Thursday, July 7, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly 2016, Challenge No. 12: In a Jam.. or Jelly, or Pickle

The Challenge:
12. In A Jam...or Jelly, or Pickle (June 3 - June 16) In a world before refrigeration, preserving food was an important task. For this challenge, make your favorite preserved food.

If the fellow foodies will remember, I've set an additional challenge to interpret dishes that are listed as served at the 80th Anniversary Dinner of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
No Sucre course of the 19th century would be complete without a jelly. Delmonico's chose a "Gelee Madere" or Madeira Jelly for this important dish. This challenge seemed a good opportunity to give one a try.

The Recipe:
From: Directions for Cookery, In It's Various Branches by Eliza Leslie, 1840
Pink Champagne Jelly
 --Beat half the white of an egg to a stiff froth, and then stir it hard into three wine-glasses of filtered water. Put twelve ounces of the best double-refined loaf-sugar (powdered fine and sifted) into a skillet lined with porcelain. Pour on it the white of egg and water, and stir it till dissolved. Then add twelve grains of cochineal powder. Set it over a moderate fire, and boil it and skim it till the scum ceases to rise. Then strain it through a very fine sieve. Have ready an ounce and a half of isinglass that has been boiled in a little water till quite dissolved. Strain it, and while the boiled sugar is lukewarm mix it with the isinglass, adding a pint of pink champagne and the juice of a large lemon. Run it through a linen bag into a mould. When it has congealed so as to be quite firm, wrap a wet cloth round the outside of the mould, and turn out the jelly into a glass dish; or serve it broken up, in jelly glasses, or glass cups.
Jelly may be made in a similar manner of Madeira, marasquin, or noyau.

The Date/Year and Region: 
Early to middle 19th century, mid Atlantic United States

How Did You Make It:
Beat egg white to stiff froth
3 wineglasses (3/4 cup) of filtered water
12 oz (1.7 cups) loaf sugar
 in a pan

Boil it til the scum stops rising

cool until lukewarm

Add isinglass, pint of madeira, juice of lemon (3 tablespoons bottled juice)

Strain into a mould

Leave to set until firm

Time to Complete: 
15 minutes to prepare, overnight to firm up.

Total Cost: 
About $20.00

How Successful Was It: 
Well... it was tasty, really tasty. We were drunk on alcohol fumes for hours.
Were I to do such again I would use smaller molds and be more careful about the hot and cold chemistry of the gel agent.

How Accurate Was It: 
I think it comes close and was certainly in the spirit of the recipe.

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