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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/705

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THE CHEMISTRY OF COOKERY.

the cheese is not intermingled with the egg, lest it should spoil the appearance of the unbroken yolks, its casein is made leathery instead of being dissolved, and the substitution of sixpenny worth of double cream for a halfpenny worth of milk supplies the high-class victim with fivepence halfpenny worth of biliary derangement.

In Gouffe's "Royal Cookery-Book" (the Household Edition of which contains a great deal that is really useful to an English housewife) I find a better recipe under the name of cheese soufflés. He says:

"Put two and one fourth ounces of flour in a stewpan, with one and a half pint of milk; season with salt and pepper; stew over the fire till boiling, and, should there be any lumps, strain the souffle paste through a tammy-cloth; add seven ounces of grated Parmesan cheese, and seven yolks of eggs; whip the whites till they are firm, and add them to the mixture; fill some paper cases with it, and bake in the oven for fifteen minutes."

Cre-Fydd says: "Grate six ounces of rich cheese (Parmesan is the best); put it into an enameled saucepan, with a teaspoonful of flour of mustard, a saltspoonful of white pepper, a grain of cayenne, the sixth part of a nutmeg, grated, two ounces of butter, two tablespoonfuls of baked flour, and a gill of new milk; stir it over a slow fire till it becomes like smooth, thick cream (but it must not boil); add the well-beaten yolks of six eggs, beat for ten minutes, then add the whites of the eggs beaten to a stiff froth; put the mixture into a tin or a cardboard mold, and bake in a quick oven for twenty minutes. Serve immediately."

Here is a true cookery of cheese by solution, and the result is an excellent dish. But there is some unnecesary complication and kitchen pedantry involved. The following is my own simplified recipe:

Take one fourth of a pound of grated cheese; add it to a gill of milk in which is dissolved as much powdered bicarbonate of potash as will stand upon a threepenny-piece; mustard, pepper, etc., as prescribed above by Cre-Fydd.[1] Heat this carefully until the cheese is completely dissolved. Then beat up three eggs, yolk and whites together, and add them to this solution of cheese, stirring the whole. Now take a shallow metal or earthenware dish or tray that will bear heating; put a little butter on this, and heat the butter till it frizzles. Then pour the mixture into this, and bake or fry it until it is nearly solidified.

A cheaper dish may be made by increasing the proportion of cheese—say, six to eight ounces to three eggs, or only one egg to a quarter pound of cheese for a hard-working man with powerful digestion.

The chief difficulty in preparing this dish conveniently is that of

  1. Before the Adulteration Act was passed, mustard-flour was usually mixed with well-dried wheaten-flour, whereby the redundant oil was absorbed, and the mixture was a dry powder. Now it is different, being pure powdered mustard-seed, and usually rather damp. It not only lies closer, but is much stronger. Therefore, in following any recipe of old cookery-books, only about half the stated quantity should be used.