I spoke just now of the art of making jelly, and many readers may think in using such a term for so simple a thing I am exaggerating, and perhaps "art" is hardly the word, yet there is a daintiness and nicety in making jelly which almost deserves the term.
However, before talking of how sweet dishes are to be made it is necessary to provide the means by which they are to be redeemed from the commonplace of mere richness and sweetness. The flavorings and liqueurs keep indefinitely if well corked. Orange-flower water, it is true, will lose strength, but when a bottle is first opened, if it is poured off into small vials, and each one corked and sealed, it will keep its original strength. The following list of articles kept in store will enable a cook to give her cakes, creams, etc., just that "foreign" flavor that home products so often lack: almonds, almond paste, candied cherries, candied angelica, candied orange, lemon, and citron peels, pistachio-nuts, orange-flower water, rose-water, prepared cochineal, maraschino, ratafia, lemons, extract of vanilla, and sherry.
Several of these things are used principally for decoration; for instance, the candied cherries and angelica and the pistachio-nuts. Consequently, unless the cherries and angelica are required for dessert (to which they are a showy and delicious addition), a quarter of a pound at a time is all that need be bought. Very likely in small cities or country places these latter articles may not be obtainable. But they are sold at the large city caterers', also at the stores which deal in French crystallized fruits—not French candy stores—and can always be sent by mail.
The vanilla should be of the finest quality, and had better be bought by the ounce or half-pint from the druggist than from the grocer. There are good extracts put up, no doubt, but very many of them are largely made of tonka-bean, the flavor familiar in cheap ice-cream, in place of the more expensive vanilla.
In the recipes that will be given the directions will be as minute as possible; but to prescribe the number of drops required to flavor a quart of cream would be utterly impossible, the strength of the flavoring used differing so greatly, even in lemons. Sometimes the juice of half a lemon will be right for a certain thing, at another the juice of a quarter of one would be too much. This is where judgment must be exercised. If you have a very juicy lemon, although your recipe says the juice of half, you will remember that the average lemon would not yield nearly so much, and that the author had the average lemon in mind. This applies to all flavoring. Sometimes extract of bitter almond is so strong that even a drop would be too much to impart the faint almond flavor which alone is tolerable. In this case the thing to do for fear of spoiling the dish is to pour a half-dozen drops in a teaspoonful of water, and use from that, drop by drop, until the faint flavor desired is attained. In using any flavoring, great care must be taken not to put too much, as anything in the least over-flavored is offensive.
Mould of Apple Jelly.—Peel and cut up a pound of fine-flavored apples (to weigh a pound after preparation); put them in a stewpan with three ounces of granulated sugar, half a pint of water, and the juice and grated rind of a lemon. When cooked to a pulp, pass through a strainer, and stir in one ounce of gelatine that has been dissolved in a gill of water. Color half the apple with about half a teaspoonful of cochineal, and fill a border mould with alternate layers of the colored and uncolored apple. When cold, turn out and serve with half a pint of cream whipped solid and piled in the centre.
There is a great difference in the solidity of whipped cream. Sometimes it will be a mere froth that shows a disposition to liquefy, and cannot be piled up. When this is the case there is always a great waste of cream, for at least half will have been left as a milky residue. The reason for this failure of the cream to whip solid is generally because it is too fresh or too warm.
If in proper condition, cream will whip as solid as white of eggs, and leave not a teaspoonful of liquid at the bottom of the bowl; nor will there be the least danger of cream so whipped going back to liquid. It will become sour, but not change its form; and it will take but a few minutes to beat.
Cream intended for whipping should be twenty-four hours old in warm weather, and thirty-six in winter. It should also be thoroughly chilled, and if the day is very warm it would be better to set the bowl containing it on ice while whipping it. Put in the whip, or egg-beater, and do not lift the froth off as it rises; it is quite unnecessary if the vessel you use for the cream is large enough. As you see it begin to thicken, which will be after steady beating for five or six minutes, keep on just as you would for white of eggs. When the beater is withdrawn you should be able to cut the cream or pile it any height. If by reason of excessive heat it is slow in reaching the proper consistency, leave the beater in the bowl, and set the whole on the ice until very cold again.
The consistency of jelly should be only just stiff enough to keep form. It should shake and tremble while being served instead of remaining solid. It requires some little practice to make sure of this every time, although exact proportions be given. A tablespoonful difference in the pint or gill measure would, where the gelatine is only just enough, cause the jelly to "squat"—not an elegant term, but one that represents the form of a too soft jelly.
A very exact recipe for plain claret jelly, and which in proportions serves for any other unless special mention is made of some variation, is as follows: Three quarters of a pint of water, one pint of claret, a quarter of a pint of lemon juice (this makes one quart of liquid), the rind of one lemon, half an inch of cinnamon in the stick and two cloves, one tablespoonful of red currant jelly, two ounces of gelatine, the whites and shells of two eggs, a few drops of cochineal, and four ounces of sugar; put all in a stewpan, the gelatine having been softened in a little of the water; whisk over the fire until the whole boils; then draw it off, let it stand for five to ten minutes; strain through flannel or fine linen without pressure, add a few drops of cochineal to brighten the color, and mould for use.
Use great care in selecting cinnamon, for very much that is sold is not the true spice, but a cheaper one (cassia) that resembles it. Cinnamon has a bright tan-color, is rolled many times, and is not much thicker than paper when a piece is unrolled. Cassia is thicker in the roll, a dull brown, and if a piece is broken is like a piece of wood. It is similar in flavor, but much coarser, and has little strength.
If it is kept in mind that two ounces of gelatine to the quart of liquid is the right proportion, and that if even a tablespoonful of flavoring, fruit juice, or what not, is added, exactly the same quantity of other liquid must be omitted, there will not be much danger of formless jelly. Many forget this when not working from an exact recipe, and remembering only that a quart of cream or water or wine requires two ounces of gelatine to set it, they do not deduct for the glass of wine or juice of lemon, etc., they may add for flavoring. Although wine jelly is rather a simple form of sweet, suggestive of innocent country teas, a very little more time than the average housekeeper bestows upon it will convert it into a very elegant dish. In the season for fruits there is no more beautiful ornament for jelly than these, carefully gathered, with two or three leaves attached.
Jelly with Fresh Fruits.—Select cherries of two or three colors if possible, in sprays of two or three, and on each a leaf or two; wash them carefully by dipping them in and out of a bowl of water. Lay them between soft cloths to remove all moisture. Make a quart of punch jelly in the following way: Put together a pint of water, a quarter of a pint of the finest Santa Cruz or Jamaica rum, a quarter of a pint of sherry, a gill and a half of lemon juice, the rinds of two lemons, and the juice of one orange, or, if oranges are not to be obtained in cherry season, half a gill more of water, two ounces of gelatine, half an inch of cinnamon, the whites of two eggs well beaten and the shells crushed. Let this come to a boil over the fire, being well whisked the while; as soon as it boils draw it to a cool spot on the range, let it stand five minutes, and strain through scalded flannel over a bowl; let it drip, but do not use the least pressure. This jelly must be brilliantly clear. If there is any milky appearance it proves that the jelly did not really boil, and so the eggs had not completely coagulated; in that event boil once more for an instant, and strain again through fresh flannel. Oil a mould that has no design of fruit or vegetable at the bottom, and set it in cracked ice; pour in an inch or two of the jelly when nearly cold. Have the cherries ice cold, and arrange the sprays gracefully with due regard to color, remembering that the best effect must be not upward towards you, but towards the bottom of the mould; thus the underside of the leaves must be upward, etc. Do not put in more fruit than will display itself well. The bunches are to be isolated, not allowed to touch each other, and for this reason it may not be possible to lay more than one cluster at the bottom, if the mould is small there. In this case dispose a bunch of black cherries and leaves gracefully in the centre, pour in more jelly, half an inch or so, then nearer the sides arrange lighter-colored cherries, two or three clusters, no more. The fruit is only intended as an ornament. A jelly that is quite as pretty may be made by using clusters of red and white, or red, white, and black currants. The red and white ones should have two or three young leaves attached, and each cluster be perfect; no black-currant leaves must be used, as they have a strong flavor.
Jelly with Candied Fruits.—Make a quart of maraschino jelly, which is done by omitting the rum, lemon, and cinnamon from the last recipe, and using in place of rum a gill of maraschino, and water in place of lemon juice. The jelly must be very pale. Choose the fruits of as bright colors as possible—small green oranges, red cherries, bright yellow mirabelles, angelica perfectly green. Cut the oranges in half—two or three will suffice—leave mirabelles and cherries whole; apricots cut in half-moons. The angelica, if cut across a quarter-inch thick, will form rings, but if something more ornamental is desired it can be split lengthwise, softened in hot water, wiped, then tied into small love-knots. Pour into a mould set in ice (the melon shape is excellent for these jellies) an inch of jelly, let it set; then scatter in a few pieces of bright-colored fruit, always the best side downward; pour in an inch more of jelly, and when set more fruit, keeping the brighter pieces towards the side; if you have knots of angelica, put them near the side. Always see that one layer of fruit and jelly is nearly set before adding more.
Although fruits added to jellies in the way just described are chiefly for decorative effect, they do add very greatly to the pleasure of eating them; but jellied fruits, as distinguished from fruits in jelly, are a delicious mode of eating fruit, and where it is in abundance afford a pleasant variety.
Jellied Raspberries.—Melt two ounces of gelatine in a gill of water, squeeze half a pint of currant juice from fresh currants, and crush as many red raspberries as will with the liquid fill a quart measure. It is almost impossible to give definite directions for sugar, as fruits differ so much. Stir in six ounces, then if not sweet enough add more; mould the jelly, and serve with cream.
This is also very nice put in a border mould, the centre filled with whipped cream.
Roman Punch Jellies.—These require stiff paper cases of any of the ornamental kinds used for ice-cream, but they must not flare. Make some maraschino or wine jelly. When it begins to set, pour the jelly into the cases, which must be on ice, so that half the fluid jelly may set before it has time to soak the case. When quite set, very carefully remove the centre, leaving a shell of jelly half an inch thick. The last thing before serving fill the centres with well-frozen Roman-punch ice.
A Macedoine of fruits, if well managed and a good assortment of fruits can be had, is a very ornamental way of serving fruit. A mould should have half an inch of maraschino, punch, wine, or lemon jelly poured into it; then some perfect strawberries, or, failing those, red cherries, as many as the jelly will hold together without crowding, no more; then more jelly, and a layer of fruit of another kind (white, if possible), as pineapple cut into stars—a number of small stars can be stamped out of a few thin slices—more jelly, and a ring of dark fruit. Take care that all the finest fruits are used to form the outer rows. When the mould is almost full, with a layer or two of each kind of fruit, fill it up with jelly and set on ice.
Creams are a favorite sweet in Europe, and eaten ice cold are delicious. Too often they are confounded here with blanc-mange, which may mean anything from corn-starch and milk to gelatine and cream, but seldom is improved by the confectioner's art into a really handsome and dainty dish.
Ginger Cream.—Make a custard of a gill of milk, an ounce of powdered sugar, and the beaten yolks of three eggs. Stir in a double boiler until thick. Let it cool. Then add one gill of the syrup from a jar of preserved ginger, and cut up two ounces of the ginger; add three quarters of an ounce of gelatine melted in as little water as possible. Last of all, add half a pint of cream whipped solid. Mix gently and till well blended; pour into a mould, and set on ice.
Neapolitan Cream.—Make a custard of half a pint of milk, the yolks of four eggs, and a tablespoonful and a half of powdered sugar. Let it cool. Cut up three ounces of preserved ginger very small; cook it in a gill of ginger syrup for three minutes. Let it cool also. Decorate the mould with one ounce of dried cherries and leaves, etc., of jelly. Cut the cherries in half, glue them with a little melted jelly to the side and bottom of the mould; cut some jelly in thin slices, or melt it and let it run into thin sheets, which allow to chill, and stamp from them leaves, or whatever shapes you please. Glue these also to the side of the mould in the most effective way your taste can devise. Stir one ounce of gelatine melted in very little water, and half a pint of cream whipped solid, to the custard with which you have already mixed the ginger and syrup. Pour all into the decorated mould, put on ice, and when it is to be turned out wrap a cloth dipped in hot water round the mould; give it a smart slap on both sides, and it will turn out without difficulty.
Coffee Cream.—Make half a pint of custard with two eggs and half a pint of milk; dissolve an ounce of gelatine and three ounces of sugar in half a gill of strong coffee; add the custard, and strain; whip half a pint of cream quite firm; stir lightly into the custard; when it is cool, pour into a mould, and set on ice. The excellence of this cream depends on the coffee, which must be filtered, not boiled, freshly made, and very strong—three tablespoonfuls of coffee to the half-pint.
Curacoa Cream.—Make a custard with the yolks of four eggs and half a pint of milk; dissolve half an ounce of gelatine in as little liquid as possible; mix it with two ounces of powdered sugar; add to the custard; then stir in a generous glass of curacoa, and let the mixture cool, after which add half a pint of cream whipped solid. Stir very lightly together until well blended; then mould and set on ice.
Strawberry Cream.—Hull a pint of quite ripe strawberries; put them on a fine sieve, and sprinkle an ounce of sugar over them; put half an ounce of gelatine into a stewpan with two tablespoonfuls of cold water, two ounces and a half of powdered sugar, and the juice of a lemon, and let it dissolve by gentle heat. Pass the strawberries through the sieve; strain the gelatine, etc., to the strawberry juice, and put to get cold; then add half a pint of cream whipped solid. Stir very lightly to the strawberry juice, etc., when the latter is beginning to set.
Vanilla Cream.—Make a custard with three yolks and one white of egg, and half a pint of milk and three ounces of sugar; melt an ounce of gelatine in two tablespoonfuls of water, strain it to the custard, and mix well; whip half a pint of cream to a stiff froth, and stir it gently to the custard and gelatine; flavor with vanilla. After the vanilla is added, make a couple of spoonfuls of the custard pink with cochineal or strawberry juice; let this cool in a thin sheet; stamp from it small clover leaves or lozenges, not over an inch long and three quarters broad; decorate the bottom of a mould with them, using a little gelatine and water to fasten them; set the mould in chopped ice, and about half-way up put four or five of the pink pieces; take great care there is no inequality as to height or distance (slovenly decoration is worse than none). When the lozenges are quite secure in their places, pour in the cream. It is needless to repeat this form of decoration of creams, they can be varied so infinitely by individual taste, but as a rule they should be decorated only with small forms cut out of bright-colored jelly, or of cream colored pink, orange, pistache green, or brown. Candied fruits are not effective, although sometimes used, unless the cream itself has fruit in it.
Pistache Cream.—Half an ounce of gelatine, two ounces of powdered sugar; melt the gelatine in a gill of water, then add the sugar, a glass of sherry, and a glass of kirsch. Whip half a pint of thick cream solid, and when the gelatine is cold and beginning to thicken stir the cream to it very lightly, and at the same time two ounces of pistachio-nuts, blanched and chopped fine, with enough vegetable green coloring to make the cream a shade or two lighter in color than the nuts. This cream must be stirred lightly on ice after the nuts are added, till thick enough for them not to sink.
Almond Cream.—Half an ounce of gelatine melted in a gill of water with two ounces of sugar and a glass of sherry; grate four ounces of almond paste into it, and stir in a double boiler or bowl set in boiling water until dissolved, or at least until there are no lumps. Let this get cool. Whip a pint and a gill of cream solid, and stir to the mixture. Decorate a mould with any red jelly, pour the mixture in, and set on ice. In consequence of the variation in the strength of gelatine, in making any of these creams try a little on ice in a saucer before pouring into a mould, then add more cream or gelatine as required.
Cold Puddings and Frozen Puddings.—Some of these "puddings" might just as appropriately be called creams; however, fashion ordains that they shall be puddings. One of the newest is the
Jubilee Pudding.—Make a pint of claret jelly; pour it into a small border mould; whip half a pint of cream in which is a quarter of an ounce of dissolved gelatine. When it is whipped solid, stir in one ounce of preserved or candied cherries, one ounce of candied angelica, one ounce of preserved ginger, and one ounce of preserved apricot—the ginger and angelica cut small. Set on ice; then turn out. Pile the whipped cream and fruit in the centre, and decorate according to fancy.
Cold Souffle Pudding a la Princesse.—Melt half an ounce of gelatine in a gill of cream; set in boiling water till dissolved; beat the yolks of three eggs well, and add to the milk; when well mixed, put the custard into a double boiler till it thickens—it must not boil. Pour it into a bowl, and add a gill of apricot preserve, made into a puree by rubbing through a sieve with half a gill of orange juice, two ounces of sugar, a little lemon juice, and cochineal to color it a very delicate pink. Beat the whites of four eggs till they will not slip; stir them in very lightly with an upward motion of the spoon, the object being to keep the white of egg from falling, yet the whole must be thoroughly mixed. Stir till nearly cold before putting the souffle in a mould to set.
Imperial Rice Pudding.—Pour a quarter of a pint of clear white jelly into a quart mould, turning the mould about so that the jelly covers every part; this jelly serves to keep the ornaments in place. Cover the inside of the mould with an ounce of candied cherries split and half an ounce of angelica cut into thin rings. Stew a quarter of a pound of rice in a pint of milk till tender; when cool, add half a pint of whipped cream, a quarter of an ounce of gelatine melted in a little water, a quarter of a pound of powdered sugar, and a teaspoonful of vanilla. When it is all well mixed, turn the preparation into the mould, and set on ice. When firm, turn out of the mould, and serve with a puree of apricots.
Diplomatic Pudding.—Make a quart of custard in the following way: Put the yolks of four eggs and the white of one into a bowl, and mix well with a wooden spoon; stir in half a pint of milk, and strain all into a double boiler or a pitcher; add two ounces of sugar, and stand the pitcher (unless you have the double boiler) in a saucepan of boiling water, and stir the custard over the fire until it thickens, but it must not boil; remove from the fire; stir in a tablespoonful of brandy and a little vanilla. Line a plain mould with half a pint of wine jelly; this is done by pouring a little in at a time when it is half fluid, rolling the mould about on ice, and as soon as one coat adheres, pour in more, until the mould is evenly coated; decorate it with half an ounce of candied cherries and half an ounce of angelica—the cherries split and the angelica cut. Melt an ounce of gelatine and two ounces of sugar in a gill of water; stir it into the custard with a gill of thick cream; stir till cool; then add an ounce more cherries, half an ounce of angelica, and half an ounce of citron, all chopped small. Pour this gently into the mould you have decorated, set on ice, turn out and serve.
Cold Cabinet Pudding.—Ornament the bottom of a pint mould with candied cherries and angelica; split half a dozen lady-fingers; line the sides of the mould very evenly with them, arranging them alternately back and front against the mould; put in two ounces of ratafias (these are tiny macaroons about the size of a five-cent piece, of high flavor, and to be obtained at the pastry-cooks' who make foreign specialties; some grocers also import them); put four yolks of eggs into a bowl; stir them; then add half a pint of milk; pour this custard into a double boiler, and stir until it thickens, taking care that it does not curdle. Melt half an ounce of gelatine in a very little water; strain it to the custard. When the latter cools, add half a gill of thick, fresh cream, two ounces of sugar, and a teaspoonful of vanilla; mix all well, and pour carefully into the mould without disturbing the lining of cake. Put the mould on ice, and, when set, turn out and serve.
CREAMS AND FROZEN PUDDINGS.
Nut creams, with the exception of almond, are not very well known, but are so delicious that they ought to be. One reason perhaps is that it is not generally known that kernels of nuts, such as hazel-nuts, walnuts, hickory-nuts, etc., can be bought by the pound at confectioners' supply stores. This, of course, saves the tedious work of cracking and shelling. To use with creams or for frozen puddings the nuts must be pounded very well, with very little white of egg—just enough to moisten and render the process easy.
Cocoanut Cream.—Grate a fresh, sweet cocoanut (having first peeled, washed, and wiped it dry); mix with it an ounce of sugar; melt in as little water as possible three quarters of an ounce of gelatine; whip the whites of three eggs, mix them with half a pint of milk, and stir over the fire until the custard thickens; sweeten with four tablespoonfuls of sugar. Stir the gelatine and a full half-pint of grated cocoanut with the cocoanut milk into the custard. Whip half a pint of thick cream solid, and stir it very carefully into the custard; when the latter is quite cold, but before it sets, flavor with a little vanilla or lemon extract. Mould and set on ice.
Hazel-nut Cream.—Put a pint of hazel-nut kernels into a cool oven until they are thoroughly dry and rather hot (they must not become too hot, or they will change flavor); then rub them between two coarse cloths to get rid of as much as possible of the skin (it cannot be entirely removed); blow away the loose hulls, and pound the nuts to a paste with a little white of egg. Make a custard with the yolks of three eggs and half a pint of milk; dissolve half an ounce of gelatine in a gill of water, mix with six ounces of powdered sugar, and add to the custard when nearly cool. Stir in the hazel-nut paste, taking care that it is well mixed with the custard, and add a half-pint of cream whipped solid; flavor with vanilla, or you may omit flavoring, the hazel-nut being sufficient for many people. Mould and set on ice.
This cream and the two that follow are flecked with brown, for which reason it may be colored brown with caramel, although I prefer it uncolored, the specks being no more objectionable than the vanilla seeds one rejoices to see in ice-cream.
Walnut or Hickory-nut Cream.—Pound one pint of either of these nuts, after rubbing them well in a cloth, make the same custard as for hazel-nut cream, stir in the walnut or hickory-nut paste till smooth, add the whipped cream, color a pale pink with cochineal, and flavor faintly with rum or vanilla. Mould, set on ice, and serve with whipped cream flavored slightly with rum.
Bohemian Jelly Creams.—These may be made of any flavor, according to the jelly you use. It may be jelly of fruit or liqueur. If fresh fruit is used for jelly, the juice must be expressed, and well-sweetened gelatine added in the proportion of an ounce to the pint. If jam or marmalade is used, a pint of water is added and the same amount of gelatine, with the juice of half a lemon to the pint. Water, jam, and dissolved gelatine must be mixed quickly and passed through a sieve; either must be stirred in a bowl set in ice till quite cold and beginning to thicken; then stir in gently and quickly three-quarters of a pint of cream whipped solid; pour the mixture into the mould, which must be set in ice. Cover well, and keep on ice till needed.
Frangipanni Iced Pudding.—Grate six ounces of almond paste to crumbs; then on a smaller grater grate four or six bitter almonds blanched and dried; pound a dozen candied orange-flower petals with three-quarters of a pound of powdered sugar; put all into a stewpan with the yolks of eight eggs, and beat them very well together. In another stewpan have a pint and a half of boiling milk, which must be poured over the other ingredients by degrees, keeping them well stirred. Place it over the fire, stirring until it thickens and adheres to the back of the spoon; rub this all through a coarse sieve, add a glass of sherry, and when cold pour the mixture into the freezer; when half frozen add a pint and a half of whipped cream, and when quite frozen fill a pudding mould, bury it in ice and salt, and serve as you would Nesselrode pudding.
Iced Cabinet Pudding.—Cut a stale sponge cake into slices half an inch thick and rather smaller than the mould you intend to use for the pudding; lay the slices of cake to soak in brandy flavored with noyau; decorate the bottom and sides of the mould with candied fruits, split cherries, angelica rings, the same of green oranges, and little diamonds of ginger, with a few whole ratafias, dipping them in jelly to make them adhere; lay in one slice of cake, then cherries and ratafias, another slice of cake, and so on, until the mould is three parts full. Make a quart of custard with six yolks of eggs, three tablespoonfuls of sugar, and an ounce of gelatine; when this is cold pour part into the mould, which must close hermetically; pack it in salt and ice for at least two hours; when you wish to turn it out, dip it a minute in lukewarm water. Keep the remaining custard on ice, flavor it with sherry or rum, beat it up, pour it around the pudding, and strew it with chopped pistachio-nuts.
Ice Pudding.—Make a custard with a pint and a half of milk, one whole egg and the yolks of four others, and a quarter of a pound of sugar; when cold, add half a glass of brandy, a glass of maraschino, an ounce of citron cut fine, a quarter of a pound of dried fruits, and an ounce of pistachio-nuts, the fruits cut up in small pieces, the pistachio-nuts blanched and split; mix well; and lastly add half a pint of whipped cream. When well frozen, pack into a pudding mould, and bury in ice and salt till wanted.
Bombay Ice Pudding.—Line a plain mould with Roman-punch ice an inch thick, keeping it bedded nearly to the brim in ice and salt while you do it; then fill the centre with the following mixture: a pint of cocoanut grated very fine, mixed with a pint of ice-cream; take great care that the cocoanut is ice-cold before you mix it in, or it will melt the ice-cream. When the mould is filled within an inch of the top, cover it with Roman punch, close the mould hermetically, and bury in ice. These puddings, where two kinds of ice are used, must only be attempted after one has learned to pack plain ice-cream with success.
Iced Jelly Pudding.—Make a custard with a pint of boiling cream, three ounces of sugar, and the yolks of four eggs beaten; pour the cream to the eggs very carefully, stirring it in by degrees. Have ready a quarter of an ounce of gelatine dissolved in very little milk, mix it in, and put the vessel containing the custard in a stewpan of boiling water, and stir till it just thickens; then whisk it until nearly cold. Mask a quart mould with jelly an inch thick—any favorite red jelly, or a pale one tinted. Directions have already been given how the inside of a mould is to be coated with jelly. There is an easier but extravagant way, namely, to fill the mould with jelly, then scoop out the centre neatly, leaving a shell of jelly an inch thick. The centre, of course, might be made hot and bottled for another occasion, or to make Bohemian cream jellies. When the mould is masked, fill it with the custard, which must be half frozen; then cover securely, and pack in ice and salt at least five hours before it is served.
Filbert and Wine Iced Pudding.—To one pint of cream put four tablespoonfuls of sugar and two glasses of fine sherry. The cream must be perfectly sweet, but should be at least twenty-four hours old, and be ice cold. Whip this solid; then freeze. Put a pint of filberts in a cool oven till the skins will nearly all rub off; put them between two coarse cloths, and rub as much as possible of the brown coating off them; pound them to a paste with a little thick cream, mix four ounces of sugar with the nuts, and then blend the whole with enough thick custard to make a very thick batter; flavor with lemon or vanilla, or not, as you choose; freeze. Line a plain mould with the frozen wine cream an inch thick; then fill in the centre with the frozen filberts well pressed in; cover tight, and pack in ice and salt for three hours, or until wanted. This pudding can be made of walnuts and port-wine cream.
Iced Custard with Fruit.—Flavor one pint of cream with any liqueur you prefer; beat twelve eggs thoroughly; strain them; boil the cream with five ounces of sugar, and when it is just off the boil pour it, little by little, to the eggs; add a quarter of an ounce of gelatine that has been dissolved in very little water and strained to the custard; whisk until cold; have ready a mould masked with candied fruits. To mask, set the mould in a pan of cracked ice, and dip each piece of fruit in strong melted jelly; build up from the bottom of the mould having all the fruits, cut about the thickness of a split candied cherry and near the size, arranged with a view to a good effect when the mould shall be turned out. Half freeze the custard, and pour it in the mould three inches high; throw in some of the trimmings of candied fruit chopped fine. When set, add more custard, then more fruit, until the mould is full. Let it stand in ice at least five hours before it is wanted.
Rice a la Princesse.—Let some rice swell in water until quite tender; proportion, one cup of rice to two (scant) of water; then butter a saucepan; put the rice into it, with half a pint of milk; let it stew gently till it will mash; the milk must have all been absorbed; sweeten with three tablespoonfuls of sugar. Mix with this a gill of apricot jam, a teaspoonful of vanilla, and half a pint of whipped cream; freeze; when well frozen, pack in a mould and bury in ice and salt. Pound a dozen macaroons; stir them into a pint of whipped cream; let the mixture be put on ice. When the pudding is turned out of the mould, cover with the macaroon cream, and decorate the dish with cubes of peach or apricot jelly.
Chocolate Cream Pudding.—Boil a quarter of a pound of the finest vanilla chocolate in half a pint of milk, whisking it well till it boils; dissolve in it two tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar. Beat three half-pints of cream and three tablespoonfuls of sugar solid while the chocolate cools; when it is ice cold mix in one half the beaten cream, and freeze. Line a plain mould with the frozen chocolate (the remainder of the whipped cream should have been kept in cracked ice and salt, so as to be ice cold); fill up the centre of the mould with the cream, cover tight, and bury in salt and ice.
Ice-Creams and Ices.—There are so many ways of making ice-cream, that all one can do is to indicate the one or two best, and certainly the very best is the simplest, and there is no dessert so easy to prepare in hot weather as this, since there is no work over the fire. The only trouble is breaking the ice and turning the machine for some twenty minutes, which can be done by a child.
Simplest Fruit Ice-Cream.—Mash two pounds of strawberries or raspberries, put to them half a pound of powdered sugar, and let them remain in a cold place two or three hours, so that the juice may run; then, strain the juice to a quart of thick sweet cream and another half pound of sugar, with the juice of half a lemon; stir, and pour cream and fruit juice into the freezer, which must be packed with ice and rock-salt in about equal quantities, the ice being broken quite small. Let the cream remain standing in the freezer a few minutes before you begin to turn; then freeze, letting off the water, and filling anew with ice and salt if necessary. Stir the cream down as it forms, and keep on turning five or ten minutes after it is actually necessary. This extra working insures that extreme smoothness characteristic of Italian and French ice-cream. If you are not expert in freezing, be satisfied not to pack your cream in a mould for the first few times. Take out the paddle of the freezer, press the ice compactly down in the freezer, cover, and see that the ice and salt are sufficient and free from water. In two hours you can turn the ice out of the freezer in a round column or loaf that will be quite as sightly as the oblong square one frequently gets from the caterer. Many people think that simply freezing the pure cream produces the loose, frothy cream found at inferior confectioners', but this is not the case; pure cream frozen results in a firm smooth mass which cuts like butter.
I have given the formula for raspberry and strawberry cream only, but any fruit juice may be substituted, varying the quantity of sugar as required.
When it is desirable to freeze the fruit in the cream instead of the juice, it must not be added until the cream is frozen. Stir in raspberries, strawberries, chopped pineapple, banana, or peaches just before the ice is ready to pack down; otherwise the fruit, being full of water, will freeze into hard knots.
Tutti-frutti Ice-Cream being made from chopped candied fruit, this precaution is not necessary; the fruit may be added at any time during the freezing, or stirred in last, as you please.
I have given the simplest and best method of making ice-cream, yet the way most in use is to add custard; and French cooks always use "meringue paste," claiming that it insures a smoothness and lightness nothing else can give.
Custard for Ice-Cream.—This is made as any other custard, except that double the amount of sugar is allowed for everything that is to be frozen. It may be made of from three to six eggs to a pint of milk, as you prefer. This must be ice cold before you put it in the freezer.
Ice-Cream with Eggs.—One pint of milk, three eggs, leaving out one white, half a pound of sugar (if acid fruit is to be added, it may require more for some tastes). Make a custard of these materials, and half freeze it; then add a pint of cream whipped solid. Stir in well and finish freezing, turning the handle some few minutes after it gets pretty stiff, if there is a strong enough hand near to do it.
In making varieties of ice-cream you have only to consider the fitness of the articles you use; for instance, any sort of fruit may be added, with the exception of lemons. Fleshy fruits, such as pineapple, peaches, pears, etc., are usually mixed with the cream uncooked in this country; abroad this is only done with soft fruits, such as raspberries, blackberries, oranges, and such as will mash through a colander. Others are very slightly stewed in rich syrup (as nearly their own juice as possible), then pulped and mixed through when the cream is nearly frozen.
In winter, fruit jams, and especially jellies, are very pleasant in ice-cream; they always require a little lemon juice to restore some of the natural sharpness of fresh fruit. A tumbler of red currant jelly turned into a pint of ice-cream is delicious, and gives a pretty, faint pink tint. The method is just the same whether for custard and cream or cream alone.
The meringue paste alluded to as used by foreign confectioners is made by beating the white of an egg with a tablespoonful of powdered sugar until stiff.
Grilled Almond Ice-Cream.—Make a quart of ice-cream; grill some almonds in the following way: Blanch four ounces of almonds, dry them in a hot spot till they are brittle; then put in a thick saucepan or saute pan four ounces of sugar and a gill of water; let them boil five minutes; throw in the almonds; stir them till part of the sugar adheres and they begin to turn yellow. Take them up, chop them, and when quite cold stir them into the ice-cream, which should be flavored with vanilla.
ICE-CREAMS AND WATER-ICES.
To those very fond of tea, ice-cream made with it is very acceptable, and is very much used at English garden parties.
Tea Ice-Cream.—To one pound of granulated sugar put a pint of strong green tea, a pint and a half of cream, and two quarts of rich milk, and a very little cinnamon water. Let the whole simmer one minute, not stirring, but keeping the mixture in motion by gently swinging the saucepan. Freeze as usual. This recipe may be used for coffee and chocolate; it will make a large quantity, and for a medium-sized family one quarter will suffice.
Chinese Ice.—Beat the yolks of fifteen eggs with three quarters of a pound of powdered sugar; pound four ounces of pistachio-nuts (blanched) with the white of an egg; put to it three gills of water; stir it over the fire in a double boiler till it is as thick as cream; take great care that it does not boil. Color it green, or part green and part yellow; flavor as you please; cut up a couple of candied Chinese oranges small and a little preserved ginger, and freeze.
Water-Ices.—These are exceedingly simple, and no more elegant form of refreshment can be offered than a plate of well-frozen or a tumbler of half-frozen water-ice. It is acceptable when ice-cream would be too heavy, and can be offered at the simplest country afternoon tea, or during a call, without the seeming ostentation of ice-cream.
Ginger Water-Ice (to serve as a beverage if preferred).—Take six ounces of preserved ginger, free from fibre; pound it; make two quarts of lemonade by paring eight or ten lemons so thinly that the knife-blade shows through the yellow; put the peel of three in a pitcher with a pound and a quarter of sugar; pour two quarts of boiling water on them, and cover; squeeze and strain the juice from the lemons, add to the water, and when cold stir in the pounded ginger, with the meringue paste made with the whites of four eggs. Freeze it. If for drinking, only half freeze, work only enough to make it like half-melting snow, and use only sugar enough to make a refreshing drink. Italians call this granito, and it is a form of ice not often met with in this country.
Pineapple Water-Ice.—This can be readily made of canned pineapple when the fresh fruit is out of season. Peel a pineapple; grate it into a mortar; then pound it well with six ounces of sugar; let it stand covered for an hour; add the juice of five oranges, and a pint and a half of syrup boiled to the little thread, or a lisse. (This syrup is much used in making water-ices, punches, etc. It is sugar and water boiled till it forms a little thread between thumb and finger.) Mix well and freeze. If canned fruit is used, you need less sugar, and substitute lemon for half the orange juice.
Almond Water-Ice.—Take one pound of almond paste, a pint and a half of water, and three quarters of a pound of sugar; grate the paste; then stir till quite dissolved. Flavor with vanilla or raspberry; stir in the whites of two eggs and some candied fruits cut up small. Freeze as usual.
Cinnamon Water-Ice.—This is a German ice, and very much liked by those who are fond of the flavor. Pound an ounce of the finest quality of cinnamon in the stick, put it into a pint and a half of boiling water, and cover it well; when it is cold add a quart of syrup (the little thread) and the well-beaten whites of two eggs, and freeze it.
Pistachio Water-Ice.—Blanch and pound a pound of pistachio-nuts, using the white of an egg to moisten; mix with a quart of syrup a lisse. Heighten the color, if too pale, with spinach coloring, and flavor to taste. (Pistachio-nuts have no flavor of their own, astonishing as the fact may seem to those who have heard frequently of pistachio flavor.) Freeze as usual.
Apricot Water-Ice.—There is no more delicious water-ice than this if fine-flavored apricots are used. The canned ones are excellent for the purpose. Pulp two pounds of apricots through a sieve or jelly press; grate or pound very fine five or six bitter almonds; mix with the pulp the juice of the apricots (from the can), and a pint and a half of syrup, and the beaten whites of three eggs made into a paste with three tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar; stir all well, and freeze. This ice ought to be the color of apricots; if too pale, add a very little saffron coloring.
Currant Water-Ice.—A pint of currant juice, a pint of syrup, and the whites of three eggs made into meringue paste. Freeze as usual. Any of these water-ices can be half frozen as graniti, and served in glasses as granito, the only exceptions being the almond and pistachio water-ices.
Graniti are also made of various kinds of light punches by adding to a quart of the usual punch recipe a quart of sweetened water. Any summer beverage made from fruit juice can be turned into a granito, by half freezing, in either of the following ways:
To Freeze Graniti.—Mix the beverage you intend to freeze, for instance, we will say, a pint of very strong, clear, bright coffee and half a pint of syrup a lisse. Put them into the freezer and turn; as it becomes frozen up the sides, scrape it down with a spoon, and remember, as soon as it resembles snowy water (not white, of course) it is frozen enough. It must be just liquid enough to pour out.
There is a second way of freezing graniti by which they can be put on the table in the vessel in which they were frozen. Place the mixture in wide-mouthed water-bottles, twirl them round in ice and salt, and, as the contents become frozen on the inside of the bottle, scrape down with a narrow wooden stick or spatula. When frozen in perfection the bottle should seem half filled with tiny crystals.
Claret Granito.—To one pint of orangeade add a bottle of claret. Half freeze.
Sherry Granito.—To one quart of lemonade add a bottle of sherry, and freeze.
The housekeeper who lives far from a large city will need materials for many of the recipes given in these papers and others which she will meet with in books on high-class cooking. Many of these can be sent for by mail, and all, of course, by express; but it will often not seem worth while to send perhaps for one small bottle that we may lack. For this reason I give a few directions for preparing very tolerable imitations of liqueurs, which, however, unless it were a question of economy, it might not be worth while doing if within reach of stores.
Curacoa.—Pare a dozen and a half of dead-ripe oranges so thin that you can see the knife pass under the rind; pound one dram of finest cinnamon and half a dram of mace; put them to steep for fifteen days in a gallon of pure alcohol, shaking it every day. Make a clarified syrup of four pounds of sugar and one quart of water well boiled and skimmed; add this to the curacoa. Rub up in a mortar one dram of potash with a teaspoonful of the liqueur; when well mixed add it, and then do the same with a dram of alum. Shake well, and in an hour or two filter through thin muslin. It will be ready for use in a a week.
Maraschino.—Bruise two ounces of cherry kernels and one of bitter almonds; put them in a deep jar with the thin outer rind of twelve oranges and five lemons. Steep in one gallon of English gin or alcohol. Let the whole stand a fortnight, then filter and bottle.
Ratafia.—Blanch the kernels of uncooked peaches or apricots, and when you have two ounces pound them, and pour to them a quart of gin or alcohol and the thin yellow rind of two lemons. Sweeten with a pound of white sugar-candy, and leave the whole for two months; then filter and bottle for use.
Candied Orange and Lemon Peels.—These are invaluable both as decoration for certain desserts and for culinary purposes, and as they are not always to be found except in the larger cities, the method of preparing them is here given: Throw the peels into salt and water, all pulp being removed, but the white part must be left untouched; in fact, the thicker the peel the better for the purpose, thin-skinned oranges being of no use for candying. Let them remain in the salt and water from nine days to three weeks; then wash them, put them on the fire in cold water, and let them boil till perfectly tender, yet they must not be mushy. During the time they are boiling change the water until it no longer tastes salt. Lemon-peels may take from three to four hours' boiling, orange-peels less; but remember, should the lemon-peel not be quite tender, it will harden when it goes into syrup, and instead of a rich sweetmeat there will be only woody chips. Drain the peels, and make a thin syrup of a pint of water to each pound of sugar. Let it boil five minutes; then throw in the peels; they must boil gently in this until they are clear and the syrup has become thick—almost boiled away, in fact. Now make another syrup, half a pint of water to two pounds of sugar; let it boil till clear and till there is a short hair from the fork. Now put in the peels (which must have been drained from the other syrup); remove from the fire; stir them round till the syrup looks whitish; then lift each piece out and lay it on a dish on which granulated sugar has been freely sprinkled.
Both orange and lemon peels are candied by the same process, but they must never be put in the same vessel of salt and water, nor must they be candied together, or the distinctive flavors would be lost.
Under this head I intend to give a few sweets that seem to me unusually good, although they may not always be novel, except in manner of serving. A compote of fruit has nothing new about it, yet by the way in which it is served it may simply be "stewed fruit," or it may be a dish fit to find a place even in choice cookery.
In making compotes great care must be taken to preserve the shape and color of the fruits. In order to do this they must be quickly peeled and dipped into strong lemon juice and water, and dropped into syrup in which also a little lemon juice has been squeezed. Pass the blade of the knife over its own marks to obliterate the appearance of peeling. Peaches and apricots may be boiled up without peeling, and (unless they are allowed to get too soft) the skins will be removed easily. It will be observed that hard fruits such as apples are simmered in thin syrup to get tender, while rich soft fruits are dropped into syrup boiled to candy height.
Apple Compote No. 1.—Cut up and boil half a dozen apples in a pint of water. When they are quite soft strain the juice from them without squeezing; put to it half a pound of granulated sugar and the zest of a lemon (the zest is the peel so thin that the knife blade can be seen, through it while paring), together with the juice. Let this syrup boil for a minute; skim it. Then pare half a dozen fine cooking apples; core them; let them boil gently in the syrup until quite tender, but not in danger of breaking. Take them up on a perforated skimmer. When cold, put the apples into a compote dish. Boil the juice to a jelly; pour part of it over the apples; dip a plate in cold water, drain it, and then pour out the rest of the jelly into it: it should only cover it about the thickness of thick paper. When stiff, warm the under-side of the plate very slightly, pass a broad thin knife under, and lay the sheet of jelly over the apples in the compote dish.
Apple Compote No. 2.—Prepare the apples as in last recipe, but before the last sheet of jelly is laid over them ornament with rings and leaves of angelica, and any red jelly or preserve cut in thin slices and stamped out with tiny tin cutters in leaves, stars, or fancy shapes (stiff red currant jelly of red quince may be used); decorate thus each apple; then lay the thin sheet of apple jelly over all.
Compote of Stuffed Apples.—Prepare the apples as in the foregoing recipes, taking care to core them all through without splitting the apple. When the apples are done, fill the centre with orange marmalade or apricot preserve. Boil the syrup down till it will glaze; pour it over the apples when they are ice-cold, the syrup also only warm enough to remain liquid. By this means the rich coating will remain over the apples, while if both were warm it would run off.
Compote of Apples or Pears Grille.—If you have any apples or pears left from a compote (or you may, of course, prepare them especially), put them into a frying or saute pan over a brisk fire; put with them any syrup there may be and a cup of sugar just dissolved in water; boil rapidly down to a pale caramel, rolling the apples with a fork so that they become covered with the caramel. Take great care that the syrup does not burn; remove it from the fire the moment it begins to change color. The apples should now have an even glossy surface; as each is finished put it at once into the compotier. Pour a little curacoa syrup round just before sending to table.
Compote of Apple Marmalade.—This is not so troublesome to make as it sounds, especially to any one who has made glace nuts—a very general accomplishment nowadays. Reduce some apple marmalade by leaving it for an hour or two in a double boiler; the water boiling round it will evaporate moisture without danger of burning. Stir occasionally, and when the marmalade is so reduced that it will make a firm paste when cold (try a little in a saucer on ice), color one half pink with cochineal. Spread half an inch thick on plates slightly oiled; when stiff and cold, cut out the marmalade into squares, ovals, diamonds, leaves, etc., with tin cutters. Boil a pound of sugar with a gill of water to the crack—that is, until a teaspoonful dropped in ice-water will crack between the teeth. Oil a fork and a large dish, and use the fork to drop the pieces of marmalade into the candy; lift them out quickly, and lay them on the dish, which will be better if it is set on ice. When they are cold, dish them in a pyramid, the pink to contrast with the white effectively. Pour a little liqueur-flavored syrup round the base of the fruit.
Compote of Pears (white).—Use any fine-flavored dessert pears. Cut them in halves, core, pare, and trim neatly, and simmer them in syrup (a pound of sugar and juice of half a lemon to a pint of water) till they are tender, yet firm to the touch. Dish the pieces, keeping them close to each other. Lay a thin sheet of apple jelly over them, and the syrup, boiled down till rich and thick, round them.
A Pink Compote is prepared in the same way, the only difference being that a very few drops of cochineal are added to the syrup before the pears go in. Decorate with angelica.
Pears a la Princesse. Select seven pears of the best quality, without blemish, and of equal size; pare them with great care; stand them close together in a saucepan, with weak acidulated syrup to cover them; simmer slowly till quite tender, but yet firm to the touch; take them up, leaving the syrup to boil down. When cold, cut the stalk end off each pear about an inch deep, or so as to leave about an inch of surface, on which place a ring of angelica (simply cut angelica crosswise and it forms rings, being tubular); if the rings are flattened, lay them in syrup; when softened bend them round and lay one on each pear; then, if in season, dip a fine strawberry or stoned red cherry in the hot syrup and lay it on the ring of angelica. Cut strips of angelica and run them through the strawberry down to the pear, both to hold the decoration in place and to represent the stalk; dish them standing; when dished up, pour some syrup, boiled till thick and rich, over the seven pears. When fresh fruit is not in season for decoration, use candied cherries.
Variegated Compote of Pears.—This is a pretty dish. Prepare some pears as in the last recipe, except that the tops are not to be cut off; color half the number a pale pink by adding a few drops of cochineal to the syrup in which they are simmered; dress them alternately, a pink pear and a white one, in the compotier; pour over each the pink and white syrup in which they were cooked, and pour syrup flavored with vanilla round them.
Compote of Oranges.—Divide six oranges in halves; first cut out the centre string of pith, pick all pips out carefully, and with a very sharp knife pare off the peel of the orange down to the naked transparent pulp; in this way you get rid of the whole of the white outside skin. Place the halves as you do them in a bowl; pour over them some hot syrup boiled a lisse, flavored with orange peel, rubbed with lump sugar, and previously dissolved in the syrup; a very little lemon juice should be added if the oranges are very sweet. Let them steep a few minutes; then remove them; then build the oranges into a pyramid on the compotier, and the last thing before going to table pour the syrup, well boiled and cold, over them.
Chestnut Compote.—Take the largest French or Spanish chestnuts, make slits in the peel, and boil till tender; take off the shell, and press them flat without breaking; lay them in a saucepan; pour over them thick syrup; put them in the oven, but do not let them boil; when they look quite clear take them up, put them into the compotier, boil the syrup to candy height, squeeze into the compotier the juice of an orange, and pour the candy over the chestnuts.
Chestnut Compote No. 2.—Prepare the nuts as in last recipe; put the yolks of three eggs in a saucepan; stir gradually to them a pint of cream; cook a quarter of a pound of sugar to the crack, with a few dried orange flowers; the minute the candy begins to get yellowish pour it into the cream, stirring constantly, and let it come to boiling-point; then strain the cream over the chestnuts.
Strawberries, raspberries, currants, etc., need very little cooking, and that little in high candy. If it is understood that strong syrup tends to make fruit firm, and weak syrup to make it tender, it will be seen why all soft fruit, in order to keep its shape, should be dropped into candy boiled till brittle, and why apples and other hard fruits should be first stewed in weak syrup until soft; yet there are degrees; for instance, hard peaches require thin syrup, and very luscious ones must be put into syrup that is very near candy. This is also the case with pears. Be guided as to the strength of the syrup by the kind of fruit. Avoid fruit that is very ripe, because the syrup from it will not jelly readily.
Compote of Strawberries.—Select a quart of fine large berries, rather under than over ripe; boil three quarters of a pound of sugar to the crack; drop the strawberries into the syrup after it is removed from the fire; return them to the range; let them boil gently once; take out the berries most carefully with the skimmer; lay them on the compotier; boil the syrup fast, skimming it carefully then pour it over the fruit.
Compote of Cherries is made in the same way, with the finest red cherries, only they require to boil up several times. When clear, drain them with the skimmer; lay them in the compote dishes; add a gill of red currant juice to the syrup; boil it till it is a weak jelly; then throw it over the cherries when nearly cold.
Orange Baskets Filled with Fruits.—Select seven oranges, not too large, but all the same size. With a very sharp knife pare the fruit as thin as possible—so thin that it still remains yellow, and only the shining outer surface is removed (in fact, it may be lightly grated off, but that is more trouble), to render them transparent; cut two quarters out of the upper part of the orange, so as to leave a narrow band half an inch wide, which will form the handle; pass the knife carefully round inside the band, so as to remove the strip of pulp. With the bowl of a teaspoon detach the remaining pulp from the inside without in any way damaging the shape of the basket. As you prepare them, drop them in a saucepan of cold water, and then put them into boiling water, and simmer three minutes gently. This is only to soften the peel and enable you to stamp out the edges with a perforating cutter, if you have one, which will give them an openwork effect; if not, just scallop them with scissors, and snip out a sort of trellis-work to increase the basket effect. Put them into a preserving-kettle with weak syrup a lisse, boil them gently till they look clear, then put them aside in the syrup till next day; boil the syrup twice alone at intervals of several hours, and throw it over the baskets. These baskets may be kept ready prepared for months by putting them in wide jars and covering them with syrup. When required for use, they must be taken out, drained thoroughly, and then filled with a variety of small fruits, such as cherries, strawberries, currants, etc., which have been mixed with a little apple or orange jelly. In winter, ambrosia—a mixture of cut-up banana, grated cocoa-nut, orange quarters, etc.—may be served in them, or a mixture of preserved fruits that are firm, such as Chinese oranges, limes, ginger, etc. In all cases serve them on a compote dish, and throw over them syrup flavored with maraschino.
Lemon Baskets are prepared precisely as the orange baskets, but they require longer boiling, and the syrup they are served with should be flavored with citronelle or the rasped peel of green limes.
Orange Baskets Glace.—These are not much more trouble than the baskets simply preserved, but if successfully done they can be very effectively filled with candies or ice-cream. Prepare the baskets as in last recipe, drain them on a napkin, very carefully remove all moisture from the inside, and set them over a register, or in an oven with the door open, to dry. Boil two pounds of sugar with a pint of water and two tablespoonfuls of vinegar till it begins to change color (this is some little time after the brittle stage is reached, and is called caramel); lightly oil the skimmer, and drop a basket in the candy; remove as quickly as possible, but see that the whole is well coated, yet has as little superfluous candy as possible, for which reason the baskets must be warm when they are dipped, also the skimmer. You must not leave the candy on the fire after it begins to change color, but the work of coating the baskets had better be done quite near the fire, with the pot containing the candy on some part of it where it will be kept hot, but not cook. They must be slipped on to an oiled dish, and, needless to say, most carefully handled.
Other baskets are made with nougat, others with pastry, and the Swiss make what they call Vacherin with almond paste, and serve whipped cream in them; but the idea may be extended and improved upon by serving dried fruits or candies, or ice-cream in them, and they are a decided improvement on the paper baskets so often used for the last purpose, being eatable.
Swiss Vacherin.—Take half a pound of almond paste, three quarters of a pound of confectioners' sugar, and the white of one egg. Shave the almond paste, stir the egg and sugar together, and flavor with a little orange-flower water or wine; work all together with the hand into a smooth, stiff paste that will roll out; if there is a disposition to crack or crumble, use more white of egg and almond paste. Roll it just as you would pie crust on the pastry board, using confectioners' sugar in place of flour. Line small cups or tartlet moulds, or anything that will make a good form for baskets, which have been very slightly oiled. Put them aside to harden and dry. Chop a tablespoonful of blanched pistachio-nuts till they are as fine as corn-meal, mix with an equal quantity of granulated sugar. Trim the edges of the cups or baskets with scissors, turn them out of the moulds, very carefully dip the edges in a saucer containing white of egg beaten to liquid—the edges only need to be just wet. Have the chopped pistachio-nuts and sugar also in a saucer, dip the wet edge of the cup lightly into it, and shake gently. If properly done, the cups will now have a pretty green border. When these are filled with whipped cream, sweetened, flavored, and colored, they are called Swiss Vacherin. Filled with plain whipped cream, and the top covered with strawberries, they are called "Chantilly cups," but they may be used in many decorative ways, to hold preserves or candied fruits, etc., etc.
Little China Dishes.—This quaint recipe is from the immortal Mrs. Glasse, and on trial was found so unique and agreeable a variety to our modern fancies that with some little changes to suit our present ideas I give the last-century dainty. If you have any pretty-shaped little tin dishes, without fluting, to mould and bake them in, they are very little trouble to make. Take the yolks of two eggs, two small tablespoonfuls of sherry, and one of rose-water, beat together only enough to mix, then use as much fine flour as will make a firm paste that can be rolled out exceedingly thin. Cover some nicely shaped little tins slightly buttered, press to the form, be careful the paste fits without creases, and bake in a cool oven. When the paste is crisp, with very little change of color, they are done. Do not touch them till they are cold, as they may be brittle. Stir the white of an egg with a tablespoonful of rose-water and confectioners' sugar enough to make a smooth icing; squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and when the little dishes are cold, ice the under side only just thick enough to mask the pastry; when they are dry and hard, turn them over and ice the inside; do this with great smoothness, to look as much like porcelain as possible. If you choose, when the icing is quite hard, you can wet the edge of the dishes with white of egg and dip them in chopped pistachio-nuts and sugar, like the Chantilly baskets, or in nonpareils (the smallest size). They may be used to serve anything sweet, from jelly to candies.
Almond Trifles.—With the almond paste used for Chantilly cups many trifles may be made with very little trouble; for instance, mix a tablespoonful of flour with the paste; roll it out; cut into circles; pinch up two sides; place a little handle over the centre, and in each open end, which must be bent slightly upward, place a candied cherry. Or cut a number of thin strips of paste, stick them together in the middle with white of egg, pass a strip of almond paste round so that the strips look like fagots of sticks, let them just color in the oven, sift sugar over them, and put them away. The paste may be rolled as thick as a pipe-stem and tied in knots, the surface just moistened, and sugar sifted over them; these also must only just take color in the oven. These are only suggestions for using up the trimmings from the cups.
Raspberry Charlotte Russe.—The simplest and quite the most effective way of making charlottes of any kind is the following: Take a strip of light cartridge or drawing paper from two to three inches wide, measure it round a mould the size you wish the charlotte to be, and cut it an inch larger; piece the two ends together, lapping an inch. Lay this paper circle on an ornamental dish (the one you wish to use), split lady-fingers, and stand them around it inside like a picket-fence, only as close together as they will go, inserting a pin from the outside through the paper and each cake as you do it. When you have lined the paper completely you will have a close frame of lady-fingers held in place by pins. Whip a pint of perfectly sweet cream that is at least twenty-four hours old and has been thoroughly chilled on ice. Sweeten the cream with two tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar, and flavor it with a tablespoonful of raspberry juice (not syrup) mixed with a tablespoonful of powdered sugar; sometimes the raspberry juice will color the cream a beautiful faint pink, which cannot be improved upon, but if it is not bright enough in tint stir in one or two drops of cochineal. If the weather is warm stand the vessel containing the cream in ice; then beat without stopping to skim the froth as it rises. In about ten to fifteen minutes the cream ought to be perfectly solid if all the conditions were observed, and the beating carried on in a cool, airy room. If, however, the cream is not solid enough to keep shape, set it on ice for an hour and beat again. Fill the centre of the frame of lady-fingers, piling it high; decorate either with chopped pistachio-nuts lightly sprinkled, or with rings of angelica. The raspberry juice used for flavoring is to be obtained at first-class druggists', where the best quality of soda-water is sold. It is unsweetened, and although I have kept it two or three months in cool weather, it often will not keep many weeks; it is therefore better to buy it by the gill or half-pint, if your druggist will sell it so, than to buy a large bottle, although it is so useful for making raspberry jelly, raspberry shrub, and many other things, that even a bottle is not likely to be wasted. It must not be confused with raspberry syrup, which is heavily sweetened, but not nearly so fragrant. Before serving the charlotte remove the pins and take the paper off.
Charlotte Russe with Gelatine.—Prepare a frame as in last recipe, also beat a pint of cream sweetened and flavored with wine or to taste; melt in a pint of milk half an ounce of gelatine. The French gelatine is very pure, easy to melt, and no more expensive than any other good kind, and for delicate uses preferable to them. Make the gelatine and milk into a custard with two eggs, sweeten with two tablespoonfuls of sugar, flavor to taste, and put to get cold, stirring it once in a while; when it begins to thicken round the sides of the vessel beat with the egg-beater till foamy. You have now a vessel of whipped custard and one of whipped cream, both cold; now mix the cream into the custard, a little at a time, giving the spoon a light upward movement; do not stir it; that deadens the cream; your object is to keep it light; when all is mixed, fill the frame of cake with the spongy mixture; decorate it either with drops and pipings of the mixture applied to the smooth surface, or with candied fruits cut into forms or various colored jellies.
Of course a charlotte russe can be varied in many ways. It may be filled with the custard made with chocolate, and so be brown charlotte, or the filling may have apricot or currant jelly whipped into it with the gelatine; this is an admirable change.
Almond Turban.—Make half a pound of fine puff-paste, give it nine turns, roll it the last time to the thickness of a dollar; have ready half a pound of almonds, blanched and chopped; put them in a bowl with half a pound of powdered sugar and the whites of two eggs, adding a very little more if the icing is too stiff to spread; spread the almond icing on the pastry as thick as a twenty-five-cent piece; with a sharp knife cut the pastry into strips two and a half inches long and one in breadth; bake these in a moderate oven a very pale brown; make a circle on a dish of some firm marmalade or jam; when the almond cakes are cold, dress them in a crown on the jam, which serves to keep them in place; fill the centre of the turban with vanilla ice-cream or simple whipped cream.
Fine Small Cakes for Dessert.—It may not be worth the while of a busy housekeeper within reach of a first-class confectioner's to make these, because, although when of fine quality they are always expensive, yet they are also tedious to make. Many, however, live in country towns, where there is no possibility of obtaining anything better than the sandy products of the country bakery.
A few really fine cakes can be made at a time, and kept in an air-tight box, with layers of paper between, for some time. In speaking, however, of the tediousness I would not discourage the reader, for there are few more tedious things in cooking than the rolling out, making, and baking of thin cookies or ginger-snaps, and the result attained so inadequate.
Rout Biscuits.—Boil a pound of sugar in half a pint of milk; grate into it the rind of a lemon when cold; rub half a pound of butter into a pound and a half of flour and a pound of almond paste grated fine; put as much carbonate of soda as would lie on a silver dime into the milk, and mix with the flour and almond paste; beat two eggs, and make the whole into a firm, smooth paste; print this paste with very small butter moulds if you have them, making little cakes just like the tiny pats of butter one gets at city restaurants. Bake on a well-buttered pan in a quick oven a very pale yellow.
Macaroons.—These must be exempted from the charge of being tedious, they are so easily and quickly made. One pound of almond paste grated, one pound and a half of sugar, and the whites of seven eggs. Some confectioners use a teaspoonful of flour, with the idea that the macaroons are not so apt to fall. I recommend a trial of both methods; they will both be good. Stir the sugar and the beaten white of eggs together just enough to mix, then by degrees add the grated paste, mashing with the back of a fork till it forms a perfectly smooth paste. Oil several sheets of paper cut to the size of your baking-pans. Dripping-pans may be used if you have no regular baking-sheets. Lay a sheet of paper at the bottom of the pan. Put half a teaspoonful of the macaroon paste on a scrap of buttered paper in the oven. If it spreads too much it requires a very little more sugar; if it does not spread at all, or so little as to leave the surface rough, it is too stiff, and requires perhaps half the white of an egg, or the finger dipped in water and laid on each macaroon after they are on the paper is often sufficient—a little practice is all that is necessary. Lay the paste in half-teaspoonfuls on the oiled or greased paper. If the trial one indicated that they were slightly too stiff, lay a wet finger on each, sift powdered sugar over, and then put a pinch of chopped and blanched almonds in the centre with just enough pressure to keep them in place. As the macaroon spreads in the oven the almonds scatter themselves.
Macaroons should be baked about twenty minutes in a moderate oven. They must be taken out while they are a very pale brown, but they must also be quite "set," or they will fall. If the oven is too quick they will brown too soon; in that case leave the oven door open, taking care that no cold draught can blow on the macaroons. You can tell if they have browned too quickly by the cracks in them being still white and sticky. When done both the cracks and surface should be the same pale color. The macaroons must be left five minutes in the pan after leaving the oven without being touched. At the end of that time they may be gently taken off the pans on the papers, from which they must not be detached until they are quite cold. Should they stick to the paper, moisten the back of it.
Fine Ginger Dessert Cakes.—Rub half a pound of fresh butter into three quarters of a pound of flour; beat three eggs with three quarters of a pound of powdered sugar and half a glass of rosewater, the grated peel of a lemon, and a teaspoonful of the best powdered ginger—use the ginger carefully, trying a level spoonful first. Then mix all into a paste. If the flavor of ginger is not strong enough, add more; they should taste well of it, without being hot in the mouth. Roll the paste a quarter of an inch thick, and cut into small oval or round cakes, sift powdered sugar over them, and bake rather slowly a very pale brown.
FINE CAKES AND SAUCES.
Madeleines.—Four ounces of butter, four ounces of the best flour, three ounces of sugar, a teaspoonful of orange-flower water, the yolks of four eggs, and rind of a lemon. Beat butter, sugar, and yolks of eggs together, then add the other ingredients; grate in the rind of half a lemon, and add the well-beaten whites of eggs last of all. Fill little moulds that have been buttered with washed butter, cover the tops with split almonds and sifted sugar; bake from thirty to forty minutes in a moderate oven. These cakes are sometimes served hot with apricot sauce.
Chestnut Croquettes.—Boil fifty sound chestnuts; take them out of the shells; reject all imperfect ones; keep the large pieces aside; pound the crumbs and most broken pieces with an ounce of butter till very smooth; then mix in a small cup of cream two ounces of butter and one ounce of powdered sugar; put the whole into a double boiler, and stir in the beaten yolks of six eggs. Let the mixture set. When cool, make it into balls; in the centre of each ball put a piece of the chestnut you have laid aside, dip the balls in fine cracker meal and eggs, and fry a very pale yellow. Serve with sifted sugar.
Very pretty cakes, very easily made, which come under the French term petits fours, may be given here.
Petits Fours.—Make rich cake mixture thus: Wash three quarters of a pound of butter to free it from excess of salt; squeeze it dry in a cloth; beat it with the hand till creamy; add three quarters of a pound of powdered sugar; beat till light; then beat in ten eggs, one by one, and sift in a pound of dried and sifted flour. When all are well beaten together, the paste or batter is ready for use. Line some shallow pans (those used for making rolled jelly-cake are best) with buttered paper; spread a layer of the mixture just as you would for jelly-cake, but much thicker, as when baked the sheets should not be more than the third of an inch thick. Bake slowly. When done, remove from the oven, but leave the cake undisturbed till cold. If the sheets are large, they may be cut exactly in half, spread thinly with some stiff marmalade or jelly; quince or apricot is best, but any rich flavor with some tartness will do; lay one half on the other, and press closely and very neatly together. Do each sheet of cake in the same way, varying the marmalade if you choose. Have ready a bowl of icing (either boiled French icing or what is called royal icing). Dust the top of the cakes with flour, which must be brushed off again, as it is only to absorb the grease. Flavor the icing with vanilla, and lay it on the centre of the cake; let it run over it, aiding with a knife dipped in water (shaking off the drops, however). The icing needs to be very neatly done, and must not be thicker than a twenty-five-cent piece. Now color the icing in the bowl pink, with a little cochineal, add a drop or two of extract of bitter almond or of lemon, either of which will agree with the vanilla that was in the white icing; then ice another sheet of cake in the same way; a third may be done with chocolate icing.
The beauty of these cakes will depend on the way they are cut. You may choose to make them tablets an inch wide and three inches long, or in lozenge shape—the true diamond—but in either case the cutting must be exact. The best way to have it so is to mark the lines very lightly with the point of a penknife on the icing, using a measure. Trim off the edge of the cake with a sharp knife, so that it is neat all round, no excess of marmalade oozing out, or tears of icing running down. Then warm a sharp carving-knife (I am supposing the cake is on a board), and cut through the lines you have marked, without hesitation, so that there may be no crumbs or roughness, which slow, over-careful cutting causes. When cut up you should have, if neatly done, an assortment of very delicious and ornamental cakes.
FRENCH SWEET SAUCES FOR PUDDINGS, ETC.
Sauce Madere a la Marmalade.—A half-pound of apricot marmalade; half a tumbler of Madeira or sherry; boil three minutes, then pass through a sieve, and serve as sauce to soufflees, cabinet puddings, etc.
Sauce des Oeufs au Kirsch.—Beat the yolks of eight eggs, put them in a saucepan with half a tumbler of kirsch, five ounces of powdered sugar, and half the rind of a lemon grated. Stir all in a double boiler till the mixture sticks to the spoon; then remove from the boiling water; stir for a minute to prevent curdling; then it is ready to serve.
Chaudeau Sauce.—Take two whole eggs, six yolks of eggs, and eight lumps of sugar (each one rubbed on lemon-peel), two pints of Chablis, and the juice of half a lemon; beat them over a slow fire in a double boiler till a light froth is formed; be very careful the eggs do not curdle when the boiling-point is reached; take the sauce off the fire, and continue beating for a minute or two. If small streaks appear on the froth the sauce is done. Stir in a tablespoonful of fine rum, and the sauce is ready to serve.
Sherry Sauce for Puddings.—Six yolks of eggs, one ounce of sugar, half a pint of sherry, and the thin peel of a lemon. Beat the eggs with the sugar; when the wine is warm, stir them into it (let the lemon-peel steep in the wine while warming); stir all together till as thick as cream; then remove from the fire, and take out the peel. In making all these sauces with eggs the same precaution is required as in making custard.
Wine Sauce, No. 2.—Three gills of water, one cup of sugar, one teaspoonful of corn-starch, and one gill of wine. Mix the corn-starch with a little water; pour the rest boiling to it, stirring till smooth; then add the sugar, and boil for five minutes; then add the wine and a few drops of essence of lemon and the same of cinnamon. Use these flavorings drop by drop, as they differ in strength too much for an exact quantity to be given, and the taste must be the guide. Rum or brandy may be used instead of wine; then the cinnamon is omitted.
Apricot Sauces.—Half a small jar of apricot jam or marmalade; dissolve it in three quarters of a gill of water with the juice of a lemon; stir in three quarters of a gill of rum. This sauce is simply made hot, not boiled, and may be served cold with Baba or Savarin cake. Greengage marmalade may be substituted.
Whipped Sweet Sauce.—Put the yolks of four eggs into a double saucepan with two ounces of sugar, one glass of sherry, the juice of one lemon, and a speck of salt; beat all together; then set the saucepan over the fire, and whisk the sauce till it is a creamy froth, when it is ready to serve.
Very Fine Sweet Butter Sauce.—Wash four ounces of butter; squeeze it dry; beat it to a hard sauce with half a pound of powdered sugar; then put the yolks of two eggs in a cold bowl; stir it a minute, then add to it a little of the hard sauce; when well mixed add more, about a teaspoonful at a time; when the hard sauce is blended with the yolks of eggs, stir in by degrees a wineglass of brandy or rum. Keep on ice till wanted.
Vanilla Cream Sauce.—Put half a pint of fresh cream to boil, reserving a tablespoonful; mix this with a teaspoonful of flour; stir it into the cream, with a tablespoonful of sugar, when near boiling; when it boils, stir for five minutes or ten in a double boiler; then pour out the sauce, and stir in a small teaspoonful of vanilla and a few drops of extract of rose or a teaspoonful of rose-water. Observe that the rose is used to give a different tone to the vanilla, and not to impart its own flavor, therefore very little must be used.
Almond Sauce.—Dissolve four ounces of almond paste in half a pint of sweet cream by stirring in a double boiler (the almond paste should be grated first); when both are hot, add a tablespoonful of sugar and the yolk of an egg; stir till the egg thickens, then remove from the fire and serve.
SALADS AND CHEESE DISHES.
Salad has come to form part of even the simplest dinners; and certainly cold meat and salad and excellent bread and butter make a meal by no means to be despised even by an epicure, while cold meat and bread and butter sound very untempting. The best dinner salad will perhaps always be white, crisp lettuce, with a simple French dressing, although, to those acquainted with it, escarole runs it hard, with its cool, watery ribs and crisp leaves. Elaborate salads, or those dressed with mayonnaise, are too heavy to form the latter part of an already sufficiently nourishing meal, but for luncheons and suppers the rich salad is invaluable.
Salad which is to be eaten with game or to form a course at dinner may be a crisp white cabbage lettuce, water-cress, Romaine lettuce, or that most delicious form of endive, escarole.
The dressing should be the simple French dressing, about which so much has been written and said, and which is so easy that perhaps it is one reason why so few make it well. There is nothing to remember beyond the proportions, and so many keep the quantity of oil, vinegar, and pepper and salt in mind, but the manner of using them seems of no consequence; but it is of so much consequence, if you do not want the vinegar on the leaves and the oil at the bottom of the salad bowl, that, well known as the formula is, I am going over it again with a few details that may help to fix the matter in mind.
In the first place it must be remembered that a wet leaf will repel oil, therefore the lettuce or other salad must be well dried before it is sent to table. This is best done by swinging it in a salad basket, and then spreading it between two cloths for a few minutes. Now it must be quite evident, if a leaf wet with water will refuse to retain oil, that one wet with vinegar will do the same; for this reason the leaves should be covered with oil before the vinegar is added, or the salad will be crude and very unlike what it should be if properly mixed in the following way:
Take lettuce as the example, although any of those mentioned are made in the same way. Have the lettuce dry in the salad bowl, put in the salad-spoon a saltspoonful of salt, a quarter one of pepper, and, holding it over the bowl, fill the spoon with oil; mix the salt and pepper well with it, and turn it over the salad; toss the salad lightly over and over till the leaves glisten, then add two (if for epicures, three or four) more spoonfuls of oil, then toss again over and over till every leaf is well coated with oil; then sprinkle in a saladspoonful of sharp vinegar. Toss again, and the salad is ready.
One salad less well known than it deserves to be is that made from the grape fruit. This is an especially grateful dish for spring breakfast, when cool, refreshing things are in order. Many tell me they have tried to eat grape fruit, but find it quite impossible on account of the intense bitter.
There is a very slight and pleasant bitter with grape fruit when properly prepared, but if by carelessness or ignorance even a small portion of the pith is left in it intense bitter is imparted to the whole.
Grape-fruit Salad.—Prepare the fruit, some hours before it is wanted, in the following way: Cut the fruit in four as you would an orange; separate the sections; then remove the pulp from each, taking care that no white pith or skin adheres to it. Put the pulp on the ice until just before serving; then dress with oil and vinegar exactly as directed for lettuce, etc.
Meat or fish salads should always be dressed with mayonnaise. I say nothing of the well-known lobster and chicken salads, which are so general that one is tempted to think the majority of people do not know how excellent some other combination salads are. Salmon salad—the fish flaked, laid on a bed of crisp lettuce with a border of the leaves, and masked with mayonnaise, with a garnish of aspic—is both handsome and delicious; but cold halibut, or even cod—any firm fish that flakes, in fact—make delightful salads, and acceptable to many who cannot eat lobster. In the way of meat salads, partridge or grouse are far daintier than chicken, prepared in just the same way. There is one point, however, which should be observed in making all meat salads: it is that the material should be well dressed with oil, vinegar, and condiments before the mayonnaise is put on. Usually one of two courses is followed: either the meat is left dry, the mayonnaise being supposed sufficient, or it is dressed with mayonnaise and then masked with it. In the latter case the salad is far too rich; in the former it is flat, because mayonnaise, if rightly made, has not acidity enough to flavor the meat; therefore it and the celery or other salad mixed with it should be bathed with French dressing before it is masked.
With these general rules any salad may be made; but as variety is the spice of the table, it may be borne in mind that in spring a sprig of mint, very finely chopped, gives a fragrance to lettuce, as does chervil or borage, parsley, or a tiny bit of onion. To a game salad nothing should be added.
No recipe is needed for mayonnaise, it having been given in the chapter on cold sauces.
In the course of these chapters several cheese dishes have been given, but there are a few others especially appropriate to the cheese and salad course, where it constitutes part of the dinner, which I will include. Cheese dishes are far less popular in this country than in Europe, but there are families whose masculine members eat no sweets, and for whom a dainty cheese dish would be very acceptable.
Genoa Ramaquin.—Cut a slice of Vienna or other baker's bread, half an inch thick, lengthwise of the loaf, so that it covers the bottom of a fire-proof dish—a souffle pan well buttered is excellent; beat two eggs and half a pint of milk together; add a level saltspoonful of salt; pour this custard over the bread, and leave it an hour to soak. Pour off any custard that may not be absorbed; dust the bread with pepper; then cover with the following mixture: dissolve as much rich cheese shaved in half a gill of cream as will cover the bread an inch thick, stirring it over a slow fire. Season with pepper and salt, and pour the cheese over the bread. Put it in the oven, and bake for half an hour, or till quite brown.
Cheese Puffs.—Line patty-pans with puff-paste, and fill three parts full with the following mixture: put a gill of cream in a double boiler with two ounces of grated cheese (half Parmesan if liked), a saltspoonful of salt, a pinch of pepper, a pinch of sugar, and a large teaspoonful of butter; when all is melted to a thick custard, break into it two eggs well whipped. The mixture is only to be made hot enough to melt the cheese, not to boil.
Cheese Sticks.—Take a piece of light bread dough about the size of a teacup, roll it out on a pastry-board, spread it with bits of firm butter, dredge with flour, fold and roll, repeat until you have rolled in two ounces of butter, just as for puff-paste; now roll the pastry out the third of an inch thick, cut into strips half an inch wide and any length you think proper, lay them very straight on a baking-sheet, and bake slowly a very light brown; remove from the oven, let them cool, then brush them over with white of egg, and roll them thickly in grated Parmesan; return for a minute or two to the oven. These are very good with salad, but cannot easily be made in warm weather. Should the pastry get too soft while rolling, put it on ice, and it is better to do so at all times before cutting into strips, so that the "sticks" may be quite straight.