Friday, June 17, 2016

Lemon Cream: A Taste of the 19th Century

Lemon Cream: A Taste of the 19th Century

This recipe for Lemon Cream is very different from what you might expect; it is truly a recipe from another time. It's not a custard and not a curd, but a unique creation that is best served as a topping for a sponge cake, in a trifle, or in a glass with fruit. Amazingly, this cream contains no dairy or gluten, either!

The following recipe comes from a collection of recipes found in a manuscript journal located in the H. Furlong Baldwin Library at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. The manuscript is attributed to Ann Maria Morris and the date of 1824 is written on the inside cover. The recipe below is one of many from the manuscript that will be included in a book I am writing. The book will contain biographical information about Mrs. Morris, an annotated transcript of the entire manuscript as it was written, and a section of modern recipe adaptations (including this one!).

Lemon Cream
Take a pint of spring water, the rinds of 2 lemons, the juice of 3, beat the whites of 6 eggs very well, mix them with the lemon, Sugar to your taste, set it on the fire & stir it until it thickens, do not let it boil, strain it thro’ a cloth, beat the yolks of 6 eggs, and then put them on until they become thick, cool it & fill your glasses.

Lemon Cream: Modern Recipe Adaptation
Serves 6-8

  • 2 Cups Water
  • Grated Rind of 2 Lemons
  • Juice of 3 Lemons (about 1/3 Cup)
  • 6 Large Eggs, Separated 
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

1.  Place the water, lemon rind and juice, sugar, and egg whites in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and cook for 5-7 minutes until it thickens to the consistency of egg-drop soup.
2. Remove from the heat and strain (the cooked bits of egg need to be removed) into a mixing bowl. Clean the sauce pan because you will need it again.
3. Add the egg yolks to the hot mixture by tempering. To temper,  whisk a few tablespoons of the hot mixture into the raw egg yolks. Mix well, then add the egg yolks to the rest of the hot mixture. Whisk all together.
4. Return the cream mixture to the saucepan (now clean) and set over medium-high heat to bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the cream thickens and heavily coats the back of a spoon.
5. Allow the mixture to cool to just warm and then pour into a bowl, or place in decorative pudding dishes or wine glasses to be later topped with fruit.
6. Place the lemon cream in the refrigerator to let it set up. It will take about two hours to chill through completely. Note: It will not get firm like a custard.

Disclaimer: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, eggs or unpasteurized milk may increase your risk of foodborne illness.

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