Almond jelly from the Oeconomia

Another one of the detailed descriptions I enjoy finding so much. Just about every recipe book has a description of almond cheese, but Johannes Coler is one of the few to go into detail.

To make good almond cheese

(marginalia: to make almond cheese)

Take a pound of almonds, scald them and throw them into water. Wash them clean once or four times so that they are all clean. Lay them on a sieve so that they dry. Pour them into a grinding bowl (Reibtopff) and grind them very fine. Then take isinglass as large as a good goose egg, tear it into small pieces and lay it in cold water. Wash it clean once or three times and take a pot that holds one and a half quarts (anderthalb quart– probably around 1.5 litres). Leave the isinglass (to steep) in that pot and set it by the fire with clean water. Let it boil down by a third, and when it has boiled down, take it off the fire and let it cool. Then take the third part of the ground almonds make an almond soup with clear water from the smaller part, and add sugar. Set it by the fire and let it boil up a little, but not very long so that it does not turn black. Make it quite sweet, then take it off the fire and pour a quarter and a half (anderthalb Quartierlein – probably around 250ml) of rosewater into it. Stir it well together and set it in a place where it can cool. Take the other two parts of the almonds on a cloth and pour the isinglass on them, and pass it through that cloth forcefully (mit Gewalt) until nothing remains in it. When you have passed this through, take the same and put it back into the previously mentioned pot. Set it by the fire and let it boil up a little. Add white sugar, make it quite sweet and try it for proper measure. Then take it off the fire and let it cool nicely. Then have the mould washed out cleanly in cold water so it becomes very clean, and grease it lightly with olive oil if you have it, but be sure the mould does not become too greasy. Pour in the almonds with the isinglass, all cool and well mixed (kühl überschlagen) or they will turn black, and set it in a cellar so that it gels. And when you wish to serve it, take it out of the mould, set it in a serving bowl and turn the side facing the mould (das Gebrech) upwards. Pour the cold almond milk around it. If you wish, you may have gold laid on it or you may strew coloured coriander or sugar around it. And it something has remained in the pot that did not fit into the mould, make this yellow with saffron and moisten a bowl with water. Pour it in and let it gel. When it has gelled, cut it into pieces the size of confits (wie ein Confectstücke) and arrange them on the edge of the bowl.

Johann Coler’s Oeconomia ruralis et domestica was a popular book on the topic of managing a wealthy household. It is based largely on previous writings by Coler and first appeared between 1596 and 1601. Repeatedly reprinted for decades, it became one of the most influential early works of Hausväterliteratur. I am working from a 1645 edition.

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