Culinary Challenge #1: To Make a Hedge-Hog

For those interested in undertaking some friendly yet competitive historical cooking, you’ve come to the right place. The first recipe in Eaten’s cooking challenge is a once quite popular 18th century “deceit” (aka a food made to not look like food): the dessert hedgehog. Although Europeans did historically roast and consume this tiny spiky creature, our challenge today is to make a fake and much more saccharine one. Two sets of historical instructions for making the dish are below - obviously feel free to chose the one that speaks best to you!

For those who want to participate in the challenge, either post your image on social media using the hashtag #haveyoucookedhistory or email your creation to me at with a little explanation of what exactly you did (and didn’t do) to create it. The cook who has truly mastered the hedgehog will get a tote and any copy of Eaten they so desire. Deadline for submissions is September 11th by noon and will be announced on our social media!

Happy hedge-hogging!

To Make a Hedge-Hog

From Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery: Made Plain and Easy, London 1777

TAKE two pounds of sweet almonds blanched, beat them well in a mortar, with a little canary and orange-flower water, to keep them from oiling. Make them into a stiff paste, then beat in the yolks of twelve eggs, leave out five of the whites, put to it a pint of cream, sweeten it with sugar, put in half a pound of sweet butter melted, set it on a furnace or slow fire, and keep continually stirring till it is stiff enough to be made into the form of a hedge-hog, then slick it full of blanched almonds slit, and stuck up like the bristles of a hedgehog, then put it into a dish.

Take a pint of cream, and the yolks of four eggs beat up, and mix with the cream: sweeten to your palate, and keep them Stirring over a slow fire all the time till it is hot, then pour it into your dish round the hedgehog ; let it stand till it is cold, and serve it up.

Or you may make a fine hartshorn-jelly, and pour into the dish, which will look very pretty. You may eat wine and sugar with it, or eat it without.

Or cold cream sweetened, with a glass of white wine in it, and the juice of a Seville orange, and pour it into the dish. It will be pretty for change.

This is a pretty side-dish at a second course, or in the middle for supper, or in a grand desert. Plump two currants for the eyes.

Savoy Cake to imitate a Hedgehog

From Eleanor Parkinson’s The Complete Confectioner, Pastry-cook, and Baker, Philadelphia, 1844

Bake a cake in a mould of that form; blanch some Valentia or Jordan almonds; cut them into small fillets and stick them over the surface, to form the quills or prickles of the hog. Put in two currants for the eyes.

Challenge inspired by this lovely post on Researching Food History.