As the holiday season draws to a close and we reflect on the fun, drama, and expense, we are all no doubt considering how and what we will do differently next year. To that end, I am sure there are some Things a Lady Would Like to Know Concerning Domestic Management and Expenditure which will make day to day planning easier (for male readers too) in 2014. This charming book, written by Henry Southgate in 1875 gives a menu and recipes for every day of the year, and dessert for every month. Here are the suggestions for a Dessert table in January (for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere anyway.)
DESSERT FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY.
In the middle of the table, a stand containing vases of flowers, candelabra, or baskets of fresh fruits, tastefully arranged with foliage. If for a dessert d'élite groups of figures or other statuary may be introduced.
1. Madeira Cake.
2. Compote d’ Oranges,
3. Compote de Poires, Two Baskets of Fresh Fruits, Apples, Oranges.
4. Biscuits d'Amandes.
5. Petits Souffles a l'Italienne. Nuts, Dates, French Prunes, Guava Jelly, Lumps of Delight, etc.
I. MADEIRA CAKE.
Take 4 large or 6 small fresh eggs ; beat them constantly for twenty minutes; then, by degrees, add to them 6 oz. of fine loaf sugar pounded and sifted, 6 oz. of the best wheaten flour previously well dried, and put into a dredger, so as to dredge it in gently, 4 oz. of dissolved but cold fresh butter, and a little grated lemon-peel. When these ingredients are thoroughly mingled, briskly stir in a salt-spoonful of carbonate of soda; put the cake quickly into a mould, and bake it for a good hour in a moderately heated oven.
2. COMPOTE D'ORANGES.
Take 4 or 5 sweet oranges, pull off every particle of peel and white pellicle; cut them into quarters, take out their pips, and throw the fruit into a strong syrup prepared with ½ pint of water, 10 oz. of loaf sugar, a glass of cognac, and the strained juice of 2 oranges. After the fruit has come to a boil, retire the saucepan from the fire, lay the oranges in your dish, reduce the syrup by boiling it down and skimming it, and when cool enough pour it over the fruit. A large double handful of sugar is sometimes put in the centre of the dish just before serving; and some neat slips ot the outer rind of the oranges may be advantageously added to the syrup.
3. COMPOTE DE POIRES A LA CARDINALE.
Throw your pears into cold water without paring them; place them upon a very gentle fire, and simmer them slowly for seven minutes. Take them up; peel, core, and cut them into halves or quarters as preferred; put them into a preserving-pan with their weight of fine loaf sugar, and a tea-cupful each of red wine and water. Do them very slowly over a slack fire, and when of a good colour place them in the compotier, skim the syrup, and pour it over them. Should the pears
be very ripe, they may be peeled, cored, cut up, and at once done in the syrup.
4. BISCUITS D'ALMANDES.
Carefully blance ½ lb. each of sweet and bitter almonds; pound them in a mortar until they form a smooth paste, but add the whiles of 2 eggs to prevent the almonds from turning oily. Beat together the yolks of 8 eggs and 1 ¼ lbs. of fine loaf sugar in powder. Well whisk the whites of the eggs; put them with the almonds; add the yolks, and gradually thicken it with 4 oz. of flour rubbed together with another pound of loaf sugar finely powdered and sifted. Lay the paste thus
prepared in small paper cases, strew sugar over the tops, and bake them in a slow oven. When cold, divest them of their cases.
5. PETITS SOUFFLES A l’ITALIENNE.
Beat well together 12 oz. of powdered loaf sugar, the whites of 3 eggs, and the rasped rind of a sweet orange. When this is a smooth paste, lay portions of it, as thinly as you can, in rounds upon greased paper. Place some very fine slips of candied citron-peel in the middle of each, wet the edges, cover the souffles with a similar shaped piece of the paste, press them together, put them into a slow oven, and when done, and suffered to grow cold, take them from the papers, glaze them with an icing, and place them in a warm spot to set.
The most elegant method of serving chestnuts is to dress them as follows: Let them be well roasted, and the husks taken off; dissolve ¼ lb. of sugar in a wine-glassful of water, and the juice of a lemon; put this and the chestnuts into a saucepan over a slow fire for ten minutes; serve in a deep dish, and grate sugar over the top.