6 eggs, yolks only
1 pint wine
1/2 lb. sugar
Juice and grated peel of 1 orange
Juice and grated peel of 1 lemon
1 qt. cream
Whipped cream for topping
Beat the yolks of six eggs till very light and smooth; stir into them gradually a pint of wine, and let it set for half an hour; then stir in a half a pound of powdered sugar, the juice and grated peel of one orange and one lemon, and let it set again for half an hour, after which stir in a quart of rich sweet cream, beat it light, serve it in glasses, and crown them with whipped cream. These cold creams, as they are called, are plain, nice, fashionable and easily prepared. They are eaten with tarts, sweet meats and cake.
From The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, Cincinnati 1839
Comment: “Powdered” sugar was not in the 19th century the product which goes by this name today. Sugar was sold in solid blocks or chips which had to be ground or grated to reach granular form, a process which was known as powdering. Therefore their “powdered” sugar is simply our “granulated” sugar, so use the cheap stuff from the bag not the expensive stuff in the box.
We are classifying this as a dessert although from the description it is probably thin enough to qualify as a drink. What exactly makes it ‘Italian’ is entirely unclear as well, although we suspect the author’s interest in making a lemon cream sound “Continental” and therefore classier might be a factor.
Although considering the difficulties of transportation and the fact that neither sugar, lemons or oranges were grown in the upper reaches of the Ohio River in 1832, this was probably an entirely expensive and therefore “classy” item in its own right no matter what it was called.