I made Victorian lemon sponge for the Historical Food Fortnightly challenge 7: Pretty As A Picture. The recipe is from Mrs Beeton’s Household Management book, first published in 1861.
- 2 oz isinglass (I 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, because I used gelatin, I cooked sugar, water and lemon rind for about 10 minutes and soaked the gelatine leaves for 5 minutes in cold water. Then I added the gelatine sheets to the strained, warm lemon syrup.
When the syrup is cold, add 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 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 used a metal pudding mold. 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, but it worked! 😀
I used frozen fruits from last year’s harvest to garnish the lemon sponge.
The lemon sponge has a wonderful taste of lemon: It tastes just like lemon ice cream, because it’s made with the same ingredients except for the gelatine. But it’s not as cold as ice cream, so it’s perfect for a colder summer 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’s really a perfect Sunday dessert! 🙂