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A Recipe for Apricot Ice Cream

A Recipe for Apricot Ice Cream

Ice Cream, as we know it, was a relatively new invention in Jane Austen’s day. Enjoyed in Italy and France in the 17th c, the first recorded English recipe was published in 1718.

Recipes featuring fruit which was not available until early summer were, no doubt, a treat reserved for the wealthy, who could afford to buy their ice and keep it cool in ice houses, until wanted. If you did not have access to ice in the summer, you could always visit the local Pastry Cook for a variety of sweets, including apricot ice cream. Molland’s, in Bath, was one such establishment.

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In Jane Austen’s, The Beautiful Cassandra, her heroine “…then proceeded to a Pastry-cook’s, where she devoured six ices, refused to pay for them, knocked down the Pastry Cook & walked away.” Slapstick comedy does seem to have been the name of the game in Austen’s early work. Mr. Punch would be proud. The following recipe for Apricot Ice Cream is taken from Cooking with Jane Austen and Friends, and is based on one first printed by Hannah Glasse in her book, Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, 1755.

Apricot Ice Cream

To Make Ice-Cream
Pare and stone twelve ripe apricots, and scald them, beat them fine in a mortar, add to them six ounces of double refined sugar, and a pint of scalding cream, and work it through a sieve; put it in a tin with a close cover, and set it in a tub of ice broke small, with four handfuls of salt mixed among the ice. When you see your cream grows thick round the edges of your tin, stir it well and put it in again till it is quite thick; when the cream is all froze up, take it out of the tin, and put it into the mould you intend to turn it out of; put on the lid and have another tub of salt and ice ready as before; put the mould in the middle, and lay the ice under and over it; let it stand for four hours, and never turn it out till the moment you want it, then dip the mould in cold spring water, and turn it into a plate. You may do any sort of fruit the same way. HG

  • 12 ripe Apricots
  • 170 g / 6 oz / ¾ cup Powdered Sugar
  • 470 ml / 16 fl oz / 2 cups of Cream

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Score the bottom of each apricot and place them in the pan. Let them boil furiously for 3 minutes. Drain the apricots in a colander and rinse them in cold water. The skins will now slip easily from them. Slice them in half and remove the pits.

Place the apricots, cream and sugar into a blender and purée until smooth. Pour this mixture into a dish with a tight fitting lid and place it in the freezer.

After 1 ½ hours, stir the ice cream so that it is smooth once more and return it to the freezer. Continue this process every few hours until it is semi-hard. Spoon the mixture into prepared moulds or allow it to harden in the dish and serve it in small scoops. You may also use an ice Cream maker to speed this process and produce a uniformly creamy apricot ice cream. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Serves 6-8

 

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A Regency-Inspired Lemon Ice Recipe

lemon ice

A Regency-Inspired Lemon Ice Recipe

“The Hattons’ & Milles’ dine here today– & I shall eat Ice & drink French wine and be above Vulgar Economy.”
Jane Austen
July 1, 1808

Fanny Dashwood Ice Cream has been enjoyed for hundreds of years. Some legends attribute the first frozen dessert to Emperor Nero, of Rome. It was a mixture of snow (which he sent his slaves into the mountains to retrieve) nectar, fruit pulp, and honey. Another theory states that Marco Polo, 13th century bard and adventurer, brought recipes (said to be used in Asia for thousands of years) for water ices to Europe from the Far East.

Whatever the story, it is now an established treat- not just in the summer (or winter when ice is plentiful)- but all year long. Traditional ice cream was not invented until sometime in the 1830’s. In fact, the Ice Cream Maker wasn’t even patented until 1843 (by a woman, no less!) Even still it was a popular treat among those who could afford it. During his reign in the 1600s, King Charles I of England offered a cook a job for life if he made him ice cream and kept it a secret. George Washington loved ice cream so much that he ran up a $200 bill for the dessert treat one summer in the late 1700s and Dolly Madison served ice cream in the White House at the second inaugural ball in 1812.

The key factor in the manufacture of ice cream was ice. Where was it to come from? In the early 19th century importation of ice started from Norway, Canada and America, this made ice cream readily available to the general public in the UK. Ice was shipped into London and other major ports and taken in canal barges down the canals, to be stored in ice houses, from where it was sold to ice cream makers. This burgeoning ice cream industry, run mainly by Italians, started the influx of workers from southern Italy and the Ticino area of Switzerland to England.

While innumerable recipes abound (the first one appearing in 1718, the easiest to concoct are “Ices” similar to today’s Italian Ices. Light and refreshing, they make a perfect summer treat. Ices have no dairy content, where Sorbet has a slight amount of cream and ice Cream is based entirely on diary products.

Photo by Michael Gordon

Lemon Ice Recipe
2 cups sugar
4 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp grated lemon rind
Dash of Salt

  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, salt, water and lemon rind.
  2. Boil for 5 minutes. Cool.
  3. Add lemon juice to cooled sugar water.
  4. Churn freeze (in Ice Cream maker) or pour into a dish and cover. Freeze at least 6 hours. Break frozen mixture into chunks. Place chunks in food processor; process until smooth. This method produces more of a “smoothy” texture. Makes 1/2 gallon of lemon ice.

If Churn Frozen or slightly stiff, this looks lovely served inside half of a lemon. Simply cut your lemons in half lengthwise before beginning process. Squeeze out the juice to be used in the recipe, cut a small slice of peel off the bottom of the lemon half so that it sits upright. Scoop out excess pulp and membrane, cover in plastic until ready to fill with frozen mixture. Garnish with Mint and berries.

 

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Molland’s Marzipan

eating marzipan

Molland’s Marzipan

It began to rain, not much, but enough to make shelter desirable for women, and quite enough to make it very desirable for Miss Elliot to have the advantage of being conveyed home in Lady Dalrymple’s carriage, which was seen waiting at a little distance; she, Anne, and Mrs Clay, therefore, turned into Molland’s, while Mr Elliot stepped to Lady Dalrymple, to request her assistance.
Persuasion

Marzipan or Marchpane, as it was originally called, is a confectionery consisting primarily of ground almonds and sugar that derives its characteristic flavor from bitter almonds. Most marzipan is also flavored with rosewater. Although it is believed to have originated in Persia (present-day Iran) and to have been introduced to Europe through the Turks, there is some dispute between Hungary and Italy over its originator. Marzipan became a specialty of the Baltic Sea region of Germany. In particular, the city of Lübeck has a proud tradition of marzipan manufacture. The city’s manufacturers like Niederegger still guarantee their Marzipan to contain two thirds almonds by weight, which results in a juicy, bright yellow product.

According to Anne Wilson, author of Food and Drink in Britain from the Stone Age to the 19th Century, “marzipan was a discovery of the later Middle Ages, dependent as it was upon the union of ground almonds with sugar. One of the earliest uses for the paste was in subtleties. When they had been sufficiently applauded they were dismantled and eaten. In the fifteenth century a marchpane began to emerge as a sweet in its own right. And by Elizabeth I’s reign, when the subtlety was becoming archiaic, a marchpane was regularly produced as the chief showpiece at the banquet or dessert course served to guests at the end of a meal. It was made of ground almonds and sugar on a base of wafer biscuits, and was formed into a round (a hoop of green hazelwood sometimes helped shape it). The frosting of the marchpane with sugar and rosewater to make it shine like ice was an important part of the preparation; and so was the gilding with decorative shapes in gold leaf.” More recent uses of Marzipan hearken back to its original purpose as chefs strive to outdo one another creating lifelike marzipan fruits and vegetables. You can also find it hiding inside hand dipped chocolates and under wedding cake frosting.


Jane Austen would undoubtedly have been familiar with this form of the treat. Perhaps it was even a favorite! Her character, Elizabeth Elliot of Persuasion, frequents Molland’s Tea Shop, in Milsom Street— their Marzipan, she confesses in the film, is the finest in the world

To make Machpane Cakes
Take almonds & blanch them in warme water, then beat them very fine in a stone morter and put in a little rose water to keepe them from oyling, then take the same weight in sugar as you doe of almonds, & mingle it with them when they are beaten very small & short, onely reserveing some of it to mould up the almonds with all. Then make them up in pritty thick cakes, & harden them in a bakeing pan. The make a fine clear candy, & doe it over you marchpanes with a feather. Soe set them in your pan againe, till the candy grow hard. Then take them out, & candy the other side. Set them in againe, & look often to the them. Keepe a very temperate fire, both over & u[nder them,] & set them in a stove to dry.”
-Martha Washington’s Booke of Sweetmeats [1749-1799]

To make Marchpane

    Ingredients:

  • 8oz ground almonds
  • 4oz icing sugar
  • 3 tbs rosewater
  • Waxed paper or rice paper
    Glaze:

  • 1tsp rosewater
  • 1 tbs icing sugar
  • 1 tbs rice flour
  1. Mix the almonds and rosewater in a bowl.
  2. Stir in the icing sugar and work them together with a pestle or the back of a wooden spoon until they form a smooth, very firm dough. Be careful not to work them too harshly, or the mixture will turn oily.
  3. Line the base and bottom inch of a 7inch round loose-bottomed cake tin with the wafers or rice paper, place the dough inside, and smooth level with a spatula.
  4. Mix the glaze ingredients together, and brush them over the top of the marchpane.
  5. Place the marchpane on the baking sheet and bake at 175 f for 30 min. Then remove and leave to cool. Repeat this stage, if necessary, until it is quite firm.

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