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Mary Wilmshurst

Posted by Brooke Wilmshurst 
Mary Wilmshurst
June 11, 2019 09:17AM
Hi Everyone,

Someone of you may know my Grandmother, Mary Wilmshurst. She was a member of FoodLovers many years before she died in 2004. She was very fond of this website and posted many times and posted many recipes. Sadly I never got to meet her as I was born in 2003. I miss her every day, but in memory of her, I continue her passion for baking. I would love if anyone remembers her and any of her recipes or stories!? And if anyone has a similar story to mine I would love to hear from you and share recipes!

Thanks so much for joining my forum and happy baking!

Brooke Wilmshurst

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2019 12:31AM by Brooke Wilmshurst.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 11, 2019 10:24PM
Yes, Brooke, I remember your Grandmother and thought you might like to read the tributes paid to her when we heard of her passing. []

She was famous on these forums for Mary's Powder Puffs and I copied her recipie into my recipie book. It can be found here on this website: []
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 11, 2019 10:29PM
Mary was very active here for a number of years.
As Lorna has said, she was best known for her powder puffs.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 12, 2019 12:08AM
Wow, Lorna, that is amazing that you remember her. I will certainly make them. Never heard of them and Harley, (poppy), never said anything about it so I will be looking forward to making them. Thank you very much! smiling smiley
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 12, 2019 12:09AM
Thank you, Helen, for this site as well! it has been very helpful to me over the years! She really enjoyed it and appreciated it! smiling smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2019 12:10AM by Brooke Wilmshurst.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 12, 2019 03:18AM
I well remember your Grandmother on Foodlovers all those years ago Brooke and she was quite a personality. She was full of great ideas and hints and such a regular contributor to Foodlovers that you felt as if you knew her so well. She was always bright and cheerful and gave lots of hints and recipes and she was very savvy with computers. I'm sure Mary will still be watching over us!

Just looking through some of her posts she was a sheep farmer’s daughter and obviously helped with the wool press at shearing time and knew what an enormous job it was to keep the shearers fed. She mentioned that she and your Grandfather had, in previous years, owned a bakery and how they made their mince pies with chopped onion, adding a large spoon of marmite to the mince, thickening it with flour and water mixture and using savoury pastry on the bottom and flakey pastry on the top.

Your Grandfather wrote a lovely e-mail to Foodlovers after Mary passed away.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 12, 2019 03:51AM
Hi Dawn,

Wow, I never thought I got to hear from you, it really is a privilege because I remember the message you sent to my Grandfather and Parents. It was lovely.

I started to look around to see if I could find anything online about her and I came across my grandfather's message and your response. We still talk about her to this day and I love having the Foodlover's Website and hearing her stories, it's very special to me!

I will pass that mince pie story on to poppy so he can read it and I'm sure he will be very happy to know that I have heard from you!

Kind Regards,

Brooke. smiling smiley

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/12/2019 03:56AM by Brooke Wilmshurst.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 12, 2019 06:28AM
Hi Brooke,
Thank you for your lovely message, and on behalf of myself and the members of Foodlovers who remember Mary and loved to read and respond to Mary's posts on this website all those years ago, please pass on to Harley our warmest wishes.

Mary's recipe for Powder Puffs, as Lorna has mentioned, made the most delicious melt in your mouth little cream filled sponge cakes and there was huge demand for the recipe...........I wonder if it was a recipe Mary used at the bakery. Mary has often been in my thoughts over the years when I have been reading or looking through old Foodlovers posts and her name has popped up, and of course through her Powder Puffs recipe which is firmly pasted into one of my 'favourites' recipe books and I have made often for "Take a Plate" or a special occasion.

If you haven't already done so, you can find all of Mary's posts on Foodlovers web-site by doing an 'advanced' search (above right) and typing ‘Mary’ into the ‘Search Authors’ bar and at the bottom click on the pointer next to ‘last 30 days’ and select ‘All Posts’ then click on search. Many pages of Mary’s posts will come up for you to read and enjoy!

Kind regards,
Dawn. smiling smiley
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 12, 2019 09:16AM
Hi Dawn,

Thank you so so much! I will make sure to tell him about you and show him all of your comments in tribute of Nan. It has shown me how much Nan was loved and Dad still tells me stories because as, at the time, when he informed you I had just had my first birthday. Mum and I are very excited to try her "Powder Puffs".

I am very grateful to have you share this information with me and would love to keep in contact on Foodlovers in memory of her and I will try and find recipes of her's that she may not have put on and try put on some of my own!

I will send your kind words onto poppy! Mum was telling me how she always put smiley faces at the end of her email and they would sometimes be 2 lines long! didn't know she could be that tech-savvy cool smiley

Kind Regards,
Brooke smiling smiley smiling bouncing smileythumbs upspinning smiley sticking its tongue outeye rolling smiley
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 13, 2019 12:56AM
Hi Brooke,
We would love to see more of Mary's recipes on Foodlovers, and your's too. Mary was sure to have had a recipe book or two full of hand-written recipes she'd collected over the years. Her memory will live on and yes, I remember she loved using the smilies - I do too.! winking smiley

Don't hesitate if you want any recipes or to know anything, you have only to put a call out on Foodlovers forums and there will definitely be responses. The Foodlovers contributors here are a very friendly and helpful group of people. (We just need to be very careful not to breach Copyright laws when putting up recipes).
Take care! thumbs up
Kind regards,
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 16, 2019 06:09AM
I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't as yet make Mary's Powder puffs but this week I fully intend to.
All going well I will get a photo of them and share the recipe on our recipe search.

Any tips from those that have made them?

Powder Puffs
2 eggs separated, pinch of salt, 1/3rd cup castor sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/3rd cup cornflour, 2 tablespoons plain flour (level), 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
Raspberry jam and whipped cream for filling.
Whip egg whites and salt. Gradually add sugar and beat well. Stir in vanilla, egg yolks and sifted dry ingredients. Place in teaspoon lots on baking paper lined tray. Bake 190C for 8 - 10 minutes. Makes approximately 40. Best baked 1 tray at a time in the centre of oven for even colour. Remove immediately on to a wire rack. When cool put together with jam and whipped cream. Place in container and refrigerate for 1 - 2 hours or longer. The longer the better. I do them the night before for use the next day, or at this point put them in the freezer. They puff up and become soft and light. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/16/2019 06:10AM by helen.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 18, 2019 09:33AM
What a LOVELY, post very moving.
The powder puffs sound delicious - Im curious about the putting in the fridge or even the freezer - what does this do? Im a fan of things freshly baked and find after the fridge/freezer they just aren't the same.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 19, 2019 06:15AM
That's a good question Vanessa I thought about that also.Hopefully if any one has made these they can tell us.I do like the sound of these.This has been a lovely post to read.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 19, 2019 07:48AM
These were my go to for a long time for take a plates - and perfect if for instance we travelled up to Auckland and had to take a plate. I would take them out of the freezer before setting off, and they would be thawed once we arrived.

I am not sure of the reasoning for freezing however - I just did it because it was in the recipe. But they have always been a sure fire hit.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 19, 2019 08:06AM
Refrigerating or freezing after filling them with jam and whipped cream allows them to change from being dryish to becoming soft and moist - hence Mary's words: "They puff up and become soft and light". They are melt in your mouth if you allow time for them to soften as such.

If anyone remembers Dame Alllison Holst's Cinnamon Oysters - she advises a similar treatment with these to soften them. These also are lovely and flavoured with cinnamon and ginger.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 19, 2019 08:47AM
I made them today with yuzu curd and cream - oh my they are delicious.
We got a photo too so the recipe will be up in the next day or so and dedicated to Mary.
smiling smiley
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 21, 2019 03:33AM
I rarely have cream of tartar on hand so have changed out the 1 teaspoon of cot and 1/2 tsp baking soda to 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder.
Would anyone disagree with this and think it inferior?
Otherwise I have left the recipe as is although I did give the option of curd or jam.
Hope they look as they should.
All I know is that I keep going to the freezer to get one.. smiling smiley
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 22, 2019 12:21AM
Helen, I don't think that small change would make any difference, but you haven't put the baking powder in the recipe list. I know it's in the preamble above the recipe but could easily be missed there.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 22, 2019 01:44AM
Helen that's a lovely gesture - a tribute to Mary. The Powder Puffs in your picture look very yum! I need to make them again.
What a shame Brooke Wilmshurst didn't get to meet her Grandmother.

I was interested in your yuzu curd Helen and I needed to Google 'yuzu' to know what it was as I had never heard of it before. Sounds like a cross between a lemon and a lime.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 22, 2019 11:50PM
Yes, I noticed the use of yuzu curd and realised yuzu products are probably now available in NZ, though none in areas outside the big ciities, I should imagine. I first tasted yuzu in Singapore 10 years so I'm really looking forward to spending Chinese New Year in Singapore next February, where I will once again indulge in this very refreshing drink.
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 23, 2019 04:20AM
My opinion Helen on only BP for the recipe is that it would be more cakey than it should be and yours have bobbly tops not sure why - some recipes were called Sponge drops, sponge puffs and cinn oysters all similar needing to be filled well ahead
Old recipes of which I have - were often made with c.o.t and soda incl my pikelet recipe and I have made them for more than 50 years iincl for catering many years ago
My recipe though for cinnamon oysters, they were usually called, had no cornflour, only small quantity of flour and soda only, plus some g syrup, hence very soft and melt in mouth, not cakey

And always baked in the round bottom patty tins so smooth surfaces which looked like an oyster when upturned

Maybe Mary didn't have the tins and wanted them to stay cakier & firmer on an oven tray to have b.p. in them
I always fill mine 5 hours ahead for optimum softness & lusciousness
Much longer than 5 hours tends to be soggy bottoms and not as lovely
I imagine if frozen and thawed that they would have soggy bottoms and freezing whipped cream makes it too thick/like overwhipped, in my view

I often take for a plate and they always get raved about
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 23, 2019 04:30AM
I meant to say also that i sometimes make sponge drops without cinn and g syrup
They never have bp either when I make them

They go completely crisp to store until they are creamed, so ideal to make a few days ahead if needing to get baking done earlier
Re: Mary Wilmshurst
June 24, 2019 01:51AM
Ahh interesting Healther. With nothing to compare to my thoughts were that the frozen puffs were lovely.
Another friend made them yesterday and hers had no bobbly bits.
I wonder if I under mixed a bit and the bobbles were straight egg white - haha.
They tasted so lovely.
I need to experiment.

Lorna the yuzus are certainly not a big city thing. Mine came to me from a grower in the Horowhenua.
I think they are a niche product that is still being developed.
I will write a blog on them. But essentially they are Japanese citrus with no real flesh to speak of. It is the juice and grated rind that is used.
It is great for cutting through rich food such as salmon and makes a wonderful flavour addition to aioli.
Kind of a cross between grapefruit, mandarin and lemon.
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