To make the brilliantly clear, many-hned,and delicately flavored jellies that are found on the tables of the best hotels and at the confectioners, the simple lemon jelly has first to be made in perfection. It is technically called stock jelly, because, when finished, it can be mixed with wine or other liquors and cordials,or be flavored and colored to make as many varities as may be desired.
It may be as well to explain that these jellies are transient and will not keep over two or three days, not like the boiled fruit jellies, but of the same nature as the old-fashioned calf's foot jelly, made now with gelatine.
Once making stock jelly should serve either for a large party or two or there meals.
For 3 quarts of jelly take:
3 1/2 quarts of water.
1 1/2 pounds of sugar.
4 ounces of gelatine
5 lemons - juice of all, thin shaved rinds of 2 or 3, according to size.
1 ounce of whole spices - cloves, mace and stick cinnamon.
Put the water in a bright brass kettle, add all the other ingredients - the lemon juice squeezed in without the seeds, the yellow rind pared very thin, and the white of eggs beaten a little with some water mixed in first The clean egg shells may be put in also to assist in the clarification. Use the sheet gelatine that floats, for preference. Then set the kettle on the side of a range and let it slowly come to a boil with occasional stirring.
Let it boil about half an hour, and above all, to avoid the trouble and waste of having to boil it again, be sure that the white foam of egg on top becomes thoroughly cooked so that it will go down and mix with the jelly again like so much meal. Sometimes, to accomplish this, as a lid cannot be kept on without its boiling over, it is necessary to set the kettle in the oven, a few minutes to get heat enough on top.
Then run it through a jelly bag suspended from a hook. The boiling having been properly attended to, there should not be the slightest difficulty in getting it to run through not only clear but bright and transparent as glass. The first pouring coats the inside of the filtering bag with the coagulated white of egg,and each succeeding running through brightens the jelly.
It may be set down as a rule that this kind of jelly cannot be successfully made without more or less lemon juice, or some acid equivalent - it will not run through a filtering bag without. A cheaper quality can be made with less sugar and lemons.
The stock having been made, it can now be divided into as many kinds as may be wished. But the stock jelly is already good and mildly flavored and care should be taken not to over season it, or injure its bright appearance.
Lemon extract cannot be put into jelly because it makes a milky appearance and dims its brilliancy. Orange extract the same. Most of the other extracts can be used to flavor. Use wine in small proportion to mix with some of the stock, and color deep red, but run through the jelly bag again while it is yet warm. Flavor some with vanilla, and color it either amber or brown with burnt sugar. Flavor some with strawberry and color it pink, and leave some plain, pale yellow.