couldn't find orange flower water, so I just mixed egg white and almonds and hoped for the best.  I baked the crust for half an hour at 140 degrees C, and to my surprise it was very successful.   I have to admit I was skeptical about the almond/egg white crust at first and I thought it might be a disaster.  I didn't even try to roll out the crust, just pressed it directly into the pie tin.  Your mileage may vary, but if your almond pastry is anything like mine it will not roll out easily.

I did follow the recipe for the chocolate filling,  although I halved the ingredient quantities due to the size of my pie.   The recipe calls for "some" chocolate, and while I didn't actually measure it I'd guess I used 100 grams or so.  Based on advice from Savoring the Past, I baked the pie for 40 minutes at 170 degrees C and refrigerated it overnight.

The Challenge: Pies

The Recipe: Hannah Glasse's "Paste for a Crackling Crust" from The Art of Cookery and "A Chocolate Tart Another Way" from The Complete Confectioner.

The Date/Year and Region: 1800 or thereabouts.

How Did You Make It: As described in this post.

Time to complete: Around 2 1/2 hours, excluding refrigeration time.

Total Cost: Probably about $10 out of pocket.

How Successful Was It? I would happily serve this pie up at a dinner party.  It's a good pie!

How Accurate Is It?  As I said, I made some compromises with the pastry, and of course Hannah Glasse didn't use electric ovens or fridges.  The chocolate I used is Whittakers' Dark Ghana, and I have no idea how it compares to 18th century chocolate.  It's a bittersweet chocolate with 72% cocoa, and it did work well in this recipe.  Otherwise, I think the dish is fairly accurate.


  1. It looks nice :) As for what chocolate was like in 1800, I think they had not yet invented solid chocolate bars as we know it. Chocolate was a drink, I think it was made from powder, so cocoa might be the closest thing?

    1. Now there's a good point! If Hannah's chocolate was more like a powder that would explain why the mixture is thickened with eggs and rice flour. I must try it with cocoa powder and see how it goes.