Yesterday we considered (and critiqued) the instructions on “how to make good coffee” and also “vanilla coffee” which appeared in the Decatur Review of August 21, 1898. Assuming you have now learned the technique, it is time to look at ways of using the delicious beverage as an ingredient, as suggested in the same article.
A NOTE: I do not recommend that you dip your finger into the hot caramel under any circumstances, as suggested in the following recipe! Place a bit of it onto a chilled plate, perhaps, and chill it briefly, then test it.
To a pint of ordinary coffee, made with water, add one pound of loaf sugar. Set it on the fire and let it boil to a high degree; then very carefully add one pint of thick double cream. Set it on the fire to boil again, stirring it constantly until it comes to a caramel consistency. Take a basin of cold water in one hand, dip your finger into the water then into the caramel, and if the sugar breaks clear between the teeth it is done and ready to be poured onto a buttered plate, which should be standing ready. Then rub a rolling pin with butter and roll the caramel out, cutting it while it is warm into small dice or squares.
The next recipe is not what the title suggests to modern ears. It may not be acceptable to some of you who fear raw eggs.
Make a very strong infusion with one-quarter pound ground coffee and pass it through a fine muslin bag. Then dissolve three-quarters of a pound of sugar in one pint of double cream, add to it the yolks of six eggs, then put in the coffee and whisk it until it has the consistency of lemon sponge and may be piled up on a dish. A little isinglass may be mixed with the cream if it will not whisk stiff enough.
Mix one tablespoonful of ground coffee with one quarter pound sugar and one quarter pound flour, sift them well together and then mix them with as much good cream as will make a thick batter. Then rub over the wafer iron with a little butter tied up in a muslin bag. Put in a spoonful of the butter and bake over a smart fire, turning the iron once or twice until the wafer is done on both sides to a fine brown color.
Have ready two cupfuls of good strong coffee, sweeten to taste, then mix in a little flour and about half a cup of cream, together with the yolks of three well beaten eggs. Boil this for 30 minutes and keep stirring continually; then pour into patty pans lined with good puff paste and bake in a quick oven. When done, beat up the whites of the eggs and put the froth on the top of each tartlet.
These all look like interesting and doable recipes, although I share your reluctance to test the syrup in the manner suggested!
I've watched Ivan Day, noted food historian, test sugar temperatures by dipping his finger in the cold water and then the hot syrup. I tried it...once!
Hello Steve and Elise.
I have seen this method recommended in a number of old books - but I am not brave enough to try it. And sometimes I feel the need to warn readers not to try things, because otherwise I get criticised for suggesting "dangerous" things - as if it they were my ideas, not historical recipes!
Elise - did you get burned?
Not really. I used ice water and kept my thumb and forefinger in for a bit, then took a spoonful of syrup and immediately dipped my finger into that. Using a smaller amount of hot syrup seems to keep burns away - or I was lucky. Ivan said he was used to it, having done so many times.
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