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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Day 37

While trawling through Mrs Beeton’s yesterday I couldn’t help noticing a recipe for ‘Lemon biscuits’ (Para. 1743), which seemed like the perfect Saturday afternoon activity. After some conversions and interpretation of the ‘mode’ I successfully removed thirty biscuits from the oven and upon tasting found them to be quite delightful. They are light, slightly sweet with a soft centre and have a lemon-tangy finish; it reminded me of a lemon flavoured shortbread though with a dough like texture. They are certainly a lovely accompaniment to a strong cup of tea and were also @noooonie approved. What always intrigues me with the recipes in Mrs. Beeton is the “average cost” given for most recipes; this recipe’s average cost was listed as ‘1s. 6d.’ at the time of publication (1861). With some conversions and maths this converts to approx. (UK)£9.12 or (AUD)$17.25 today. An interesting figure to compare with the average cost to making the same recipe in 2021, which taking into account the use of brand named ingredients was (AUD) $8.63 in total. I also couldn’t help noticing that the recipe is marked as “seasonable at any time”, which suggests that lemons in Victorian Britain were available all year round. Though the UK does not have the climate for citrus and were depended on the import of all its citrus from Europe and North African. Meaning that the import cost wouldn’t have been horrible, but certainly placing items such as lemons out of reach in the ‘off season’ for many on the lower end of the economic scale.

Makes 30 biscuits.

1-1/4 lb. of flour (460g Flour)
3/4 lb. of loaf sugar (280g Caster Sugar)
6 oz. of fresh butter (180g butter)
4 eggs (4 eggs, well beaten)
1 oz. of lemon-peel (Rind of 2 lemons, grated)
2 dessertspoonfuls of lemon-juice (1tbs lemon juice)

Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced; prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Rub the flour and butter until a fine crumb then stir in sugar and rind.
Add eggs and lemon-juice and mix until combined.
Using wet hands, roll mixture into balls and place on prepared trays, about 2cm apart, flatten slightly.
Bake until pale brown for 15-20mins; cool on wire rake.