Saturday, June 20, 2015

Historical Food Fortnightly Challenge: #4 "Foreign" Foods, part 1

The Challenge:
Make a dish that reflects the historical idea of "foreign"- either foods with a loose connection to foreign lands, named after faraway places, or attributed to foreigners.

A French Charlotte
Of the two principle kinds of charlotte, the unbaked charlottes are purported to have begun by Chef Marie-Antoin Careme of France. Chef Careme worked for the Prince Regent of England in the early 19th century and likely encountered a baked charlotte popular in the 18th century. He introduced the charlotte a la parisienne by 1802. While he was working for Tsar Alexander, the name changed to charlotte russe.
American bakers in New York City would put their own spin on the confection by the 1880s.

I first began researching charlottes for portraying a confectioner and exploring all the elegant made confections on a 19th century dessert table. For Americans looking to impress, the association with the classically fashionable French makes the French Charlotte a welcome finish to the dinner party or theatre supper.

The Recipe:
From: The Lady's Receipt Book; A Useful companion for large and small families by Eliza Leslie, 1847
A French Charlotte.
--Lay in a deep dish or pan half a pound of bitter almond maccaroons (chocolate maccaroons will be still better) and pour on sufficient white wine to cover them well, and let them stand till entirely dissolved. Whip to a stiff froth a pint of rich cream, sweetened with sugar and flavoured with rose or lemon. Have ready a large circular almond sponge cake with the inside cut out, so as to leave the sides and bottom standing in the form of a mould, not quite an inch thick. Ornament the edge with a handsome border of icing. In the bottom of this mould put the dissolved maccaroons; over them a layer of thick jelly, made of some very nice fruit; and fill up with the whipped cream, heaping it high in the centre.

This is a very fine Charlotte, and is easily made, no cooking being required, after the materials are collected.

The Date/Year and Region: 
Mid Atlantic United States, 1840-1870

How Did You Make It:
The first step was to collect the ingredients. I will confess here I bought the jelly, as mine is a disaster every time.
Humm... maccaroons, sponge cake, whipped cream... I have some preparation to do first.

Time to Complete:

Stay tuned. This is gonna take awhile. :-)

Part 2: Maccaroons
Part 3: Rice Sponge Cake
Part 4: Putting it together

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