A Life In a Cookery Book – 3

A Really Interesting Old Recipe

The very very old Foulsham Cookery book is still with me. As it is so old, Its value is really in its curiosity. I personally like to read the recipes in there. Some I think were quite ancient. Some may have come from the kitchens of large country houses. I say this because there is a distinct air of opulence about some of the dessert recipes…(don’t try this at home – Please!)

So here is one of them: Number 374 – “Court Custard”.

Disclaimer and Warning (Forewarning) – You Might Waste Your Ingredients; You Might Give Yourself Tummy Ache. Don’t Make This Recipe.

Now before you all disappear to muster your equipment and assemble your ingredients, I confess that I have not tried this. I can no longer eat any of these things on account of my very restricted post-cardiac surgery diet. (Esselstyn if you really want to know) (16 months now and counting) (No, not deviated yet) (I read cookery books).

Delicatessen or what?

Nor can I give you any guarantee that the recipe works, or indeed that it might be suitable in any way for today’s palates. So there are NO guarantees given here that the recipe is safe to use. Neither is there any suggestion here that you should go and make it.

Count Your Money First

Maybe if  – in the cause of historical study – you might like to try, that is entirely at your own discretion and own risk. Think hard though before you even consider doing this because it is an expensive recipe, especially considering when the book was printed. This is a recipe that tells of plenty, so you have been warned.

Court Custard

2.5 Pints of Milk
1 large spoonful of rice flour
2 yolks of eggs
Lemon Peel
1 large spoonful of peach water
A little ratafia

“Boil one quart of milk with a piece of lemon peel and cinnamon and sweeten it. Rub the rice flour into half a pint of cold milk and mix the well beaten yolks of eggs. Pour the boiling milk on the mixture, stirring one way until it begins to boil up again, then pour into a pan, and stir for some time. Add  the peach water and ratafia and mix well. Marbles boiled in custard or anything likely to burn will, by shaking them in the saucepan, prevent its catching”.

Voxturturis says:- NB…For Goodness’ Sake DO NOT SERVE THE MARBLES, NEVER EAT MARBLES…Marbles, no matter how well boiled are NOT edible, they do not go soft with chewing or boiling…

The use of marbles in the preparation of this custard points even more to the fact that this was a dish cooked at some considerable distance from the dining room…

Even more Guesswork Required Here

Now I’m no expert but I think that perhaps a little more information is needed in this method. By today’s standards, it seems oddly non-sequential. And how much equipment is needed? And what size of spoons? How much cinnamon? Then again, how is this dish to be served? Is it a pouring hot sauce? Is it to be served along with fruit pie – or steamed pudding – or sponge cake – or on its own?  Maybe this is what custard powder was originally emulating?

The Georgian Kitchen?

The ingredients are certainly not those of an ordinary home. But a home where these ingredients might be found would have no need of this recipe…

What we have here is something that either time forgot or came from a famous country estate...

Whatever, it is an anomaly. A custard anomaly…maybe it is for stewed apples…or Steamed Batter. Now there’s a delicious one…number 296…coming soon…


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