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Percy Bysshe Shelley and the Temple of Ice Cream

Updated on July 22, 2013
Ice cream might raise a smile!
Ice cream might raise a smile! | Source

Ice Cream For Poets

In my hub about the opposite of Baked Alaska, I looked at desserts for physicists. Well, today we're going to sample a dessert for poets. And what is more inspiring after a hard day of writing odes and traveling commune-style around the Mediterranean than a fancy tower of iced pudding?

You can call it ice cream if you prefer - iced pudding was another name for ice cream in the Victorian era - a little more genteel sounding, perhaps. And you'd want to be on your best rhetorical behavior when you were making this dessert for all the languishing Romantic poets in your social circle. This recipe is from the famous confectioner Charles Elmé Francatelli, from his epic culinary tome The Royal English and Foreign Confectioner (1862):

Iced Pudding à la Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ingredients: a custard cream composed of 12 yolks of eggs, a pint of cream, 12 oz. of sugar, and 1 oz. of vanilla sugar; 6 oz. of fruits consisting in equal parts odd dried cherries, pine apple, dried pears and green citron, all cut in very small squares, and a gill of maraschino. Mix the custard and the maraschino, and freeze the composition quite stiff; then add the fruits, freeze again, fill the mould, imbed it in rough ice and salt.

An Ice Cream Duck - or a Temple?

Mr. Shelley would prefer his ice cream in the shape of a temple - or a duck.
Mr. Shelley would prefer his ice cream in the shape of a temple - or a duck. | Source

Hail to Thee, Blythe Ice Cream

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) was one of the most famous of the English Romantic poets - and sadly did not live long enough to enjoy his eponymous ice cream. We do know that he was a vegetarian, probably one of the first to write eloquently about the virtues of not killing and eating animals in 1813's "A VIndication of Natural Diet" and "On the Vegetable System of Diet." So he would not have liked his ice cream in the shape of a duck; hence, the temple mold above would have been ideal: artistic, imposing, but - vegetarian in nature. Although I'm assuming that he was OK with dairy products. If not, we will have to roll up in the time machine and bring Signor Francatelli some vanilla soy milk and egg replacement. Or perhaps just serve some candied fruit in a dish.

An artistic looking chef: Charles Elm Francatelli.
An artistic looking chef: Charles Elm Francatelli. | Source

The First Top Chef

Charles Elme Francatelli (1805-1876) is considered by many people to be the first real "Celebrity Chef." You just know that he would have had his own show on the Food Network if it had existed in the 1860s - and his own magazine, too. He was born in Italy, studied cooking in France with Careme and other leading culinary lights, then came to England where he cooked for lots of wealthy and titled people and was Queen Victoria's head cook for four years in the 1840s. By the time he wrote about Shelley's ice cream, he was mostly writing cookbooks and working as a chef in various London clubs.


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    • Bijja profile image


      7 years ago from India

      Wonderful recipe!

      I love the poetry of Shelley!

    • jojokaya profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      wow..these recipe must be good. Will try it later. Rated up !


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