I’ve cooked a Victorian lemon sponge for the Historical Food Fortnightly challenge 7: Pretty As A Picture. I’ve found the recipe in Mrs Beeton’s Household Management book, first published in 1861.
- 2 oz isinglass (I’ve used 14 gelatine sheets enough for 1160ml liquid)
- 1 3/4 pint of water (1l)
- 3/4 lb pounded sugar (340g)
- juice of 5 lemons (ca. 260ml)
- rind of 1 lemon
- 3 egg whites
The original recipe says to boil isinglass, lemon rind, sugar and water together for 10 to 15 minutes; but as I’ve used gelatin, I’ve soaked the gelatine leaves for 5 minutes in cold water and added it to the strained, warm lemon rind-sugar-water-syrup.
When the syrup is cold, add the fresh lemon juice, beat the egg whites and add them as well. I found it necessary to whisk the lemon sponge mixture from time to time for some hours because the egg whites and syrup separated each time after whisking – maybe I’ve added the egg whites too early.
As soon as the mixture doesn’t separate any longer, pour the lemon sponge into a previously wetted mold and refrigerate it overnight.
I’ve used my metal pudding mold – the only pretty mold which was large enough. To unmold the lemon sponge on the next day, I dipped the mold for some seconds in hot water. I feared the lemon sponge wouldn’t come out easy and nicely shaped, but it worked! 😀
I’ve used our own fruits which we’ve frozen last year to garnish the lemon sponge.
The lemon sponge has a wonderful taste of lemon: It tastes just like lemon ice cream, as it shares the same ingredients except for the gelatine. But it’s not as cold as ice cream, so I think it’s perfect for a colder day. It takes some time to make this pretty dessert, but it’s not difficult to make.
We had this lovely dessert on a sunday, and it really makes a perfect sunday dessert! 🙂