We hear inexperienced housekeepers frequently complain of the difficulty of rendering this jelly perfectly transparent; but, by mixing with the other ingredients, while quite cold, the whites, and the crushed shells of a sufficient number of eggs, and allowing the head of scum which gathers on the jelly to remain undisturbed after it once forms, they will scarcely fail to obtain it clear. It should be strained through a thick flannel-bag of a conical form (placed before the fire, should the weather be at all cold, or the mixture will jelly before it has run through), and if not perfectly clear it must be strained again and again until it becomes so; though we generally find that once suffices. Mix thoroughly in a large stewpan five half-pints of strong calf's-feet stock (see page 304,) a full pint of sherry, half a pound of sugar, roughly powdered, the juice of two fine lemons, the rind of one and a half, cut very thin, the whites and shells of four large eggs, and half an ounce of isinglass. Let these remain a few minutes off the fire, that the sugar may dissolve more easily; then let the jelly be brought to boil gradually, and do not stir it after it begins to heat.
When it has boiled gently sixteen minutes, draw it from the fire, and let it stand a short time before it is poured into the jelly-bag, under which a bowl should be placed to receive it When clear and cool, put it into the moulds which have been laid for some hours in water: these should always be of earthenware in preference to metal. If to be served in glasses, or roughed, the jelly will be sufficiently firm without the isinglass, of which, however, we recommend a small quantity to be thrown in always when the jelly begins to boil, as it facilitates the clearing.
Calf's feet stock, 2 1/2 pints; sugar, 1/2 lb.; sherry, 1 pint; juice of lemons, 2 large; rind of 1 1/2; whites and shells of eggs, 4 large, or 5 small: 16 minutes.
After all the jelly has dropped through the bag, an exceedingly agreeable beverage may be obtained by pouring in some boiling water; from one to three half-pints, according to the quantity of jelly which has been made. The same plan should be pursued in making orange or lemon jelly for an invalid.
As it is essential to the transparency of calf's-feet jelly of all kinds that the whole of the ingredients should be quite cold when they are mixed, and as the stock can only be measured in a liquid state, to which it must be reduced by heating, the better plan is, to measure it when it is first strained from the feet, and to put apart the exact quantity required for a receipt; but when this has not been done, and it is necessary to liquefy it, it must be left until quite cold again before it is used.
To four calf's feet, well cleaned and divided, pour a gallon of water, and Jet them stew until it is reduced to rather less than two quarts; or if, after the flesh has quite fallen from the bones, the liquor on being strained off should exceed chat quantity, reduce it by rapid boiling in a clean uncovered pan over a very clear fire. When it is perfectly firm and cold, take it, clear of fat and sediment, and add to it a bottle of sherry, which should be of good quality (for poor, thin wines are not well adapted to the purpose), three quarters of a pound of sugar broken small, the juice of five large or of six moderate-sized lemons, and the whites, with the shells finely crushed, of seven eggs, or of more, should they be very small. The rinds of three lemons, pared exceedingly thin, may be thrown into the jelly a few minutes before it is taken from the fire; or they may be put into the jelly-bag previously to its being poured through, when they will impart to it a slight and delicate flavour, without deepening its colour much. If it is to be moulded, something more than half an ounce of isinglass should be dropped lightly in where the liquid becomes visible through the head of scum, when the mixture begins to boil; for if not sufficiently firm, it will break when it is dished.
It may be roughed, or served in glasses without this addition; and in a liquid state will be found an admirable ingredient for Oxford, or other punch.
Calf's feet, 4; water, 1 gallon; to be reduced more than half. Sherry, 1 bottle; sugar, 3/4 lb. (more to taste); juice of 5 large lemons, or of six moderate-sized; whites and shells of 7 eggs, or more if small; rinds of lemons, 3 (for moulding, nearly 3/4 oz. of isinglass): 15 to 20 minutes.
An excellent and wholesome jelly for young people may be made with good orange or raisin wine, instead of sherry; to either of these the juice of three or four oranges, with a small portion of the rind, may be added instead of part of the lemons.