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Three Colonial Recipes to Try at Home

It’s no secret that banana bread has become the official quarantine comfort food. And that’s because with so much more time (and maybe mushy bananas?) on our hands, we’re heading to our kitchens to seek out a fun way to employ our skills that yields a tasty treat. Keep reading for three Colonial recipes to try at home!

If you’ve already made a banana bread loaf or two since quarantine began (side note: We’ve done the research, and we highly recommend this banana muffin recipe and this banana/pumpkin muffin recipe), we have a totally awesome new food project for you to try.

The Colonial Williamsburg website has been sharing recipes from our 18th-century American predecessors. Here are three recipes from colonial times, modified to accommodate modern kitchens! Good luck, have fun, and report back!




The first of our three Colonial recipes to try at home… Chelsea Buns! Known to us as cinnamon buns, this London-born recipe was known to be enjoyed by King George II himself. Below, we have converted oz. to cups for your convenience, and link to the instructions after the ingredients list.

The Dough

  • 6 cups flour (unbleached all purpose)
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup butter, one stick (room temperature)
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • 2 packages of dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar

The Filling

  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) currants (fresh or dried currants that have been plumped in warm water and drained)
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) brown sugar mixed with 1 ½ oz. (3 Tbsp.) white sugar
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
  • grated peel of 1 lemon (optional)

The Glaze

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup milk

For instructions and a video of how it would have been made in the 18th century, click here!




Much like the bananas ripening on your kitchen table, veggies were once used in recipes when they started to turn. If you have carrots or any other root veggie lying around (you know, the stuff you panic-bought), they would make a great puff!

Here are the ingredients and straightforward recipe, 21st-century style:


  • 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
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Vegetable oil for pan frying


  1. Make the carrot pulp by peeling the carrots and boiling them for 20 minutes or until tender. Mash the carrots into about 2 cups of pulp.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the carrots, breadcrumbs, beaten eggs, nutmeg, orange flower water, sherry and cream.
  3. In a large frying pan, add the oil. It should come about halfway up the sides. The oil should be hot, around 365°.
  4. 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.

To see how these beauties would have been made in a colonial kitchen, click here for the video! 


Ready to have your mind blown? Apple pie is not an American dish—it’s British. We gasped, too! Here’s the modern translation of a colonial apple pie recipe.


  • Pastry (homemade or store bought)
  • 8 Granny Smith applies
  • ¼ – 1 cup granulated sugar or castor sugar
  • 1 tsp. rose flower water (optional)
  • 2 tsp. whole cloves


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Remove one piece of dough from refrigerator and let stand until soft.
  3. Lightly flour your work surface and roll out dough into a 12-inch circle. Then, wrap the dough around the rolling pin to transfer into a 9-inch pie pan. Unwrap the dough from the rolling pin into the pie pan, making sure the dough is form-fitted to the pan. Allow the dough to overhang the lip of the pan. Return pie pan with dough to the refrigerator until it is needed.
  4. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Cut the quarters into slices that are ¼ inch thick.
  5. Retrieve the pie pan from the refrigerator. Fill the pie by alternating layers of apples, sugar, rose water and whole cloves until pie is filled.
  6. Roll the second piece of pastry dough into a 12-inch circle. Then, wet the bottom lip of the dough and place the top piece over the filling. Trim the dough so it is flush with the edge of the pie pan. Flute the edge or press with a fork to seal. With a knife, cut 4 slits on the top of the pie.
  7. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Place the pie in the middle of the sheet. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes, then at 350° for 35-45 minutes.
  8. Allow pie to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.

We hope these three Colonial Recipes to try at home can be the fuel that keep you going for the next week or so! Happy cooking (and eating)!

P.S. 52 places, virtually (from The New York Times).


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