Today was not as hot as the past three or four days but making a chilled dessert was an appealing prospect. Over the past few months I’ve tried two of the lemon snow recipes from the 1906 Berlin Cook Book but this recipe is Orange Snow. It was contributed by Miss Mary Schwartz.
I put 2 cups (1 pint) of water in a sauce pan and started heating it as I prepared the other ingredients. I stirred in the cornstarch while the water was still cool. I added the sugar next. I squeezed the oranges and added the juice. I turned up the heat and kept stirring until the mixture thickened. I discovered just how important it is to keep stirring when I walked away to squeeze the last orange and ended up with a few lumps of cornstarch in my nice smooth sauce. Once the orangey mixture is thick it is time to let it cool. I find it hard to wait for chilled desserts to become cool. I tend to taste them while still warm. And I found it difficult to wait to stir in the frothy egg whites. I separated the eggs and began to whisk the whites as directed. I stirred them into the bowl and poured the foamy mixture into small serving bowls to chill. I really tried to wait but finally I slipped my spoon into one of the bowls and sampled. And yes it does contain raw egg so this is not for everyone.
Miss Mary Schwartz is another of the mystery women in this cook book. There is a Mrs Mary Schwartz in the census and a too young to contribute recipes Mary Schwartz. The only possibility so far is Mary Schwartz daughter of Isaac and Salome Schwartz who is listed on the Waterloo Generations website. She was born in Maple Valley Michigan in 1878 making her about 38 when the cook book was published.
Orange Snow is another sweet dessert. It is quick to make (other than waiting for it to cool) but the orange flavour was mild. This could be the type of orange or simply that I’m far too accustomed to artificial and enhanced flavours in processed items to be able to appreciate the subtle flavour of the real thing. Even when sampled later, after it was nicely chilled, I found the dessert a bit bland. A modern cook might want to add some zest or squeeze in a little lemon juice for some of the orange. Perhaps using oranges which are not quite as sweet would help liven up Miss Mary Schwartz’ Orange Snow.
1 pint boiling water, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, the juice of 3 oranges, 1 cup sugar, let boil until thick, add the whites of 3 eggs beaten to a froth when cool.