It was a very agreeable visit. There was everything to make it so — kindness, conversation, variety, without care or cost… we sat quietly working and talking till 10, when… we adjourned to the dressing-room to eat our tart and jelly.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
Sunday, June 26, 1808
Making Jelly (not jam, but a molded gelatin) was a complicated task during the Regency. Two types of natural gelatin used were Hartshorn (from the horn of a buck) and Isinglass- a pure gelatin prepared from the air bladder of the sturgeon and certain other fishes. These may be difficult to find now, but clear gelatin is readily available. These recipes use fruits most often available in the Autumn.
4 China Oranges
½ pound sugar
Simmer eight ounces of hartshorn shavings with two quarts of water to one; strain it, and boil it with the rinds of four China oranges and two lemons pared thin; when cool, add the juice of both, half a pound of sugar, and the whites of six eggs beaten to a froth; let the jelly have three or four boils without stirring, and strain it through a jelly-bag.
Make a very strong isinglass jelly. When cold, mix it with a double quantity of cranberry juice pressed … and boil it up; then strain it into a shape. The sugar must be good loaf, or the jelly will not be clear.
3 Seville Oranges
3 China Oranges
Isinglass Grate the rind of two Seville and two China Oranges, and two lemons; squeeze the juice of three of each, and strain, and add the juice to a quarter of a pint of water, and boil till it almost candies. Have ready a quart of isinglass-jelly made with two ounces; put to it the syrup, and boil it once up; strain off the jelly, and let it stand to settle, before it is put into the mould.
From The Olde Cookery Book
Orange Jelly Recipe (Modern)
1 tablespoonful of granulated gelatine
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup of cold water
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1/2 cup of boiling water
Let the gelatine stand in the cold water fifteen minutes or longer (until all the water is absorbed); add the boiling water and sugar and stir until the gelatine and sugar are dissolved; let cool a little, add the orange juice and turn into cups. Set aside to become cold and firm. Serve with cream or boiled custard. Preserved peaches or pears, cooked prunes or figs, or nut meats, also sections of orange, from which the membrane has been removed, or slices of banana, may be moulded in the jelly. A tablespoonful of gelatine is needed to each scant pint of liquid.
Cranberry Jelly Recipe
Cook one quart of cranberries and one cup of water in a covered dish five or six minutes. Then with a pestle press them through a fine sieve. Stir in two cups of sugar; and, without reheating, turn the mixture into a mould. Do not return to the fire after the sugar is added or the mixture will not jelly. The strong acid of the cranberry in connection with high heat “splits” the sugar and interferes with the jellying process.
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