Thursday, 4 December 2008

French flummery for beginnners

This is my attempt at making French flummery, which, contrary to Mrs Glasse's suggestion (see below), I've garnished with pistachio nuts. I'd been making jellies and had somehow got side-tracked by Ivan Day's absolutely gorgeous website Historic Food. He says that flummery was originally a kind of jelly, made by steeping oatmeal overnight in water, and then boiling the strained liquor with sugar. I also heard him talking on a food podcast about flummery's connections with its Italian cousin, blancmange, and anyway, I was hooked.

I ended up making the one below from a recipe in Anne Chotzinoff Grossman and Lisa Grossman Thomas's Lobscouse & Spotted Dog, a book that charts the authors' attempts to research and replicate the dishes in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels! Check out their fantastic website for a table of contents and some photos of their results. However, I cheated where the recipe listed calf's foot jelly and used gelatine instead. The result was delicately flavoured and unbelievably rich - I can see why the recipe serves eight!

Another recipe for French flummery. From: Hannah Glasse, The Art of Cookery Made Plain And Easy (1747).

Take a quart of cream, and half an ounce of isinglass, beat it fine, and stir it into the cream. Let it boil softly over a slow fire a quarter of an hour, keep it stirring all the time; then take it off, sweeten it to your palate and put in a spoonful of rose water, and a spoonful of orange-flower water; strain it, and pour it into a glass or bason, or what you please, and when it is cold turn it out. It makes a fine side-dish. You may eat it with cream, wine, or what you please. Lay round it baked pears. It both looks very pretty and eats very fine.