This year, instead of sending friends some of the jams and fruits I canned this summer, I decided to surprise them with something really special...Dan's Mustard. No, Dan is not my husband nor is he even a friend. I have never met Dan but I've worshiped him for more than three decades.
Dan's Mustard was one of the first things made when Hay Day opened its Westport, Connecticut store. Together with its Peasant Bread it was one of its most popular products and probably sold enough to serve with all the salamis and ham sandwiches eaten in Connecticut. The recipe was created by the brother of one of the owners, Sally and Alex Van Rensselear, and has been in the family for years.
|A bad picture of the original store in Westport but the only one I could find|
Hay Day started as an apple farm that later sold pies, and later sold bread, and later...you know the drill. One thing they did, before anyone else caught on to the idea, was offer samples of their products, beautifully paired and displayed for everyone to taste. Not just little samples, SAMPLES. You could have lunch and dessert and not spend a penny. But we all did, plenty of it. It was an expensive free lunch but two hours later you walked away with a smile on your face and a copy of the Rural Times, the store's weekly newspaper. It had recipes and menu suggestions and tons of information on what was in season. They also had classes and featured guests chefs and speakers at their kitchen as early as the late 70's. No one was doing this at the time, not even Grace's or Balducci's in New York City and Barefoot Contessa was still a dream. The place was like a club, you never knew who you were going to run into.
One of these days I will dig through all my boxes and look for some of the Rural Times I saved from those days. They were beautifully illustrated and written by one of their staff. The store eventually opened two or three other branches, one in Greenwich that I remember, but they were not even close to the charm of the original one in Westport. They merged with another group similar in size to theirs, next with Balducci's and eventually sold out to a group of New York investors.
Together with this mustard. my favorites were the dips and the cookies, all made from scratch with the best ingredients. I can still taste the Oriental Dip and the crisp Chocolate Chip cookies. ( Don't get me going or we will never get to the recipe). It was also there that I learned to pair Black forest ham with Brie and Dan's mustard on pumpernickel bread, a favorite and elegant combination in those days.
Now, let me give you a little advice. Make the recipe exactly as it's written and use Coleman's dry mustard. Don't be tempted to try as you cook, cool and save. This is not chocolate sauce and you will burn your tongue over and over again, as I did five times, knowing full well it was hot (as in spicy). Trust me, it's foolproof and comes out just like the original. Don't say I didn't warn you!
- 1 cup (loosely packed) dry mustard, preferably Colman's English Mustard
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
- In a mixing bowl, stir the mustard and 1/4 cup of the vinegar together to form a paste. Then gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup vinegar, whisking until smooth and thoroughly incorporated.
- Beat the eggs in another mixing bowl. Add the sugar and salt, and blend with an electric mixer on high speed until thick and lemony in color. Add this to the mustard mixture and whisk to combine thoroughly.
- Pour into the top of a double boiler, and cook over simmering water, whisking occasionally and scraping down the sides of the pan as needed, until smooth, glossy, and thickened to the consistency of a thin custard, about 30 minutes (the mustard will continue to thicken as it cools). Remove from the heat, allow to cool thoroughly, pour into a clean jar, and refrigerate until ready to use. Tightly covered, it will keep well for months in the refrigerator
Bright IdeasRecipe from: The Hay Day Country Market Cookbook
Serve with grilled hot dogs, braised bratwurst, or sausages.
Use as a sandwich spread. It's great with smoked turkey, almost any kind of cheese, and ham. (Try it with Black Forest ham and sliced ripe brie on freshly baked rye or pumpernickel smeared with a generous amount of Dan's Mustard.)
by Kim Rizk