Orange-Flower Cream

This cream is the true “Banketting Stuffe” to which Gervase Markham refers and for which England was famous in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The recipe given here dates from about 1700 and derives from the dish referred to as “Leche of Cream” or sometimes “White Leche” in the Middle Ages. Leche meant slice, for the curd was cut into slices.

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons
  • cup (90 g) castor sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 quart (9 dl) double cream
  • 2 tablespoons orange-flower water (if unobtainable, use 1 tablespoon curaçao)
  • Crystallized orange slices, for decoration

Method

Grate all the zest from both lemons and put in a saucepan with 2 quarts (1.8 litres) of water. Add the sugar when the water becomes hot. When the sugar has dissolved, boil for 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 1 minute.

Beat the eggs into cups (6 dl) of the cream, then stir slowly into the hot syrup, always in one direction. Allow the mixture to stand undisturbed in a cool place for 2 hours. Use a perforated slice to lift the curd into a colander and leave it to drain and set. Discard the liquid whey. When the curd has set turn it out on to a china dish. Whip the remaining cream with the orange-flower water and put it all around the curd. Decorate with crystallized orange slices and serve very cold.

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