One of the best things about having a blog and sharing recipes with like-minded foodies is receiving all of the wonderful comments and emails from readers all over the world. So many of the emails I have received are so touching with kind compliments, and many with individual recounts of how something I have posted on my blog has triggered memories of an old family favourite or of simply how a recipe has turned out. Whether these messages are just a few words or longer narratives, I enjoy reading them all
A frequent question which has popped up a few times from my American readers is: what on earth is “cream of tartar” and where can it be purchased in the US? I have to admit that I also searched high and low for cream of tartar whenever I was working in the US and had no luck in finding it. I had a craving for honeycomb one day and as neither Crunchie bars nor Violet Crumbles are available in the US, I was motivated to try and make honeycomb at home using Nigella’s recipe from Nigella Express. Alas, there was no cream of tartar to be found (but a giant Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ultimately satisfied the sugar craving ).
I guess the difficulty in finding cream of tartar is not just confined to the US but also in a lot of European countries. For example, it is not readily available in Switzerland and Germany, though one can often find it online through local expat businesses.
Cream of tartar is an ingredient found in baking powder; the other main component typically being bicarbonate of soda. According to Stephanie Alexander in The Cook’s Companion, 1 teaspoon of commercial baking powder can be substituted with 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.
One particular recipe here on my blog which has been quite popular is Stephanie Alexander’s recipe for Pikelets. However, this recipe specifies a combination of bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. Here is an updated recipe with the more easily found baking powder as a substitute.
If you are in the US and can find cream of tartar where you live, please let me know so I can help others to find this ingredient.
And please drop me a line or two when you have a free moment! I would love to hear from you all