It is a good plan, after purchasing raisins and currants, to wash and dry a quantity, and store in glass cans ready for use. To facilitate the stoning of raisins, put them into a colander placed in a dish of warm water until plump; then drain, when the seeds can be easily removed.
For desserts which are to be molded, always wet the molds in cold water before pouring in the desserts.
SUGGESTIONS FOR FLAVORING, ETC.
TO PREPARE ALMOND PASTE.—Blanch the nuts according to directions given on page 215. Allow them to dry thoroughly, and pound in a mortar to a smooth paste. They can be reduced much easier if dried for a day or two after blanching. During the pounding, sprinkle with a few drops of cold water, white of egg, rose water, or lemon juice, to prevent them from oiling.
COCOANUT FLAVOR.—Cocoanut, freshly grated or desiccated, unless in extremely fine particles, is a very indigestible substance, and when its flavor is desired for custards, puddings, etc., it is always better to steep a few tablespoonfuls in a pint of milk for twenty minutes or a half hour, and strain out the particles. The milk should not be allowed to boil, as it will be likely to curdle. One tablespoonful of freshly grated cocoanut or two of the desiccated will give a very pleasant and delicate flavor; and if a more intense flavor is desired, use a larger quantity.
ORANGE AND LEMON FLAVOR.—Orange or lemon flavor may be obtained by steeping a few strips of the yellow part of the rind of lemon or orange in milk for twenty minutes. Skim out the rind before using for desserts. Care should be taken to use only the yellow part, as the white will impart a bitter flavor. The grated rind may also be used for flavoring, but in grating the peel, one must be careful to grate very lightly, and thus use only the outer yellow portion, which contains the essential oil of the fruit. Grate evenly, turning and working around the lemon, using as small a surface of the grater as possible, in order to prevent waste. Generally, twice across the grater and back will be sufficient for removing all the yellow skin from one portion of a lemon. A well-grated lemon should be of exactly the same shape as before, with no yellow skin remaining, and no deep scores into the white. Remove the yellow pulp from the grater with a fork.
TO COLOR SUGAR.—For ornamenting the meringues of puddings and other desserts, take a little of the fresh juice of cranberries, red raspberries, currants, black raspberries, grapes, or other colored juices of fruits, thicken it stiff with the sugar, spread on a plate to dry, or use at one. It may be colored yellow with orange peel strained through a cloth, or green with the juice of spinach. Sugar prepared in this manner is quite as pretty and much more wholesome than the colored sugars found in market, which are often prepared with poisonous chemicals.