Victorian Jelly: Desserts

Victorian Jelly: Desserts

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Jellied Desserts

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Nineteenth century people adored jellied dishes to be sure. Although Victorians jellied savory dishes too (e.g., head cheese), I’ll focus on desserts.

English-speaking Victorians, including the United States, undoubtedly inherited jellied foods from previous eras. Not only did their jellied recipes continue to garner limelight in cook books and newspapers, but inventions of commercial products heightened popularity.

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Mayoral Dinner Party: Parade of Jellies

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The following newspaper article illustrates the then popular jellied dishes. Specifically, the second course menu lists fruit and wine jellies.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jellies: Desserts. Jellies Featured at a Mayoral banuqet in England, 1854.

Numerous Jellies featured at Mayoral banquet. Reported in The Hall Packet and East Riding Times of Hall, East Yorkshire, England. May 26, 1854.

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Calves’ Feet Jelly

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Sounds naturally scrumptious, doesn’t it?

By 1828 (almost a decade prior to Victoria’s reign), in fact, calves’ feet jelly was a British staple.

Note the following recipe from 1828. The jelly, sweetened with loaf-sugar, gathers flavor from lemons, wine, and cinnamon. Egg whites play a role in nearly every recipe, yet no explanation is given. Contemporary sources suggest the egg whites helped to clarify the gel.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Desserts. Calves Feet Jelly Recipe (1 of 2) from Seventy Five Receipts for Pastry Cakes and Sweetmeats, published 1828.

1) Calves Feet Jelly Recipe from Seventy Five Receipts for Pastry Cakes and Sweetmeats, published 1828.

Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Desserts. Calves Feet Jelly Recipe (2 of 2) from Seventy Five Receipts for Pastry Cakes and Sweetmeats, published 1828.

2) Calves Feet Jelly Recipe (2 of 2) from Seventy Five Receipts for Pastry Cakes and Sweetmeats, published 1828.

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Traditional Calves’ Feet Jelly remained a constant feature in nineteenth century cook books even as commercially packaged gelatin became available. Calves feet remained in use in addition to other Victorian century ingredients. Isinglass, for example. And Irish Moss, corn starch, and ivory dust.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Desserts. Calves Feet Coffee Jelly, Tea Jelly Recipes from The Complete Confectioner and Pastry Cook, 1844.

Coffee Jelly and Tea Jelly (Calves Feet) Recipes from The Complete Confectioner and Pastry Cook, 1844.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Desserts. Calf's Foot Jelly from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book, 1846.

Calf’s Foot Jelly from Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book, 1846.

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As late as 1903, Calf’s Foot Jelly was in fact listed in newly published cook books.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Desserts. Calves Feet Jelly Recipe from Kentucky Receipt Book, published 1903.

A Calves Feet Jelly Recipe from Kentucky Receipt Book, published 1903.

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Vintage Hints on Calves’ Foot Jelly

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Desserts. Hints on Calves Foot Jelly from Miss Leslie's Lady's New Receipt Book, 1851.

Hints on Calves Foot Jelly from Miss Leslie’s Lady’s New Receipt Book, 1851.

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Rendering Gelatin the Victorian Way

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On account of economy, housekeepers continued to render gelatin from calves’ feet at the turn of the century.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Rendering Gelatin. Instructions from Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, published 1896.

Instructions for rendering gelatin. From The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, published 1896.

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Calves’ Feet Alternate: Potato Starch

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This Poughkeepsie, New York recipe (1852) for Potato Jelly calls for potato starch to thicken a sweet wine jelly.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jellies: Desserts. Potato Jelly Recipe, Poughkeepsie Journal of Poughkeepsie, New York on January 3, 1852.

Potato Jelly Recipe, Poughkeepsie Journal of Poughkeepsie, New York on January 3, 1852.

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Calves’ Feet Alternate: Fruit Pectin

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In contrast, this mid-nineteenth century jelly recipe didn’t call for calves’ feet. Or starch. To clarify, this apple jelly dessert recipe relies on natural fruit pectin.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Desserts. Apple Jelly from Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book, 1846.

Apple Jelly from Miss Beecher’s Domestic Receipt Book, 1846.

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Victorian Jelly: Blog Post Series

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On account of an abundance of information, I’ve prepared a blog article series. More to come soon.

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Kristin Holt | Victorian Jelly: Blog Post Series

Victorian Jelly: Blog Post Series thus

 

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Victorian Jelly: Desserts e.g.