It goes without saying that our repertoire of sweet dishes would be sadly depleted if we did not use eggs. Sure, eggless cakes (and here) are possible – but in the absence of war-time shortages, veganism, and egg-allergy, are hardly most folks’ first choice, are they? Without eggs there would certainly be no soufflés or crêpes, and chocolate mousse would be a travesty. As for a life without custard! Unimaginable!
Eggs may be essential in many of the best desserts, but they are however, an invisible ingredient – their essentially eggy shape and style lost in the mix. The challenge was up, and I set out in search of really sweet, really obviously eggy dishes. The wonderful Lady’s Companion: or, An infallible guide to the fair sex (1743) came good with these two wonderful ideas:
To dress Eggs the Italian Way.
Make a Syrup with Sugar and a little Water, and when it is something better than half make, put the Yolks of Eggs in a Silver Spoon, one by one, and hold them in the Syrup to poach. Serve them up to the Table, covered and garnished with Pistachoes, Orange-flowers, and Slices of Lemon-peel, boil’d in the same Syrup, and sprinkle a little Lemon-juice upon them.
And with the leftover whites? From the same book:
A pretty Dish of Whites of Eggs.
Take the Whites of twelve Eggs, beat them up with four Spoonfuls of Rose-water, a little grated Lemon-peel, a little Nutmeg, sweeten with Sugar, mix them well, boil them in four Bladders, tie them in the Shape of an Egg, and boil them hard; they will take Half an Hour. Lay them in your Dish when cold; mix Half a Pint of thick Cream, a Gill of Sack, and Half the Juice of a Seville Orange. Mix all together, and sweeten with fine Sugar, and pour over the Eggs. Serve it up for a Side-dish at Supper, or when you please.
Quotation for the Day.
The vulgar boil, the learned roast, an egg.