Cookbook Tuesdays: Pastry Cook Book

Thought I forgot today, eh?

I did. A little. That is, I remembered a few times, when I was otherwise busy. And then I remembered when I wasn’t. Whew!

Pastry Cook Book, 1954

Today’s randomly selected feature (this one happened to be on the coffee table tonight) is titled Pastry Cook Book, and is book number 237 in the series of Fawcett Books. We even get a photograph of our author, the lovely and Cordan [sic] Bleu-trained Mrs. Hyla Nelson O’Connor. Who looks as if she just might whack you with a rolling pin if you mess with her kitchen.

Mrs. Hyla Nelson O'Connor

I’d like to take a moment to deviate from the cookbook portion of this post, and focus for just a minute on Mrs. O’Connor’s manicures, as seen in the many How To photos scattered within the book. I’ve merged two examples here. (As usual, clicking on the images in this post will biggerate them).

A chef's manicures, circa 1954

On the top, we have a classic “moon” manicure with a tidy and efficient nail length. Below it, a more glamourous length and polish shade, this time covering the entire nail. Note the pointed almond shape. This is the nail shape I try to achieve, but my tiny, Jelly Belly nail beds don’t wear it very well. Still, I persist.

Okay, back to the cooking part of this book. Because posts like this are supposed to contain some humor regarding mid-century cooking, I’ll share with you my favorite cake decorating technique held within the pages. Given the publication date, you’d think this design would have rung a bell pretty quickly with the art director.

Danger! This banana cream torte is radioactive!

But how about some actual recipes? I haven’t (yet) cooked a single thing out of this book. The contents are a curious combination of complicated recipes containing 17 or so ingredients (Pfeffernuesse) and recipes that use boxed cake mix (Sherry-Cream Filled Angel Food Cake, for instance). However, I’ve selected a couple to share with you, based on their real ingredients, relative simplicity, and that they had photos. I hope to try them soon, and to hear from you if you try them as well!

First up, Danish Pancakes. I’ll bet the cardamom is a nice touch! If you like, I’d say you could skip the fruity bits, top them with lingonberry jam, and give Ikea’s Swedish Pancakes a run for their money.

Danish Pancakes


Next up, Apple Ring Fritters. I suspect that if you actually served them “piping hot” as suggested, you’d blister the roof of your mouth on the first bite.

Apple Ring Fritters. In today's terminology, "Stuffed Crust Donuts."


Finally, Petits Fours. Because petits fours are not just tiny cakes. When made properly, they have a flavor and texture all their own. Mmmm!

Petits Fours and Frosting


I’ll leave you with one last scan, of the back cover. And you’d better believe that I’m now on the hunt for Today’s Woman Pie Cook Book and especially Build Your Own Modern Furniture!

Pastry Cook Book, back cover

Bon appétit!



Filed under collections, fashion, food, nostalgia, vintage

4 responses to “Cookbook Tuesdays: Pastry Cook Book

  1. where c an I find a copy of this cook book…mine is literally falling apart.

    • Jody—goodness, I thought I replied to this when you first commented! My apologies for leaving you hanging. I was lucky enough to find this copy at a collectibles shop not far from me. The only copy I can find online is going for $49.99, though I’m guessing by the inflated price that seller doesn’t actually want to part with it. If I decide to sell mine, I’ll let you know first. And I guarantee it will be for far less than $50! :D

  2. lynn elwood

    i have that book right here in front of me,im a cook book colecter & im trying 2 get rid of some,its hard,i love them all!

    • Lynne, I find myself unable to get rid of any (unless they’re duplicates) but my collecting has definitely slowed down. For one thing, I’m nearly out of room on the bookshelf I’ve dedicated to these, and for another I’m starting to forget which ones I already have of a particular series! Today, I’ll go about entering them all into DeliciousLibrary so I can have a portable reference to keep me in check. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s