The Regency period gave the world its first "celebrity chef" -- Antonin Carême. the Wolfgang Puck or Gordon Ramsey of his day. Carême cooked for Napoleon, the Bourbon kings, the Tsar of Russia, Talleyrand and the Prince Regent. He also published several bestselling books. His works on pastries and desserts, confections as they were more generally called, laid down the foundation of classic French pâtisserie. When I read Ian Kelly's superb biography Cooking for Kings I had to include Carême's tenure at the Brighton Pavilion in a Regency novel.

Never Resist Temptation features a number of Carême's recipes and refers to other dishes from his cookbooks. Here are recipes of some of those:

Left: Carême's drawing of the Hermitage Russe which Jacobin constructs for the Prince Regent's dinner in honor of the Russian Ambassador

Gateau de Compiègne, with Cherries and Angelica

Ingredients. Three pounds of flour, twelve drams of yeast, an ounce of fine salt, four ounces of sugar, six ounces of preserved angelica, six ounces of cherries, the rind of three citrons, half a glass of brandy, three or four glasses of milt, twelve whole eggs, twelve yolks, and two pounds of butter.

Meringues with Seville Oranges

Grate the peel of two ripe and very yellow Seville Oranges on a piece of sugar then let it dry. Use to make meringues and mould them in a spoon so they're the shape of half an egg. 
Cover them with sugar which has been coarsely bruised, and then passed through rather a loose sieve. When the sugar has remained a few minutes blow off all the loose particles. Bake in a slack oven until the meringues have acquired a fine yellow color, and are covered here and there with small pearls (the effect of the sugar).
When served, fill at last minutes with whipped cream flavored with orange sugar.

Crème Français au Chocolat

After breaking four ounces of chocolate (flavored with vanilla) into small pieces, put it in a glass of boiling water on a gentle fire; then mix it gradually with the yolks of eight eggs, eight ounces of sugar, and four glasses of boiling milk; after which place the whole on a moderate fire, stirring it continually. As soon as it begins to thicken, let it boil up, and then pass it through a fine tammy [sieve]. When nearly cold, add to it six drams of clarified isinglass. Finish as usual [i.e. mold, chill and unmould]

Mirlitons à la fleur d'Orange

Put two yolks and two whole eggs into a basin, with four ounces of pounded sugar, three ounces of sweet macaroon biscuits broken, half an ounce of candied orange-flowers pounded, and a grain of salt; stir these for a minute, and then add two ounces of fresh butter made warm; whip the whites of the eggs very firm; and add them to the preparation; sheet thirty tartlet-moulds, half an inch deep and two inches wide, (slightly buttered) with puff paste. When the mirlitons are filled with the preparation, sift sugar on them rather thickly through a silk sieve, and when this is melted strew sugar in grains on them; bake them in a slow oven and serve either hot or cold.


To make eighteen: work together in a stewpan one ounce of sifted flour and an egg; when quite smooth add six yolks, four ounces of pounded sugar, six macaroon biscuits broken, a grain of salt and one whole egg, mingle the whole perfectly, and add ten dariole moulds full of cream; some candied orange-flowers crushed, or flavor, with the bloom from a cedrata orange, Seville orange, lemon or any other flavor required; sheet the moulds with paste, and put into each of them a small piece of butter half the size of a nut; fill them with the cream, and put them in a quick oven; serve them as hot as possible, throwing powdered sugar over them. The preparation should not rise in baking only about a quarter of an inch above the croustade.

Fanchonettes à la Vanille

Infuse a stick of good vanilla in one pint and a half of milk, and leave it to simmer on the corner of a stove for a quarter of an hour, and strain it through a napkin; put it in a stewpan with four yolks of eggs, three ounces of pounded sugar, one ounce of sifted flour, and a grain of salt; mix these well, and add by degrees the infusion of the vanilla; boil it over a slow fire, stirring it continuously that it may not catch; sheet thirty tartlet-moulds (as for mirlitons) and fill them with this preparation; bake in a slow oven, and when they are baked enough, that the puff paste is of a fine color, take them from the oven and let them cool; whip three whites of eggs very firm, and mix four ounces of pounded sugar with them for a meringue; fill up the centers of the tartlets with any of the cream that remains, and cover them neatly with the meringue; on each fanchonette place a border of seven small meringues, (with the paper funnel) and one in the centre; when six are done, sift sugar through a silk sieve equally over them, and place them in a slow oven; when of a fine red color serve them.


Put into a stewpan a pint of milk and two ounces of fresh butter; when it boils, fill it lightly with sifted flour, and dry it two or three minutes over the fire, and afterwards change the stewpan; mix with it a small Viry (cream-cheese) six ounces in weight, two ounces of pounded sugar, two spoonfuls of whipt cream and a little salt, then add three or four eggs as may be necessary; the paste should not be softer than the pâte a choux usually. Make nearly a pint of flour into pâte fine, make it a little firm, roll it out as thin as possible, and cut out thirty small round sheets two inches in diameter; in the center of each sheet place a part of the preparation, of the size of a small walnut, shaped like a pineapple; then form each talmouse triangular, but turning at the edges of the round sheet over the preparation, so that it is held in a kind of three-cornered cup, folding each corner, so that the triangle is not pointed; egg the sides and tops of the cake slightly, and put them in a moderate oven; when of a fine color, sift pounded sugar over them, and serve; If you have not Viry cheese, use a fresh Neufchâtel or two spoonful of good whipt cream.

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