Sunday, November 13, 2011

For Love of Oranges

We lost power last night and it stayed out for fourteen hours, which is why a fly on the wall might have spotted me this morning, trying to make coffee on the woodstove.

(I cheated. I heated a kettle full of water over the fire and then poured it into the coffeemaker).

While waiting for the electricity to return I looked up some of the vintage cookbooks I have loaded to my Nook™ -- just in case I had to cook dinner over the stove as well, I thought I might as well get some ideas.

Margery Daw in the Kitchen, and What She Learned There, was published in 1881 and although the usual 19th century restrictions apply (there are recipes for making yeast and tooth powder as well as rather pathetic instructions for treating infant cholera that could not possibly have done one bit of good), I was surprised to see so many dishes that called for oranges, particularly in a cookbook published in Auburn, New York. They were undoubtedly a splurge, but they seem to have been commonly available.

Orange Pudding. One cup of sugar, one-half cup of rolled crackers, two eggs, one half tablespoonful of butter, one orange, one quart of milk; grate the rind and squeeze the juice. Bake like a custard, and serve cold.

Somewhat skimpy, those instructions. This recipe’s a bit more thorough.

Orange Pudding. Slice four sweet oranges, having previously pared them, one quart of milk, one cup of sugar, two tablespoonfuls of cornstarch, and the yolks of three eggs. Scald he milk, and just as it comes to boiling, add the corn-starch mixed in a little cold milk, and the sugar and eggs thoroughly beaten; boil until well thickened. When cold, pour over the sliced oranges. Make a meringue of the whites of three eggs, and a small cup of sugar. Spread on the pudding, and ornament with sliced oranges.

Orange Sherbet. One quart of water, one pint of sugar, two tablespoonfuls of gelatine, and the juice of ten oranges. Pour a cup of boiling water on the gelatine and when dissolved and cold, mix the orange juice and sugar with it; strain and freeze.

Jelly Oranges. One dozen fine oranges, one package of gelatine dissolved in one cup of cold water, three cups of white sugar, juice of the oranges and grated rind of three, the juice of two lemons, two cups of boiling water, one-fourth teaspoonful of cinnamon. Soak the gelatine three hours in the cold water; cut a small hole in the top of each orange, and take out all the pulp carefully with a teaspoon handle, not tearing the edges of the holes; (the smaller the hole in the orange, the better the dish will look.) Lay the empty skins in cold wter, strain the juice through coarse muslin upon the sugar, add the spice, pour the boiling water on the gelatine, add sugar and juice. Strain through a flannel bag, not squeezing, as it will make it cloudy. Wipe off the orange skins, set close in a dish and fill very full with the jelly, as it shrinks in cooling. Next day cut each in half with a pen-knife, being careful to cut the skin all around before cutting through the jelly. A large knife dipped for an instant in hot water and quickly drawn through the jelly part cuts more smoothly than a cold knife. Pile them in a dish with green leaves around them. It is a much easier dish to make than would appear at first. If desired, the oranges can be served whole.

Oranges a la Surprise. Take fine oranges and cut them around the middle with a sharp knife; take out all the pulp clean with a teaspoon, taking care not to tear them. Throw the empty skins into cold water until you are ready to fill them. Take them, wipe them, fill half the empty skins with whipped c ream, and the other half made with jelly made of the pulp taken out. The jelly can be left the color of the orange, or colored a beautiful red with cochineal syrup, which is very pleasing in contrast with the white cream. These can be set on wine glasses or small cups while hardening. After the orange skins have been filled, and set in the ice chest until hardened, serve either alternately jelly and cream on a napkin on a platter, or place together and tie with colored ribbons. The surprise is pleasant when the ribbons are untied. This is a very effective dish and easily prepared.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know you own a Nook.. I love mine but only downloaded one cookbook into it.. sorry about your power going off.. that's a pain in the butt.. take care

Shay said...

I have almost 600 books loaded. I figure I can never die, I have too many books to read.