Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Rice Custard

This was listed as a desert in Peterson's Magazine, January 1863

Rice Custard - Sweeten a pint of milk with loaf sugar, boil it with a stick of cinnamon, stir in sifted ground rice till quite thick. Take it off the fire; add the whites of 3 eggs well beaten; stir it again over the fire for 2 or 3 minutes, then put it into cups that have lain in cold water; do not wipe them. When cold, turn them out, and put them into the dish in which they are to be served; pour round them a custard made of the yolks of the eggs and a little more than a half-pint of milk. Put on the top a little red currant jelly or raspberry jam. A pretty supper dish.

Research/questions for this project:

1) What is "loaf-sugar"?
According to Lessons on Common Thing, published in 1857, the qualities of loaf-sugar are: "it is soluble, or dissolvable in water. fusible, or may be melted by heat. brittle. hard. sweet. white. solid. opaque." and is used "To sweeten our food".
Here is a wonderful resource on sugar Essay On Sugar and Treatise on Sugar Refining, 1864

2) Was there white rice or rice flour?
Searching on Google Books from 1860-1865 there are many references to white rice as well as red rice and rice flour.

3) Needed recipe for Raspberry Jam - From The Royal English and Foreign Confectioner, 1862
Raspberry Jam without seeds
Ingredients: 12lbs of raspberries, 12lbs of sugar, 2 lbs of red currants.
Time: twenty minutes
Bruise the currants in the preserving pan, with a pint of water, then add the picked raspberries; stir the whole on the fire for a few minutes, and then rub the pulp through a cane sieve into a large pan. Boil the sugar with just water enough to dissolve it, to the pear, add the pulp, boil sharply for twenty minutes, stirring the jam the whole time, and as soon as it drapes on the edge of the spoon, pour it into the pots.

Raspberry Jam with seeds.
Ingredients: 12lbs raspberries, 12lbs of sugar.
Time: twenty minutes
Boil the sugar to the ball degree, add the fruit, stir over a brisk fire for twenty minutes, when the jam will be ready to pour into the pots; finish in the usual manner.

4) Need recipe for "a custard made of the yolks of the (3) eggs and a little more than a half-pint of milk" -  Mrs. Beeton's Dictionary of Every-Day Cooking 1865
Custard Sauce, for Sweet Puddings or Tarts
Ingredients - 1/2 pint of milk, 2 eggs, 3 oz. of pounded sugar, I tablespoonful of brandy.
Mode - Put the milk in a very clean saucepan, and let it boil. Beat the eggs, stir to them the milk and pounded sugar, and put the mixture into a jug. Place the jug in a saucepan of boiling water; keep stirring well until it thickens, but do not allow it to boil, or it will curdle. Serve the sauce in a tureen, stir in the brandy, and grate a little nutmeg over the top. This sauce may be made very much nicer by using cream instead of milk; but the above recipe will be found quite good enough for ordinary purposes.

Conclusion: The custard is quite good and creamy. Most people will probably want to add more sugar but it was sweet enough for my household. It was relatively quick to make, with the exception of beating the eggs by hand. According to the last statement in the recipe, "A pretty supper dish", this would be served at the evening meal.

Modern translation: Chill custard cups in the refrigerator. Beat the whites of 3 eggs until stiff peaks form. In a double boiler, heat 2 cups of milk with 1/4 cup sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add a cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Remove the cinnamon and stir in sifted rice flour until it becomes thick. Take this off your heat and fold in the egg whites. Return to the stove and heat, stirring for 2 or 3 minutes. Spoon the custard into the chilled cups and set aside to cool. When completely cool, turn out onto serving dishes and top with currant jelly or raspberry jam.