This is a somewhat odd recipe and perhaps suitable for a Friday the 13th as I both anticipated and dreaded my first bite of these Rice Croquetts (p.69). The recipe appears in the Vegetable section just after the potatoes. Although I don’t think I made the recipe correctly, I did end up with something surprisingly tasty.
I had assumed that rice croquettes were a sort of fried rice ball but the recipe in the Berlin Cook Book is not only spelled differently but results in something quite unusual — particularly since it is in the Vegetable section. Mrs. Wm. Witt’s recipe for Rice Croquetts starts out something like a rice pudding which is then formed into balls and deep-fried. That is a little odd but then jelly is placed in them making this more like a doughnut. Thus my bravery in trying the recipe and eating the result.
I clearly did something wrong when making this recipe. Either I didn’t cook the rice dry enough or I added too much butter when estimating “butter the size of an egg”. My rice was soft and easy to mash but there was still a little liquid. However, it had started to burn on the bottom so I took it off the heat. My butter estimate was a tablespoon. The addition of two eggs did not improve the look of my rice. Was I supposed to cook it at this point? the recipe simply says to make into balls with a little flour. I added well over 1/2 a cup of flour in order to have a batter that could be formed into balls. Even then it was more like dropping the balls into the pan and then creating the hollow. I was hopeful it would still turn out since the batter tasted acceptable. Although the recipe indicated adding lard to a saucepan I wasn’t clear whether I was deep-frying or pan frying the croquettes. I opted for more of a pan frying version since I couldn’t figure out how to make the hollow unless I was able to shape the mixture after I dropped it in the pan. I put a couple of tablespoons of lard in a small frying pan and once it was hot I added the rice balls. Once they appeared brown on the bottom I turned them over to cook the other side. I drained them on some paper towel and let them cool a little before adding some raspberry jelly.
The nutmeg aroma was tantalizing so I decided to be brave and take a bite. The taste was a bit like a doughnut but the texture was surprising. There was a crunch from the crisp outside but also bits of soft rice inside that made it interesting. After another bite or two I was hooked and ate several rice croquetts. I’m afraid to fry the rest of the batter as I suspect I’ll eat far too many.
I think Mrs. Wm Witt might be Mary Witt from Wilmot (Waterloo South). In both the 1901 and 1911 census she lives with her husband William and two sons. She was born either in 1876 or 1878. I wonder how often they ate this interesting “vegetable”?
1/2 cup of rice, raw, or two cups cooked, 3/4 cup of water, 3/4 cup of milk, butter the size of an egg, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs and a little nutmeg. Put rice on to boil with water, when half cooked add milk; have rice near dry and yet well cooked, keep the steam shut in while cooking; when soft mash it slightly with spoon, work in the other ingredients and a pinch of salt; make it in shapes with flour like small biscuits; make a hollow in the middle to hold a spoonful of jelly, having coated the shapes well with flour, fry in saucepan of hot lard. Put in jelly before serving.