Recipe: Calf’s-Feet Jelly

  • Eight calf’s feet
  • Three quarts of water
  • A pint of white wine
  • Three lemons
  • The whites of six eggs
  • Half an ounce of cinnamon
  • Half a pound of loaf-sugar, broken into lumps.

Endeavour to procure calf’s-feet, that have been nicely singed, but not skinned, as the skin being left on, makes the jelly much firmer.

The day before you want to use the jelly, boil the eight calf’s-feet in three quarts of water, till the meat drops from the bone. When sufficiently done, put it into a collender or sieve, and let the liquid drain from the meat, into a broad pan or dish. Skim off the fat. Let the jelly stand till next day, and then carefully scrape off the sediment from the bottom. It will be a firm jelly, if too much water has not been used, and if it has bolted long enough. If it is not firm at first, it will not become so afterwards when boiled with the other ingredients. There should on no account be more than three quarts of water.
Early next morning, put the jelly into a tin kettle, or covered tin pan; set it on the fire, and melt it a little. Take it off, and season it with the cinnamon slightly broken, a pint of madeira wine, three lemons cut in thin slices, and half a pound of loaf-sugar, broken up.

If you wish it high-coloured, add two table-spoonfuls of French brandy. Mix all well together. Beat, slightly, the whites of six eggs (saving the egg-shell) and stir the whites into the jelly. Break up the egg-shells into very small pieces, and throw them in also. Stir the whole very well together.

Set it on the fire, and boil it hard five minutes, but do not stir it, as that will prevent its clearing. Have ready a large white flannel bag, the top wide, and the bottom tapering to a point.

Tie the bag to the backs of two chairs, or to the legs of a table, and set a while dish or a mould under it.

After the jelly has boiled five minutes, pour it hot into the bag, and let it drip through into the dish. Do not squeeze the bag, as that will make the jelly dull and cloudy.
If it is not clear the first time it passes through the bag, empty out all the ingredients, wash the bag, suspend it again, put another white dish under-it, pour the jelly back into the bag, and let it drip through again. Repeat this six or eight times, or till it is clear, putting a clean dish under it every time. If it does not drip freely, move the bag into a warmer place.

When the jelly has all dripped through the bag, and is clear, set it in a cool place to congeal. It will sometimes congeal immediately, and sometimes not for several hours, particularly if the weather is warm and damp. If the weather is very cold you must take care not to let it freeze. When it is quite firm, which perhaps it will not be till evening, fill your glasses with it, piling it up very high. If you make it in a mould, you must either set the mould under the bag while it is dripping, or pour it from the dish into the mould while it is liquid. When it is perfectly congealed, dip the mould for an instant in boiling water to loosen the jelly. Turn it out on a glass dish.

This quantity of ingredients will make a quart of jelly when finished. In cool weather it may be made a day or two before it is wanted.

You may increase the seasoning, (that is, the wine, lemon, and cinnamon,) according to your taste, but less than the above proportion will not be sufficient to flavour the jelly.
Ice jelly is made in the same manner, only not so stiff. Four calves-feet will be sufficient. Freeze it as you would ice-cream, and serve it up in glasses.

Seventy-Five Receipts for Pastry Cakes, and Sweetmeats, by Miss Leslie (Year 1832)