Carrot Pudding ice cream, left, and Independence Cake ice cream are among the new vintage flavors Lauren Guptill has developed for Rococo based on recipes from the cookbooks collection at Bowdoin College. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

June brings with it thoughts of travel and good food, especially summer staples like hot dogs, watermelon and ice cream. This year, with a global pandemic going on, we’re all much more likely to stay at home, and any hot dogs we eat will probably come from our own grills.

Or, you could go on a journey conjured in your head and fueled by your taste buds. Grab a scoop of Lauren Guptill’s Brahma Ice Cream at her Rococo scoop shop in Kennebunkport, eat it in a local park, and transport yourself to 1818 Philadelphia. Imagine you are savoring the same cool treat – one that has the flavor of an orange Creamsicle, but more subtle, with a slightly bitter edge – made by Eleanor Parkinson, who opened America’s first ice cream shop, next door to her husband’s tavern.

“She had an inclination that people would sit in the park next to the pub and enjoy their ice cream on a nice day,” said Guptill, who has re-created Parkinson’s recipe, along with five other heritage ice cream flavors, by poring through the Esta Kramer Collection of American Cookery at Bowdoin College.

Guptill swirls orange zest mixed with orange blossom water into Brahma Ice Cream, a new vintage flavor she developed from a recipe in the 1854 “Cook and Confectioner.” Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The Kramer collection is a special collection of nearly 700 American cookbooks ranging from the Colonial Period to the mid-1900s. Since Guptill’s primary interest is ice cream, she spent days last winter searching the collection for America’s earliest ice cream recipes, as well as other foods that might translate well into an ice cream flavor.

The flavors Guptill re-created span 250 years, from the late 1700s to the mid-20th century.  The earliest is Potato or Lemon Cheesecake (so called because it contains both potatoes and lemon peel), which appeared in the popular “Frugal Housewife” in 1772. The cookbook, first published by Susannah Carter in 1765 then reprinted in Boston, instructs the reader to “first warm a pint of cream, and then add it to five pints of cream that is warm from the cow.”

Guptill was surprised to find that Carter’s cheesecake was nothing like modern-day, New York-style, cheesecakes, made with cream cheese, an ingredient that became popular in the early 1900s. Containing no cheese at all, the Colonial cheesecake recipe is more like “a big custard,” she said.


“Cheesecakes were called cheesecakes because when they were finished baking they had the consistency of a soft cheese,” she said. “It had nothing to do with cheese actually being in the cake.”

She incorporated the colonial cheesecake recipe into her ice cream flavor.

There were no pistachios in Mary J. Lincoln’s Mock Pistachio Ice Cream, either. Lincoln, an instructor at the Boston Cooking School, made her ice cream with sweet almonds because the flavor is similar and pistachios were too expensive. Some things never change: According to the American Pistachio Growers, most commercial pistachio ice cream contains no pistachios. Instead, manufacturers use almond paste to flavor the ice cream and green food coloring to give consumers the look they expect.

Working in the Rococo Test Kitchen in Wells, Guptill adds concentrated orange Curacao to her Brahma Ice Cream. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Lincoln published her recipe in 1897 in a collection of recipes titled “Frozen Dainties.” Guptill used the same ingredients in her version, including spinach to color the ice cream green.

Guptill originally made the heritage ice creams for her Pint Club members, who get new flavors shipped to their door four times a year. She ultimately added the most popular flavors to the menu in her scoop shops. Among them, Independence Cake required the most adaptation, Guptill says, “because the quantities were just ridiculous, like the cake was supposed to feed all the Revolutionary soldiers.”

Guptill found Independence Cake (along with the first published recipes for Indian pudding and pumpkin pie) in “American Cookery” by Amelia Simmons, published in 1796; although reprints of English cookbooks were previously published in the colonies, “American Cookbook” is the first original American cookbook. The recipe called for 20 pounds of flour! Guptill also found a fruit cake recipe that used all the same ingredients – raisins, currants, citron, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and mace – that called for a more reasonable volume of flour. She baked the latter cake, then crumbled it into honey ice cream.


Pint Club flavors always center around a theme, and usually push the boundaries.

“I kind of think of the Pint Club as my personal playground,” Guptill said. “Lots of times the flavors that get sent to the Pint Club are all original. They’re made for the first time ever to support the theme, and I don’t give myself any limitations.”

Searching for a spring theme, she considered developing recipes to celebrate Maine’s Bicentennial, but she’d already created a similar Maine-themed collection last summer. Then she read about the Esta Kramer Collection and its vintage recipes. Once she dove into the cookbooks, she says, it was tough narrowing down to six flavors.

A pint of Carrot Pudding ice cream, one of six vintage flavors Guptill was inspired to create from recipes in the old cookbooks collection at Bowdoin College. Don’t expect it to taste like carrot cake, says one taster. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

The best seller online in the heritage collection has been the Chocolate Ice Cream with Marshmallow Mint Sauce from “Famous Recipes for Baker’s Chocolate,” published in 1928. The recipe called for flour, which Guptill says she’s never seen in an ice cream recipe before. But her personal favorite is Eleanor Parkinson’s Brahma Ice, published in “Cook and Confectioner” in 1854. Parkinson’s recipe calls for a quart of cream, the whites of 10 eggs, 1-1/2 pounds of sugar, two wine glasses of Curacao and half a glass of orange-flower water.

To make her version, Guptill swirled a blend of orange-flower water and orange zest into a salted sweet cream base. Then she reduced “bottles and bottles and bottles” of Curacao until it had the consistency of molasses, and added that into the ice cream base as well.

The toughest flavor to re-create was Carrot Pudding. Guptill found the pudding recipe in “Fish, Flesh and Fowl,” Maine’s first cookbook, published in 1877. (“What a name, huh?” Guptill says.) Guptill said the original recipe gave her “nothing to go with. It was literally just a list of ingredients, and then steam in a melon mold for 2-1/2 hours. How do I prep the carrots? Do I boil the carrots? Should we cook the carrots?”


Guptill turned to her mother, an accomplished baker, for help, and did a lot of research. She started by steaming the carrots, then decided maybe she should roast them instead. She blended the roasted carrots and mixed them with the other ingredients – flour, sugar, bread crumbs and candied cherries, “which to me was an interesting pairing. I don’t know that I would think to put carrots and cherries together.”

Once the pudding was done, she blended it into an ice cream base. The end result is definitely an acquired taste. The ice cream tastes like roasted carrots, and the cherries are not as odd an addition as you might think. But the texture is more grainy than creamy. (If you were hoping it might taste like carrot cake ice cream, well, sorry.) Even Guptill, who has tried making carrot-flavored ice creams before, admits it took time for the Carrot Pudding to grow on her.

“As it softens a little bit and the flavors awaken, which is what always happened when an ice cream softens, you’ll find that you’ll eat half the pint in one sitting, or the whole pint in one sitting, because it’s a really interesting, attractive flavor,” she said. “But it takes a little bit to get your taste buds used to it.”

That’s a small price to pay for a short trip to 1877.




From “Famous Recipes for Baker’s Chocolate,” published in 1928. Rococo ice cream founder Lauren Guptill is making the flavor as part of her new line of ice creams inspired by vintage recipes. It calls for flour, a highly unusual ingredient in ice cream. 

2-1/2 squares Bakers Premium No. 1 Chocolate
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons Swans Down cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 quart thin cream

Scald chocolate with milk and, when melted, beat well. Mix flour, salt and sugar, add eggs, slightly beaten. Add scalded milk gradually and cook 10 minutes in a double boiler, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Strain, and add the cream. Cool and freeze, using eight parts finely crushed ice to one part rock salt. When stiff, remove beater, cover tightly and repack in salt and ice.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
8 marshmallows
1 egg white
1 drop oil of peppermint
Green coloring

Boil sugar and water to a thin syrup (230 degrees F), not thick enough to spin a thread, and add marshmallows cut in small pieces. Let stand 2 minutes, pressing marshmallows under syrup, using back of spoon. Add mixture gradually to the egg white, beaten until still but not dry. Continue the beating until mixture is cool; then add oil of peppermint and color green. Serve with chocolate ice cream.

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