Asparagus Ices from Agnes Marshall's The Book of Ices
The tradition of making novelty ices in the form of vegetables, fruits and other food items seems to have started in late seventeenth Naples, where moulded sorbetti were known as pezzi duri (hard pieces). A pewter mould for making asparagus ices is illustrated in Gillier's Canammeliste francaise (Nancy: 1750). By the 1860s these moulds were to be found at ‘most ironmonger's', so bunches of ice cream or water ice asparagus seem to have become popular by this time with Victorian diners. They were frequently illustrated in nineteenth and early twentieth century cookery texts, such as the works of Agnes Marshall, Theodore Garrett and John Kirkland. American mould manufacturers were still making asparagus moulds in the 1950s, though by this time, they had become much stouter in order to facilitate easy demoulding.
A nineteenth century sorbetiere with its spaddle and oak pail. Until the middle of the nineteenth century all ices were made using this basic equipment.
The earlier, narrow moulds are not easy to use, as the asparagus ices are difficult to turn out without breaking. They should be dipped into cold water for about twelve seconds and the ices rolled out onto a clean table napkin with the finger tips, rather than the point of a knife, which is usual with most other ice moulds.
Mrs Agnes Marshall
Above top: an eight-inch high, three part mould for creating a bundle of ice cream asparagus. Below is a much smaller hinged garnishing mould for making a miniature bunch.
Click the Rosseline Bombe to find out more about ice puddings.
The pewter moulds are filled with the two different ices.
Asparagus shaped ices from Garret's Encyclopaedia of Practical Cookery.
Agnes Marshall's patent ice cream freezer - click it to find out more about the history of ices
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