1 loaf bread, crust cut off, cut in thin slices
Raspberry, strawberry or other jam
Fresh custard (not yet set)
Pare off the crust, and cut into thin round slices of four or five inches, the crumb of a twopenny or threepenny roll; spread over each bit raspberry or strawberry jam, and place the slices one over the other pretty high in a glass dish, and pour over them as much sherry, sweetened with sugar, and the bread will soak in; stick round the sides, and over the top, blanched sweet almonds, cut like straws, and pour a custard round it. It may be made the day before, or two or three hours before dinner, and with the crumb of loaf bread.
From The Cook’s Own Book by “A Boston Housekeeper” (Mrs. N. K. M. Lee) Boston 1832
Comment: Ah, the joys of 19th century measurements! If we are not being advised to use ingredients like “a piece of butter the size of a hen’s egg” we are being told to use as much bread as could be bought for either two or three cents! This was actually a sizeable amount, considering what inflation and the passage of time have done to the value of American currency–a twopenny loaf was probably the equivalent of a modern “short” loaf (circa 10 inches long) while a threepenny would be closer to the standard size of 18-20 inches. A nice loaf of unsliced French or Italian style bread would fit the bill nicely and should be easy to obtain if one does not wish to bake one’s own.
This is really a very fancy dessert, and would not be at all out of place in a modern restaurant. The sweetness of the jam used as filling may be a factor in deciding whether or not to add sugar to the sherry. We are not entirely sure how one cuts an almond “like a straw” but suspect that plain slivered nuts are what is contemplated here. It may be easier to stick the nuts in before adding the sherry, than afterwards when the bread is all wet.