In June, our Cooking Up History team cooked up a wonderful spread of lemon creams and Savoy biscuits, all washed down with lashings of cold spring fruit sherbet. You can read all about how they got on in our special report.
Here are the recipes we followed, adapted from the originals in The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies. Why not give them a go?
We based our version on the following method in The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies:
To four large lemmons squeesd put 3 qrs of a pd of the finest loaf sugar, 8 or 9 spoonfuls of water & a piece of the peel. Set it over the fire untill the sugar tis melted. Put in the whites of 4 eggs & strain it through a diaper napkin, doubled. Sett it on ye fire a gain & stir it all ye while. When it grows thick, take it off. Put in two spoonfuls of orange flower water. Lay some shreds of boiled lemmon peel at the bottom of the glasses.
- 4 large lemons
- 340g caster sugar
- 9 tbsp water
- 3 egg whites
- 1 tablespoon orange flower water
- Take one long strip of lemon rind from one of the lemons and put to one side.
- Strip the zest from the remaining lemons and reserve for the garnish.
- Squeeze the juice from all of the lemons and put in a saucepan
- Add the sugar, water and zest to the lemon juice and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Take the saucepan off the heat and add the lightly beaten whites of 3 eggs to the mixture.
- Strain the mixture twice through a double-thickness muslin cloth, and return to the saucepan.
- Put the saucepan back on the heat, stirring continuously until the mixture is thick.
- Take it off the heat and leave to cool.
- While the cream is cooling, boil the lemon peel for the garnish.
- Once the cream has cooled, add the orange flower water.
- Garnish the bottom of each of your serving dishes with boiled lemon peel. The lemon cream can now be poured on top and served.
“Spring fruit sherbet”
Here’s Dr Kitchiner‘s version:
Boil six or eight stalks of rhubarb (quite clean) ten minutes in a quart of water. Strain the liquor through a tammis into a jug with the peel of a lemon cut very thin and two tablespoonsful of clarified sugar. Let it stand five or six hours and it is fit to drink.
And here’s ours!
- 6 stalks of rhubarb
- Zest of 1 lemon, cut thinly
- 2-3 tbsp sugar syrup
- Wash the rhubarb well and chop into large chunks.
- Put the chopped rhubarb in a saucepan with 1 litre of water and bring to the boil.
- After 10 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the liquid from the pan into a jug. Discard the rhubarb pulp.
- Add the thin-cut lemon peel and sugar syrup to the jug. Stir well.
- Leave to cool for at least 5-6 hours before serving.
We published the original Savoy biscuits recipe from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies in our Biscuit Basics article some months ago, but here’s a modern version for you to try…
- 4 eggs, whites and yolks separated
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp orange flower water
- 225g plain flour
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC.
- Beat the egg whites in a large bowl and add the sugar.
- Whisk the sugar and eggs until they turn a glossy white and form soft peaks.
- Add the orange flower water to the mixture.
- Sieve the flour and fold into the mixture, being careful not to beat out the air.
- Spoon the mixture onto a greased baking tray, sprinkled with flour.
- Bake in the oven until lightly browned.
- Serve with tea!