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I’m hoping to make Amelia Simmons’s A Cream Almond Pudding from her 1796 American Cookery. The recipe is:

Boil gently a little mace and half a nutmeg (grated) in a quart cream; when cool, beat 8 yolks and 3 whites, ſtrain and mix with one ſpoon flour one quarter of a pound almonds; ſettled, add one ſpoon roſe-water, and by degrees the cold cream and beat well together; wet a thick cloth and flour it, and pour in the pudding, boil hard half an hour, take out, pour over it melted butter and ſugar.

My copy also has an errata:

A cream almond pudding: for 8 yolks and 3 whites, read 8 eggs; for 1 ſpoon flour, read 8 — boil an hour and half.

There is a note at the beginning of the PUDDINGS section apparently emphasizing that this is an important instruction, otherwise I would have considered just ignoring it:

N. B. The mode of introducing the ingredients, is a material point; in all caſes where eggs are mentioned it is underſtood to be well beat; whites and yolks and the ſpices, fine and ſettled.

I’m assuming that “ſettled” in both cases is “settled”, although since I don’t know what either would mean I could obviously be wrong. Chris H noted in the comments that it seems like it ought to apply similarly to both the spices (in the nota bene) and the almonds or almond/flour mixture (in the recipe). It does seem that “the spices, fine and settled” sounds vaguely like it could be some sort of then-recognizable phrase.

A search on archive.org for “settled” (and for “fettled” since the characters in this text are similar enough for OCR to make mistakes) and “pudding” seems to bring up relatively modern meanings: people can settle in a location; items in motion, such as boiling, can settle down, i.e., stop boiling; and items in suspension can settle to the bottom of a container. None of these seem to apply in this case. I suppose you could wait for the flour and almonds (or spices in the case of the nota bene) to settle to the bottom of the beaten eggs, but since it’s just going to be beaten well again there doesn’t seem to be any point to that interpretation.

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    It's definitely "settled". Why, though, is a mystery; generally when you beat eggs in a pudding you want to mold them as fast as possible in order to keep the batter aerated. See: youtube.com/watch?v=M28DdlJ1YT0 I suggest contacting Townsend's.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Apr 22 at 20:35
  • Also, unlike other flours, there's no reason to wait for almond flour to hydrate. This is not a general pudding question, it's this specific recipe. If you look at any of her 30 or so other pudding recipes none of them say anything about settling.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Apr 22 at 20:36
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    It reads slightly ambiguously but it seems like the almonds in the first recipe and the spices in the second are what must be settled, not a liquid mixture containing them. But the rather odd use of semicolons doesn't help. And the almonds are weighe, so it's not about how to pack a volume measure. It feels like it's where an instruction would be for "finely ground" or similar, but I can't make it mean that, or even sieved.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 22 at 21:37
  • I'm not certain enough to make this an answer, but I'm wondering if this is her way of saying "level spoonful". Though that'd mean she's applying it to the rosewater in the pudding recipe itself, and I'd be rather amazed if there's a way to measure a liquid by a heaping spoonful. :)
    – Marti
    Commented Apr 22 at 22:41
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    The “ſ” as in “ſpoon” is a “long S”: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_s
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 23 at 11:46

1 Answer 1

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As I said in the comments, the almonds are weighed, so it's not about how to pack a volume measure. The wording is ambiguous, not helped by the odd (to modern eyes) use of semicolons. Initially I couldn't join this "ſettled" ("settled" with a long s) to sieved, but a thesaurus can.

Merriam Webster has settled as a synonym for sieved (or sifted) - which seems like a bit of a stretch to me, but they're the experts. The rest of the recipe implies ground almonds so sieving is plausible, though for the ones I buy you'd need a fairly coarse sieve. If you were grinding them by hand, you'd want to sieve out lumps and big bits of skin, so it's not necessarily sifting to aerate as we might with flour. The same is true of the spices, where fine (or "ſine" if the OCR fails in the other direction) is very likely to refer to the grind (though quality would also be possible). You really don't want big lumps of spice in your puddings, so reminding the reader that they should be finely ground and sieved is a reasonable interpretation.

However on page 44 "To pickle Barberries", "ſettle" is definitely used in the sense of allowing bits to settle out of liquid. It could easily carry both meanings in the same book.

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    “Sieved” is a good catch—I hadn’t seen that. I notice it also has “filtered” and “clarified” as possible synonyms. While none of those three’s definitions seem to quite match, I could definitely see someone using it to describe making sure that chunks and (in the case of almonds) bits of the brown skin have been filtered/sieved out. “Filtered and sieved” makes sense in both the context of “spices, fine” and ground, potentially skinned to improve color, almonds. Commented Apr 23 at 16:12

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