In my final foray into the recipes of Patrick White, we stray into dessert territory. I think Patrick White had a bit of a sweet tooth judging by the number of dessert recipes in his papers. In David Marr’s biography, White recalls being given forbidden sweets after kindy by the family’s watchman – his mother did not approve of sweets (or of potatoes apparently) and so they were an extra special treat for young Paddy. I wonder what Mrs White would have made of this recipe.
Egg yolks 6
Sugar 2 ½ ozs
Marsala 2 ½ fl. ozs
Gelatine ¼ oz (one sachet)
Cream and grated chocolate (optional garnish)
Put egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala in top of double boiler. First you have to find Marsala at the bottle shop, it transpires that Marsala is a region (like Champagne) and so can only be used to name an authentic product – so what you are actually looking for is a cream sherry with added egg yolk.
Dissolve gelatine in a little warm water (boiling water is better) and add. Beat pan constantly over hot water till mixture stiffens and rises. This is where we got into trouble on batch number one. We used a wooden spoon to beat the mixture – I think the word ‘whisk’ is more appropriate to this recipe than beat and if you have a hand beater that’s probably even better than a whisk.
When the mixture is thick, remove bowl from heat and continue to beat (whisk!) a moment or two longer, then pour into glasses and allow to grow quite cold. Garnish with blob of whipped cream and a little grated chocolate.
It makes enough for six small glasses or four large parfait glasses.
What’s the verdict:
Opinion in our house was sharply divided on this recipe. The addition of gelatine, to ensure that the mixture will set, is a little unorthodox and gives the finished product a distinct marshmallow taste. Those who like marshmallows (i.e. me) were in favour of a positive rating but the non-marshmallow eaters were inclined towards a rating of ‘vile, vile, vile, vile’. We agreed to differ and met in the middle.