Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1106

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The gelatine of commerce is prepared from the bones, etc., of animals and certain other substances. It is obtainable in sheets, strips, and powder, and the best qualities are almost entirely free from any unpleasant taste. Of the three forms in which it is sold, the sheet or leaf gelatine is to be preferred, as it dissolves more readily, but the packet gelatine may be substituted for leaf gelatine in all the following recipes. However, when doing so, rather less than the stated quantity must be used, and two or three hours' soaking should be allowed. It is always best to soak the gelatine first, and then stir it in a small saucepan by the side of the fire in a very small quantity of water until dissolved. Gelatine varies considerably in strength, therefore it is impossible to state EXACTLY how much will stiffen a given amount of liquid under varying conditions. A little more is required in summer than in winter, and when the cream or jelly is to be put into one large mould instead of several small moulds; but at all times it should be sparingly used, for an over-stiffened cream or jelly is almost uneatable.

Jellies.—Jellies may be described as solutions of gelatine in water, with wine, fruit, and other additions, and their clear, brilliant transparency one of their chief recommendations. However, jellies of this class do not comprise the whole list, for in addition there are the opaque nourishing milk and egg jellies, and also those made of apples and other fruit. Calf's foot jelly, which is stiffened by the gelatine extracted from the feet by boiling, has the advantage of being perfectly pure, but it is not more nourishing than the jelly made from bought gelatine. When nourishing jelly is required, it is better made from good veal stock. For ordinary garnishing and masking purposes, jelly made from leaf gelatine is more frequently employed than that made from meat. A plain lemon jelly answers admirably for coating the moulds for creams; and variously coloured and flavoured, it forms the basis of many other jellies. By adding a little gold and silver leaf or a few drops of yellow, red, or green vegetable colouring matter, considerable variety may be introduced at small cost. Pleasing effects may be produced by filling the projecting divisions of a mould with gold, silver, or coloured jelly, and the body of the mould with jelly that differs either in colour or character. Of course the colours must be blended artistically; bright-coloured creams, like strawberry, should be very simply decorated; and the creamy-white of the almond or the delicate green of the pistachio nut, imbedded in the amber-hued jelly with which the mould is lined, contrast favourably with chocolate, as also does finely flaked gold leaf.

To Clear Jelly.—The agent employed for this purpose is albumen, of which substance the white of egg is largely composed. The shells and lightly-beaten whites of eggs are added to the water, wine, etc., when cold, the whole being continuously whisked while coming to the boil. At a temperature of 160° F., the albumen coagulates, and as the