Watch our historic foodways staff cook this recipe, then try it at home
While we often think of vegetables as a savory side, they were often used in sweet dishes in the 18th-century. Puffs are a great way to use vegetables that are nearing the end of their prime. Pro tip: the carrots can be substituted for other root vegetables like parsnips!
Carrot puffs are fritter-like hush puppies, although they’re leavened with eggs instead of yeast or baking powder. They can seem dense if the oil isn’t hot. A deep fat fryer works well with this recipe.
Watch the video below to learn how we make this recipe in our kitchens based on the 18th-century description below, then use our 21st-century translation to try the recipe at home!
“Scrape and boil your carrots and parsnips tender; then scrape or mash them very fine, add to it a pint of pulp, the crumb of a penny loaf grated, or some stale bisket, if you have it, some eggs, but four whites, a nutmeg grated, some orange-flower water, sugar to your taste, a little sack and mix it up with thick cream; they must be fried in rendered suet, the liquor very hot when you put them in: put in a good spoonful in a place.”
— Smith, Eliza. “The Compleat Housewife”
- 8-10 medium carrots
- 1 cup of bread crumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 ½ tsp. nutmeg, ground or fresh
- 1 tsp. orange flower water (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. sherry (sack)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Vegetable oil for pan frying
- Make the carrot pulp. Scrape the carrots and boil them for 20 minutes or until tender. Mash the carrots into about 2 cups of pulp.
- In a medium bowl, mix the carrots, bread crumbs, beaten eggs, nutmeg, orange flower water, sherry and cream.
- In a large frying pan, add the oil. It should come about halfway up the sides. The oil should be hot, around 365°.
- Drop a heaping tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil. Fry until each side has become golden in color. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.