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May 5, 2008 03:18 PM

Aspic recipes (forgotten food related)

Okay! You asked and here they are:

These are Aspic entrees from a cookbook published in 1952 (even older than I am!)

The basic aspic is 1 tblsp unflavored gelatin, 1/4 cup cold water, 1 1/2 cups hot seasoned stock.
Soften the gelatin in some cold water. Dissolve in the hot stock. Add the mixtures (see below) when gelatin begins to thicken. Pour into the mold (bundt would work) and chill until firm.

Sliced Veal in Aspic:
Use highly seasoned veal stock, 1/2 cup cooked peas, hard boiled eggs (not sure how many) and slices of veal.

Tongue Mousse:
Use beef stock and 1 1/2 tblsp unflavored gelatin.. Add 1 cup mayo, 1 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp salt. 2 tblsp of minced onion, 2 tblsp green pepper and 2 tblsp parsley. Add 2 cups of ground tongue.

I have even more! Enjoy!

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  1. Fantastic, danhole, thanks! (I was thinking they'd be very involved, procedurally, requiring extensive boiling with this or that. Maybe even I could manage these. :) I wonder where I could find ground tongue....

    14 Replies
    1. re: cimui

      Well, that's the rub. For authentic 1952 tongue in aspic, you go to the butcher shop and buy a whole tongue. Boil it, peel it, grind it. Where I live you can buy whole tongue in any Hispanic market or a "regular" market in a Hispanic neighborhood. Of course, when you boil the tongue, season the water you're boiling it in.

      1. re: Caroline1

        Thanks, Caroline. Do you think I could just chop the tongue very fine, since I don't have a meat grinder? I think my next dinner party is going to feature retro foods if this turns out well.

        1. re: cimui

          Don't see why not. I'll assume you don't have a food processor, so if that's the case here's what I'd do. First cut the cooked cold tongue into small pieces, then working with about a handful at a time on a wood or plastic cutting board, draw two very sharp knives, sharp edges facing each other like scissors,through the meat to get it into a fine mince. But it's okay if it's a little chunky. Then you can just call it "artisan." '-)

          1. re: cimui

            I prefer the tongue chopped, v. ground. Just like the texture better. (And it can give the kids a few more delightful heebie-jeebies seeing more of the tongue structure, if you have the quasi-weird attitude I've had!) Tongue is, kid-creepies aside, a fantastic meat to deal with. Big flavor.

            GO FOR IT on the retro party. We had an entire dinner party of molded foods, and aspic was, well, an aspect. Big hit. So many options.

            My old Gourmet cookbook has a trippy recipe for a cold glazed (read: colored aspic) ox-tongue that is to me the quintessance of midcentury gellied flourish. I'd be happy to post it for you if you'd like (mind you, this is NOT ground up/chopped, but the whole boiled, peeled, then "gussied-up" tongue). The picture in the book is utterly amazing; I wish I had a scanner!


            1. re: cayjohan

              Re: cold glazed ox tongue:

              Cay, I just found a North Korean cookbook (well, more like a cooking pamphlet) that I bought on a tour of the Kum Gang mountains in North Korea (an interesting joint venture of the Hyundai corporation and the North Korean government, we won't get into the politics here, but needless to say, very interesting.) It is entitled "Best Recipes of Pyong Yang".

              It has a great recipe and picture of Aspic jelly of ox trotter, tail and tendon. There is no packaged gelatin involved: it uses the natural gelatin from the ox trotter and tail (Many of the recipes in this pamphlet give basic instructions for everything, as I suspect it is hard to get pre-packaged food in North Korea. It is probably hard to get food at times.)

              I am very intrigued at the idea of making this aspic, but I seem to be the only person I know who is actually excited by the idea of aspic, and I suspect it is hard to make aspic for one. I'm not sure I could eat a whole aspic, and I suspect it doesn't freeze that well :(

              Anyone want to organize a national chowdown for aspic lovers?

              1. re: moh

                Send it my way, moh. I hadn't thought of aspic in years before reading your post on the forgotten foods thread (tho I loved it as a kid). Now I have a full blown hankering.

                BTW, I think aspic can last a looong time in the fridge (and possibly out of the fridge, too). That's why it's used to seal pates.

                1. re: cimui

                  Cimui, your point about aspic lasting a long time is very intriguing and rings true for me... Yay! I have some hope!

                  Does anyone know how long an aspic will keep in the fridge?

                  Unfortunately, I had the riot act read to me by my medical team today, and it turns out I may have be a little more careful in my food choices for the next little while... I had to resist buying some lovely looking samosas sitting in a local corner store. But I cheated and had a small hunk of lait cru goat's cheese and aged gouda and wine with dinner today. :( I don't think I'll be indulging like that for a while.

                  So if anyone can enlighten me as to how long I can safely keep aspic in the fridge? I promise I'll listen to the most conservative estimate...

                  1. re: moh

                    moh, there's no easy answer on how log an aspic will last under refrigeraton. Depend on the ingredients, whether they were all fresh, stuff like that. However, if it's a really good aspic, the problem will be more like how to keep it around long enough to spoil. Not ganna be a problem!

                    Good luck with the dietary restricions. Bummer!

                  2. re: cimui

                    No, aspic will not "keep" when not refrigerated. It's made with gelatin, a meat derivative, and will melt when kept at room temperature too long. If you want an aspic that will not melt at room temperature, use powdered agar agar that you can pick up at most Asian markets. Use it in equal parts and the same way. It's a gelatin made of seaweed and will not melt at any temperature you'd have your home thermostat set for. It will also set at room temperature, but it does set quicker in the refrigerator. Just as Knox gelatin, it adds no flavor of its own. But it should be refrigerated for long term storage too. It's the other ingredients in an aspic that will spoil.

                  3. re: moh


                    If you're not using packaged gelatin, then what you have is a wonderful rich stock that just happens to gelatinize upon cooling. You could make, then, aspic for one, and soup for the many!

                    Must say, I love the title: "Best Recipes of Pyong Yang". Again, no political issues intended. I just have never heard that particular phrase.

                    Let us know if you make it. This aspic talk is really nice as we move (hopefully) toward the summer months.

                    Oh, and please don't do it (the aspic) if your Drs. say no? Or at least ask why, so you know for yourself.

                    Best to you,

                    1. re: cayjohan

                      Cay, your suggestion for soup and mini-aspic for one is brilliant... that may fly! Thanks a billion!

                  4. re: cayjohan

                    Haha, so you color the tongue red and serve it whole? That sounds too good to pass up. I'd appreciate the recipe very much, Cay!

                    1. re: cimui


                      I've talked Hub into taking my book into the office and scanning the picture. Will post the recipe and eye-popping end result together, for effect.

                      fwiw, the aspic glaze is an opaque pink, and decorated with flower shapes and greenery placed all over the curved tongue shape.

                      Who says the 1960/70s were the psychedelic years; these 1950's luncheon dishes are wild!

                      Watch for my post - hope it will be tomorrow.

                      Love all you crazy aspic folks!


              2. re: cimui

                When I as 14-15 years old, mid-[1960's] my mom used to fix me tomato aspic with chicken bouillon and tomato paste, I ate so, so much of it, everyday in fact, until I crashed and burned, but. But, yesterday with our hot weather and a very restrained diet, do to life saving operation coming up, I got to thinking about aspic...Great diet food.

              3. In the olden times, aspic was created by boiling meats to extract the gelatin from the bones. I have some very old chef's books that belonged to my Dad....beginning the aspic recipes in this manner. Most every fancy luncheon had an apic mold on the menue.

                I checked my 1955 copyright edition of Meta Givens Cooking Encyclopedia. It gave instructions for making the gelatin for aspic from chicken broth, which is a bit labor intensive. And it also gave a recipe using plain gelatin.

                Chicken and tongue in Aspic
                2 envelopes, 3 tablespoons plain gelatin
                1/4 cup cold water
                4 cups concentrated chicken broth
                1/2 to 3/4 pounds canned tongue, thinly sliced
                4 pounds stewing chicken, simmered to make broth
                2 hard cooked eggs, sliced
                2 tomatoes

                Soften gelatin in cold water for 5 minutes. Skim off all fat from the cold broth. Heat to boiling, add softened gelatin and stir until dissolved. Pour about 1 cup of the gelatin mixture in a 6 to 7-cup ring mold. Set in a pan of ice water and tilt around until inside surface is covered with a thin layer of congealed aspic. Slice both the tongue and chicken thinly and neatly. Arrange the shapliest pieces of tongue and chicken alternately around the sides and bottom of the mold. Place slices of egg near top all ariund the mold. Combine remaining aspic with remaining chicken, tongue and egg and carefully spoon into the mold. Press down gently to displace any air bubbles and make a smooth surface on top. Chill until firm. Unmold on a flat serving dish. Garnish with tomatoes cut in wedges and serve with mayonnaise blended with enough chili sauce or cream to give the desired consistency. Serves 6 to 8.

                From Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, Vol I, page 1156

                3 Replies
                1. re: Lisbet

                  Well, I've been promising myself to stay out of this aspic discussion -- sort of -- but gotta say here that true aspics did not include packets of gelatin in the recipe. You went to your butcher, got a bunch of knuckles and marrow bones and boiled. You didn't brown them in the oven first, as for stock, because you were after as close to a colorless natural gelatin as you could get. If the budget was tight, you used the ploy with the butcher that the bones were for the dog and chances were he would give them to you free. Feet, knees, and any other bones with a lot of cartilage on them were what you were after.

                  Depending on your intended end use, you might or might not use aromatics in the cooking liquid. You clarified and strained, often using egg shells in the process. And when you got your end product, THEN you could use it for making aspics, head cheese, napping whole hams and decorating them.

                  There's something not mentioned here as a vanishing food! Geleed hams... You start with a cooked ham nearly ready to serve. Often boneless. You chilled it to the core. Then you napped the presentation surface with a opaque whitish sort of "aspic" of your choice and flavor. Then you put it in the refrigerator until it sets. Then you take it out and do a very thin layer of clear aspic, chill again. Then you decorate with flowers you make from thinly sliced and shapped vegetables. Or you can cut bird shapes, fishes, geometrics, anything you like, again from brightly colored vegetable. I used to do a spray of lillies of the valley using peeled radishes and scallions. When you're happy with your design, then you nap again with the clear gelatin and set it in the refrigerator to chill. During the final setting process, you may need to nap additional gelatin to gain a glossy smooth finished surface. Come party time, you run a sharp knife around the bottom of the ham to seperate any gelatin overflow, then set the ham on a platter garnished with greens of your choice. Or if you have a really gorgeous large silver platter, you can just set it directly on the platter. Well, I've seen that done in restaurants, but I never would because the carving will damage the platter. But you can use a mirror if you want that effect.

                  You can also do the same thing with a boiled chicken. If you're skilled at boning birds, bone and truss the chicken. Roll it tightly in cheesecloth to the shape you want. Simmer gently until done. Cool in the water, but don't leave it in until the liquid is cold. Unwrap the chicken, chill, then nap as above. You'll never get the gelatin to set up if whatever you're napping isn't chilled. One way I used to do chickens was rather than a floral design, I just did harlequin diamond shapes all over using eggplant skin. Then nap with gelatin as above.

                  This was holiday and party food, and you almost always found it at banquets where a display table was set up. No one makes them today because you can't have them ready, start to finish, in two hours or less, let alone dishes that can take a couple of days. That's why I had to laugh at Top Chef with their ten minute rice meal, or whatever it was. If I want a freaking ten minute meal, I go to McDonald's. But not too often! '-)

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    Caroline 1......thank you for this post! You really know the proper proceedures, as given in my Father's old books! You must be an experienced professional!!

                    This discussion brings back childhood memories of long buffet tables with wonderful foods beautifully displayed. My Dad worked in the kitchen of a popular Golf Club that would, on special occassions, have a buffet laid out for guests and players.

                    Another almost lost art is the carving vegetables into the shape of flowers to decorate the tables.

                    1. re: Lisbet

                      Not a pro. Lisbet, but I was trained by a pro for three years. Never really wanted to go into cooking as a profession because you have to do things the same everytime. I'm just a plain old "creative" type who does a little bit of everything. But I will say it was always an incredible saving to be able to do it all myself. A strange discovery I made in the seventies when my husband was working in te chemistry department at University of California at San Diego. Every year we would have a huge Christmas party, with all sorts of gallantines of fowls, geleed hams, pates in croute, buche de noel. Good stuff! And people loved it. But there were always a lot of leftovers. In the summer we'd have less formal parties with casual food and no leftovers, even when I tried! After a few years of tactful questions, I finally figured out that the Japanese are right. People DO eat with their eyes first! So when the food was gorgeous, people got full faster. Who woulda thunk that fancy food was an economy move?

                      Several Asian countries have a very active custom of intricate and elegant food and vegetable carving. China, Thailand, I think Malasia... I can't remember them all. And I don't recall the name of the episode, but last year Food Network had one of their pro contests for fruit carving. Seems to me it was held in Hawaii. That's an area I've never tackled, but think about doing a pumpkin every Halloween. Some of it is breathtaking!

                2. I'm surprised to see these regarded as some old fashioned fad of the fifties. Aren't they just cold terrines?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: yayadave

                    No comparison.....Aspic is a savory clear gelatin made from flavored meat broths.

           a pâte or meatloaf baked in an earthenware dish.

                    1. re: Lisbet

                      I believe your definition of a terrine is too narrow. It does not have to contain meat, it does not have to be baked, and it does not have to be in an erthenware dish.

                      1. re: yayadave

                        Yes, I've seen some seafood terrines that are served cold and are very similar to aspics. I must admit, I'm not entirely sure what the difference between an aspic and a terrine is.

                    2. Just a curiosity, but my mom inherited this very same cookbook from her mother. Anyways, the cover/copyright information were lost over the years of use - along with most of the book. I'm not sure how well your copy has held up, but I was wondering if you had a title/author for the book so I can try to find her a replacement? Thanks!