Posts Tagged ‘almonds’
1/2 lb. bitter almonds
1/2 lb. sweet almonds
whites of 4 eggs
2 and 1/4 lb. sugar
whites of 9 eggs
To half a pound of blanched bitter, and half a pound of sweet, almonds, put the whites of four eggs; beat them quite fine in a mortar, and stir in two pounds and a quarter of loaf sugar, pounded and sifted; rub them well together with the whites (by degrees) of nine eggs; lay them out from the biscuit-funnel on cartridge-paper, in drops about the size of a shilling, and bake them in a middling-heated oven, of a light brown colour, and take them from the papers as soon as cold.
N.B. A smaller pipe must be used in the funnel than for other articles.
From The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: The distinction between “bitter” and “sweet” almonds is no longer made today as the bitter variety is hardly ever commercially available. It is illegal to sell in many jurisdictions since its cyanide content (the component which gives it the bitterness) is so high as to violate legal standards for toxicity. Practice Safe Baking and just use a pound of regular old almonds, okay? If you want to live dangerously, think of something to do with the leftover 13 egg yolks.
A “biscuit-funnel” is better known today as a pastry bag and is most often used to make fancy icings on cakes. You will need a large (about one inch) nozzle to use it to produce items “the size of a shilling.” If perfection of form is not a concern just scoop up a spoonful, press it into shape with another spoon the same size, and scrape it out onto your cookie sheet with or without parchment paper lining.
A Necessary Refreshment at all Parties.
2 qts. milk
1 stick cinnamon
4 oz. almonds
1-2 tbs. rose water
Boil two quarts of milk with a stick of cinnamon and let it stand to be quite cold, first taking out the cinnamon; blanch four ounces of the best sweet almonds, pound them in a marble mortar with a little rose-water; mix them well with the milk, sweeten it to your taste, and let it boil a few minutes only, lest the almonds should be oily; strain it through a very fine sieve till quite smooth, and free from the almonds, serve it up either cold or lukewarm, in glasses with handles.
From The Virginia Housewife Or, Methodical Cook by Mary Randolph, 1860 edition of 1824 original
Comment: Rosewater is easy but time-consuming to make, assuming you have a large supply of food-quality (i.e. organic, non-pesticide or chemical laden) rose petals to work with. It was very popular in fancy dishes of the 19th century but today is found commercially only in gourmet shops and markets catering to Middle Eastern neighborhoods.
“Sweet” almonds are the only kind available in the US any more. The ones known as “bitter” almonds have been taken off the market as they contain unacceptable levels of cyanide, which is what produces the bitter taste. Our ancestors ate them on a regular basis, proving that they were a brave and sturdy people and we are degenerate poison-avoiding sissies.
1/2 c. cream
2-3 macaroons, pounded
Lemon peel, grated
Yolks of 8 eggs
Whites of 3 eggs
Put a glass of thick cream, some sugar, two or three macaroons pounded, with a few almonds, a little grated lemon; give them a boil; then add the yolks of eight and the whites of three eggs, beat the whole up over a slow fire; and lay on very thin slices of fried bread; sprinkle sugar over, and serve.
From The Cook’s Own Book by “A Boston Housewife” (Mrs. N. K. M. Lee) Boston 1832
Comment: We are honestly not sure if this was intended as a dessert, a breakfast item, or perhaps a light course for a supper or tea. It almost resembles a fancy French toast, or perhaps scrambled eggs on toast, but then again the use of sugar and crushed cookies tilts us the other way. We suggest you try it whenever you think it might be appropriate, while we go lie down as we are dizzy from all the tilting.
1 lb. almonds, blanched
1 lb. sugar
Lemon peel, grated
1/2 lb. flour, sifted
Pound in a mortar one pound of blanched almonds quite fine, with the whites of three eggs; then put in one pound of sifted loaf sugar, some grated lemon-peel, and the yelks [yolks] of fifteen eggs– work them well together; beat up to a solid froth the whites of 12 eggs, and stir them into the other ingredients with a quarter of a pound of sifted dry flour; prepare a mould; put in the mixture, and bake it an hour in a slow oven; take it carefully from the mould and set it on a sieve.
The Cook’s Oracle by William Kitchiner, MD, New York, 1829
Comment: We trust that our readers, presumably computer owners all, would beat the egg whites for a recipe like this with an electric mixer. Should you wish to get the feel for how a cook in the 19th century would work, you should get a couple of thin wooden rods (your local Chinese restaurant would be a potential source of supply as they usually carry inexpensive chopsticks) and carry out the operation with those. You will soon get an understanding of why a fancy dessert like this was most often enjoyed in a household which employed servants, for whom a sore wrist was the least of the injuries they were liable to incur in the course of a day’s work.
Another standard practice was to use a small dish or plate when separating eggs. Crack the egg carefully over the plate and separate the shell into two reasonably equal halves. The white will start to fall out onto the plate as soon as it is divided. Then pour the yolk back and forth a couple of times to let the remainder of the white fall out. Dump the yolk into one mixing bowl, toss the shells, then pour the white into a separate vessel (keeping careful count as you go!) This served a double purpose:
–if the yolk breaks and bleeds into the white, toss both parts into a separate container and make an omelet later. The tiniest trace of yolk will keep the whites from frothing properly so must be discarded.
–In those days before commercial egg-packagers had expensive inspection techniques at the factory level, it was much more common to get a “bad egg” in the middle of an otherwise good batch. This too will pollute the entire container–not to mention stink up the kitchen!– so using the small dish method was absolutely essential. It’s still a good habit to practice.