Friday, January 20, 2012

Not the 1998 way

In the midst of yesterday's howling Nor'Wester, I barricaded myself inside and headed into the kitchen to whip up a refreshing summer dessert: orange and lemon pudding (p204).

I began by mixing the gelatine with a little water, and leaving it to swell while I separated some eggs and beat the yolks with lemon and orange juice, and a little sugar. By the time I'd done this, the gelatine had swelled, and I dissolved the rest of the gelatine in boiling water, and added this to the yolk and juice mixture.

Next, I beat egg whites until stiff, and attempted to fold the whites into the yolk mixture. I ran across two problems here: firstly, with my usual lack of forethought, I'd used my smallest bowl for the yolks, not realising that the entire mixture would end up in there as well - it was full enough to make folding difficult.

My second problem had to do with the consistency of the mixtures. With the addition of a full cup of water (albeit gelatine-enriched) to a mixture that was already predominantly juice, the yolk mixture was extremely runny - like water in fact. How you're supposed to fold a water-thin liquid through egg whites is a bit of a mystery.

I had a go anyway, succeeding in turning the egg-whites a sort of yellowy colour, but not in actually combining the two mixtures. Glancing over the recipe again, I noted that the 'fold-in' instruction was followed by a seemingly contradictory direction to 'mix well'. Hmm. Well, folding hadn't done any good. I got out a wooden spoon and beat as hard as I could, but to no avail. Finally, I got my electric beater out again, and applied it to the stubbornly split mixture.

With this, I was able to briefly combine the two mixtures, but as soon as I poured it into a bowl, the liquid sank to the bottom again, leaving a furry-looking layer of egg-white on the top. Sighing, I placed the bowl in the fridge to set, figuring maybe it was supposed to be in two layers like that.

A couple of hours later, I spooned some out and had a taste (you're actually supposed to set it in a mould, but I don't have one, and anyway the soft fluffy stuff would get squished when I turned it out). The bottom layer was like very thick, very strongly citrus-flavoured jelly. The fluffy bit tasted like nothing at all. It wasn't exactly unpleasant, but then again, it wasn't terribly pleasant either.

I'm sure that something went wrong with this pudding, but I've read the recipe several times, and I know I followed it correctly. Perhaps there's an instruction missing somewhere - often this sort of pudding requires that you partially set the gelatine mixture before beating it up and folding it into the egg whites, but this one did not have this step.

I've just checked an older version of this recipe (1976 edition, purchased at Riccarton Market last Sunday) which doesn't have the above step either, but seems to have considerably less liquid. So if you want to try making an orange and lemon pudding, maybe try it the 1976 way!

1 comment:

  1. I a have vague recollection of making a similar dessert once with much the same result and not particularly appealing to eat.c


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