Ratafia Biscuits or Cakes were an easy, popular cookie that used whipped egg whites for leavening and that baked up very light. They were a type of Macaroon and derived their name from the flavoring used in them. The word Ratafia means a cordial or liqueur, but remains of uncertain origin. Eventually, it came to denote almost any alcoholic and aromatic ‘water’. Flavorings varied widely, from the original ratafia of Morello cherry kernels to such herbs as Angelica. Some ratafias were distilled, others were made by infusion of spices, herbs and fruits in brandy or eau de vie. Since the Regency predated scheduled afternoon tea, these biscuits were often served during the dessert course of a dinner to offset other sweets. The Georgian favorite, Syllabub, was commonly accompanied by Ratafia Cakes or Macaroons and the recipe maven of the 18th C., Hannah Glasse, suggests that they be used in place of cake in Trifle. Ratafia Cakes Take 8 fl oz: apricot kernels, if they cannot be had bitter Almonds will do as well, blanch them & beat them very fine with a little Orange flower water, mix them with the whites of three eggs well beaten & sifted, work all together and it will be like a paste, then lay it in little round bits on tin plates flour’d, set them in an oven that is not very hot & they will puff up & be soon baked. Martha Lloyd’s Household Book Ratafia Cakes 340g (12oz)/ 1 ½ Cup Caster
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