Services Culinary Moulds
Home About Us Courses Historic Food Galleries
Historic Food Galleries
Shop Events Links Bookings Recipes Leeds History of Food Symposium
Ballettes of Foie Gras à l'Impériale

In the trade catalogues and advertisements of the nineteenth century, ballette moulds were frequently called bombe or petits bombe moulds. They were among the most versatile culinary moulds, enabling the creative cook to produce some dazzling and often puzzling effects.

Most ballette moulds were sold tinned inside and out. Nowadays, they are likely to have had their outer coating of tin polished off by collecters or dealers.

This intricate dish, from Agnes Marshall's Larger Cookery Book of Extra Recipes (c.1880s), is typical of the highly artificial cuisine of the late nineteenth century.

The decorative rings are stamped out of egg garnish with little cutters and each piece seperately placed inside the mould, which has previously been lined with aspic.

Each ballette is then filled with a small nugget of foie gras, sealed and topped up through the little funnel with aspic. When removed it looks like a millifiori paper weight.

Another of Mrs Marshall's illustrations. This one shows a similar dish called Balletes à la St. Louis. The little shapes were cut out of aspic and truffle.

A rare photograph of Mrs Marshall in her teaching kitchen at Mortimer Street. This remarkable Victorian cook and entrepreneur died in 1905. Next year her centenary will be celebrated with a number of events and displays - watch this space and the events page for future details.

See also - Entrées

This visually spectacular dish is typical of the time-consuming aspic-based entrées so popular in the late Victorian Period. The ballettes were served on a bed of aspic with artichoke bottoms farced with flageolets and garnished with sprigs of chervil and tarragon.

Ballettes of Foie Gras à l'Impériale

Line some ballette moulds thinly with aspic jelly, and garnish them with egg mixtures, in red and white, stamped out into tiny rings the size of a threepenny piece (see recipes, Egg Garnishes for soups and moulds); set this garnish with a little aspic jelly, and then fill up the centres with a nice piece of pâté de foie gras ; set this with more liquid aspic jelly, close up the moulds and leave them till the contents are firm. Then dip each mould into hot water, and turn out the ballettes on to a bed of finely-chopped aspic jelly; garnish with sprigs of tarragon and chervil, and halves of cooked artichoke bottoms that are filled with flageolets mixed with a little salad oil, tarragon, and chilli vinegar, and serve for an entrée for dinner or luncheon, or any cold service.

WHITE EGG GARNISH - Mix four whites of eggs with one dessert-spoonful of thick cream and a pinch of salt; then tammy, and pour it into buttered dariol moulds, and poach them till firm, and use when quite cold, cutting or stamping out in any fancy shapes.

PINK EGG GARNISH -Mix three yolks of eggs with one and a half tablespoonfuls of thick cream and a pinch of salt, add a few drops of carmine; tammy, and cook similarly to the white garnish.

From Agnes Marshall, Larger Cookery Book of Extra Recipes (London: 1880s)

The little decorative rings are cut out of egg garnish. The white egg garnish is made by mixing egg white and cream and poaching it gently in some dariole moulds. When cool it can be cut into thin slices and cut into shape with little tin cutters. The pink egg garnish is made by colouring a mixture of egg yolk and cream with a little cochineal and poaching it as before.

Throughout the whole processe he ballette moulds were placed in a bowl of ice. They were toped up with aspic by means of a small funnel. When set they were plunged into hot water for a few seconds to de-mould the jelliess. These petits bombes were also used for making ice creams, for poaching and for baking little spherical cakes.

Mrs. Marshall's contemporary, the great English chef Theodore Garrett, also illustrated dishes made with ballette moulds in his Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery (London: 1890s). Above: Garrett's Fruit Jelly Bombes served on a bed of crystallized fruit.
Back to Recipe Index
Home About us Courses Galleries Shop Events Links Bookings Recipes