Project 52: Rationing - Week 7 - Poor Knight's Fritters

Poor Knight's Fritters
from the Victory Cookbook by Margeurite Patten

This week has been a little crazy, so I needed a quick rationing recipe to whip up before the week was out. I can really sympathize with women during WWII who had busy lives helping with the war effort in their various ways, keeping the home running, feeding and caring for their children, etc. Having an easy snack or dessert to throw together not only helped round out the meal, but psychologically it would have better helped the family be able to cope with wartime conditions. This is true for any disaster/tragic scenario you could think of - having comfort foods helps keep a feeling of normalcy and keeps the shock at bay.

This was especially true for British women and their families, not to mention all those Brits who had to cope with daily bombings during the Blitz in London. One of the most amazing books I've read about this is called Wartime Letters From Britain. The book is a compilation of letters that British citizens wrote during the war, many of them to friends and family overseas in America. The letters about the Blitz are especially moving. Their words just struck me with such awe at what those people had to live through and yet they had such a positive fighting spirit through it all. I read one letter where this woman mentioned that some people complained when the daily bombings weren't "on time" because they scheduled their lives around their regularity. Another woman wrote about how she stole upstairs to take a bath during one of the air raids and she stared out of her darkened room to the city-scape being lit up by the bombs and how strangely beautiful it was while at the same time being so horrifying because of the power of their destruction. Gripping, powerful stuff! I highly, highly recommend reading the book!

On that note, I decided to try another recipe from my Victory Cookbook compiled by Margeurite Patten. Poor Knight's Fritters caught my eye. They looked a little like French toast fingers only they're sandwiched with jam. Interesting! I've heard of similar things before in England, but had never tried them. Today was my chance! I love that the recipe says the cooking time is only a few minutes. Just what I needed. They were so easy: all the recipe requires is bread, a filling such as jam, syrup, or thick fruit puree, a little margarine, some fat to fry them in and optional things like reconstituted egg and a little milk.

Bread, a lovely rhubarb cherry raspberry jam, butter, milk, and some reconstituted egg.
 I only had 5 slices of bread, but this recipe is very easily adaptable to what you have on hand, which is nice! I used butter. I seriously considered buying margarine to use for these recipes, but I read the label and just couldn't bring myself to buy it. It's full of all sorts of horrible things I don't want my family to be eating. And it's really hard to say if margarine now is really all that equal to 1940s margarine... Butter's the same though!

Four slices of bread were dedicated to jam. But I really wanted to finally open my jar of British golden syrup I've had sitting around for awhile. So, I busted it out. Hooray!

Golden syrup is a thick cane syrup with a delightful buttery, butterscotch flavor to it. My guess is that it's either got some of molasses in it or it's made from browned sugar. My bet is on the latter. It's true that there's nothing quite like it, so if a recipe calls for it, don't substitute!

Gorgeous golden syrup!

I scraped a thin layer of butter on one half of my slices, including the odd end slice which I cut in half. I was really sparing with the butter just to get into the spirit of the butter rationing. The other half of slices I spread jam on the bread and the golden syrup went on the little half slice.

Cut into little fingers

Four jam fingers and one golden syrup finger got dipped in the optional coating of reconstituted egg and a bit of milk. The others were left plain. Then I fried them in a pan with butter, flipping halfway through.

Frying them up in butter! Lard may have been a good choice too since it would have been a cleaner taste without the milk fat and salt. 

Looking lovely and golden!

The last step was to sprinkle them with sugar. I used a bit less than a teaspoon. Don't they look delicious?! And they were. I was pleasantly surprised with how the ones with the golden syrup turned out. That gorgeous sweet and butterscotch flavor with the saltiness of the butter and crunch of sugar was awesome. The ones that were coated in egg and milk were more on the soggy side, but they were nice. And the added protein is always a bonus. This is a very quick, easy, and yummy dessert or tea time snack. You know what else? They remind me of a funky 1940s healthier version of Pop Tarts. Haha! 

Give it a try! 


  1. hi! I just found your blog. I researched war rationing for an online exhibit
    I learned that margarine prior to this time was made with animal fat - a by product of the meat packing industry. EW! WWII margarine would be made with vegetable oil. Oleo was the most common brand. It was white and came with a little packet of food coloring that kids liked to squeeze and break up into the margarine to turn it yellow. You'll want to look for a vegetable oil spread at a modern grocery store.

    1. Hi QNPoohBear, Thanks for visiting my blog! I am always happy to meet someone else who is fascinated with studying rationing. (There are not a lot of us out there!)
      I am aware of margarine during the war. I haven't done a ton of research into margarine itself, so that is interesting to know about the difference in margarine before and during the war. I remember someone telling me that for them, mixing in the yellow dye was a childhood chore, and not one of their favorite things to do, much like, I imagine, churning butter. :-) Thank you for the links! I'll be sure to check them out.


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