Suddenly tonight it became warm and humid so I decided to try something from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book that also had a hint of summer time. I made Miss S. Albert’s Orange Float from the pudding section of the cook book.
Oranges and lemons were available year round in 1906 and 1912 in Berlin but eggs become much cheaper and more plentiful in the spring. This recipe contains all these ingredients and just two more items.
I measured four cups of water into a saucepan and cut two lemons in half. I squeezed the juice and scraped the pulp and added it to the water. I put one cup of sugar in too. I let it boil and then added the cornstarch mixed with enough water to make it a liquid. Now came the tricky part. I separated the eggs and added the egg yolks slowly to the lemony liquid. I kept stirring but they didn’t mix in smoothly. I ended up with bits of cooked egg. I decided to keep going as perhaps that’s how it was intended. I sliced some oranges and put them in a glass bowl and then poured the hot thick mixture over them. While it cooled I whipped the egg whites and then put them on top. This is the part some people will not want as it is raw egg but I wanted to see the result. Many many reciipes during this era include egg white without any cooking.
Miss S. Albert is likely Susanna Albert. She is 20 years old in the 1901 census and living with an older sister and their parents. She is still there in 1911 and so are the parents and a boarder. They live at 24 Mitchell street although the hand writing of the census taker is difficult to read. They are German Brethern and it looks like Mr. Albert is a labourer in a laundry and that Susanna is a sewer in a shirt factory.
I had high hopes for this dessert but lowered my expectations when I saw the bits of cooked egg yolk. The biggest surprise is that the oranges really do float!! They start at the bottom and then as the mixture cools they float to the top. This would be very refreshing on a hot summer day. I think I’ll try Miss Albert’s Orange Float again — once I solve the egg yolk problem. I did not find the strings of cooked egg yolk appealing. They are okay in egg drop soup but not in orange float. The other mystery is how a young woman would eat this in polite society as one must deal with the orange rinds — unless they are eaten?
Take 1 quart water, the juice and pulp of 2 lemons, and 1 cup sugar; when boiling add to it four tablespoons of cornstarch mixed smoothly in cold wate, and the yolks of 3 eggs, boil till it stiffens; pour over 4 or 5 sliced oranges, beat the whites of 3 eggs to a froth and sweeten to taste, flavor with vanilla and spread on top. Served with plain or whipped cream.