In the 1840s "Citron Cake" appeared in an Eliza Leslie cookbook, followed in other cookbooks. Hannah Glasse had a Citron Cream recipe, and Dolby had an array of recipes in his Cook's Dictionary, 1830, which were copied in popular American N.K.M. Lee's Cook's Own Book of 1832.
The candied citron was to be cut "into thin slices" "shred fine" "thinly-shred" or "cut it in little bits, the breadth of point-dales, and about half as long" then tossed in flour so they would not sink to the bottom of the cake batter. Glasse compared the size of the cut to point-dales - but what were they?? The cake is very light and flavorful.
Cut a pound of candied citron into slips. Spread it on a large dish. Sprinkle it thickly with sifted flour till it is entirely white with it, tumbling the citron about with your hands till every piece is well covered with flour. Then sift into a pan fourteen ounces (two ounces less than a pound) of flour. Beat together in a deep pan, till perfectly light, a pound of fresh butter cut up in a pound of powdered loaf-sugar. Then add, by degrees, a glass of wine, a glass of brandy, and a table-spoonful of powdered mace and cinnamon mixed, and a powdered nutmeg. Have ready twelve eggs beaten in a shallow pan till very smooth and thick. Stir the beaten egg into the beaten butter and sugar, alternately with the flour and citron, a little at a time of each. Then, at the last, stir the whole very hard. Butter a large tin pan (one with a tube in the centre will be best), put in the mixture, set it directly in a moderate oven, and bake it at least four hours. It will be the better for remaining in till the oven grows cold.
When the cake is cool, ice and ornament it.
Common pound cakes are now very much out of use. They are considered old-fashioned.
Leslie, Eliza. Directions for Cookery. Phila: 1844
One cupful of butter, one of sweet milk, two of sugar, three of flour, four eggs, three teaspoonfuls of baking powder, half a pound of citron cut in very thin slices, and rubbed in flour.
Sabin, Dr. Ransom. The Home Treasure. Battle Creek, Mich: 1890
Hannah Glasse. The Art of Cookery. London: 1765-
Boil a quart of cream with three pennyworth of good clear isinglass, which must be tied up in a piece of thin tiffany ; put in ą blade or two of mace strongly boiled in your cream and isinglass, till the cream be pretty thick; sweeten it to your taste, with perfumed hard sugar; when it is taken of the fire, put in a little rose-water to your taste; then take a piece of green freshest citron, and cut it in little bits, the breadth of point-dales, and about half as long; and the cream being first put into dishes, when it is half cold, put in your citron, so as it may but sink from the top, that it may not be seen, and may lie before it be at the bottom ; if you wash your citron before in rose-water, it will make the colour better and fresher; so let it stand till the next day, where it may get no water, and where it may not be shaken.
Richard Dolby's The Cook's Dictionary. London: 1830 -
CITRON (Candied).—Pare the citrons very thin and narrow, and throw them into water; these are called faggots; then cut the citron into slices of any thickness you think proper; take out the inner part with great care, so as to leave only the white ring, and put them with the faggots into boiling water; when tender, drain them. Boil a sufficient quantity of clarified sugar to souffle then put in the rings, and boil them together. Take it from the fire, and when a little cool, rub the sugar against the side of the preserving-pan with the back of a spoon ; as soon as it becomes white, take out the rings with a fork very carefully, one by one, and lay them on a wire grate to drain: boil and proceed with the faggots in a similar way; when taken out, cut them into proper lengths with a pair of scissors [sic], and lay them also on the wire to drain.
Citron Cheesecakes.—Boil a pint of cream, and when cold, mix with it two eggs well beaten; then boil them together until they become a curd. Beat a few blanched almonds in a mortar, with a little orange flower water; put them to the curd, and add some Naples biscuits and green citron, chopped very small. Sweeten, and bake in tins.
Citron Cream.—Boil a pint of cream with half an ounce of isinglass, a little cinnamon and lemon peel, and a bay leaf; when the isinglass is dissolved, strain the cream into a deep dish; cut citron into thin slices, and put them in when the cream is nearly cold; take care the citron does not fall to the bottom, though the cream should cover it. Serve it quite cold.
Citron Pudding. — Mix together a pint of cream and the yolks of six eggs; add to this four ounces of fine sugar, the same of citron, shred fine, two spoonsful of flour, and a little nutmeg; place this mixture in a deep dish, bake it in a hot oven, and turn it out.
Citron Ratafia.— Pare seven or eight citrons very thin; cut the peel into small pieces, and put them into a jar, with three pints of brandy, and let them infuse for three weeks; then add to this a pound of sugar, boiled in half a pint of water, and well skimmed; let it stand twelve or fifteen days longer, when it may be bottled.
©2016 Patricia Bixler Reber
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