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December 18, 2010

Cream Filberts
Posted by Teresa at 01:28 PM * 35 comments

PAGING PHEIDIAS, PAGING PHEIDIAS, do you read me? Come in, do you read me?

They’re back. Several online vendors are offering them. I have no faith that they’re going to last long.

Vermont Country Store, $16.95 + $5.95 shipping, more or less, for a one-pound bag. They also reproduce a long string of jubilant messages from cream-filbert-deprived customers.

Groovy Candies, $26.75 for two pounds, shipping starts around $6 - $10. They’re an Ohio wholesale and retail candy business that specializes in retro candies.

Yummies Candy & Nuts, $4.99 for five ounces. I guess they’ve taken them off their graveyard list.

Nashville Candy Store, $14.00 a pound, but so far I haven’t been able to get their site to work.

I wish you good hunting.

Comments on Cream Filberts:
#1 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 04:36 PM:

I was hoping that Fulbert of Chartres had got creamed. No such luck.

#2 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 05:36 PM:

Ye choirs of New Jerusalem
Your sweetest notes employ
Yummy confectionery to hymn
In strains of holy joy.

While joyful thus their praise we sing
God's mercy we implore
Into our mailbox straight to bring
and send them evermore.

Unfortunately, I can't think quite what to do with the verses about lions and snake heads at this time of night. But maybe inspiration will strike while I sleep.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 08:21 PM:

Fragano, if the internet didn't exist, I'd have thought I was alone in missing cream filberts. I'm not. Pheidias is a political blogger who shares this unaccountable passion for a seasonal Victorian confection that's troublesome to make and comes out looking like mothballs. What he's observed is that out of all his entries, the ones that get the most hits are about trying to find cream filberts.

Four or five years ago, the last remaining manufacturer of cream filberts stopped making them, and Pheidias duly reported his inability to find them any more. The least I can do is let him know they're back on the market, for however long that lasts.

I know he watches the traffic on his blog. If linking to four different cream filbert entries of his isn't enough to get him to come over and hear the news ... well, I'll be stumped.

Praisegod Barebones, I didn't even know there was a St. Filbert. Thank you for enlightening me.

#4 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 08:34 PM:

Ooh, I had never heard of those, but they look yummy and my wife loves hazelnuts. Ordered. Thank you for the pointers.

Knowing Murphy's Law, we'll discover that we love them madly—just in time for them to disappear once again from the face of the earth.

#5 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 08:39 PM:

TNH #3: It is because such things as these that humanity is worth saving.

#6 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 09:05 PM:

Teresa, a recipe for making your own.

#7 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 09:26 PM:

P J Evans #6: Pardon, but that site appears to have both: (1) copied (verbatim) the recipe from the first comment at the third of Teresa's Pheidas links, and (2) used the same as an opportunity to shill a dubious "fat burner" pill.

#8 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 09:34 PM:

Okay. Missed the 'fat-burner' pill.
On the other hand, they do admit that their recipes aren't original.

#9 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 09:40 PM:

Hmm. The second of TNH's links also has the recipe in the comments, though further down. The OP there mentions also missing Ginger Altoids, with which I heartily agree -- I loved those!

#10 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 09:47 PM:

One more, then I'm off to bed.

P J Evans #8: Yeah, but crediting her source would have been polite.

Teresa #3: Any reason you didn't just drop a comment on one of those posts?

#11 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 10:15 PM:

P J Evans -- Thank you for trying, but that's the cookie version. The confectionery version is a filbert that's "panned" like a jawbreaker, Lemonhead, or Atomic Fireball, only in vanilla fondant instead of a standard hard candy formulation. I think the fondant picks up some flavor from the filbert. Anyway, after that it's given a crusty, hardened coat of crystallized sugar.

So far, the closest I've come to finding a recipe is in this old source, and then only by implication: that thing they say you can do with walnuts, you can also do with filberts.

On the other hand, the search has led me to a full-scale traditional Milanese recipe for panettone. I've been trying to find one of those for my mother-in-law for years. Personally, I think the point of a recipe that requires two different yeast dough formulations running on two different schedules is to convince you to buy the ready-made versions imported from Milan, but my MIL does love to bake, and is very good at it.

#12 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 10:18 PM:

David, the joys of really old cookbooks:

From Three Meals a Day (subtitle 'The Great 20th Century Cook Book'), sometime before 1906 (the frontispiece is the San Francisco Call Building, which was at Market and Third)

Cream Almonds. - Prepare a cream according to the rule given for Chocolate Cream Drops, and form it by hand around the almond kernels, covering thickly. A crystallized appearance may be given by rolling them while moist in fine granulated sugar.

Chocolate Cream Drops. - 1/2 cupful of cream or cream and milk, half and half; 2 cupfuls white granulated sugar. Boil together five minutes. Set the dish into another of cold water and stir until hard enough to make into balls or any fancy mold preferred, first flavoring the cream with 80 drops of vanilla. With a fork roll each one of these separately prepared in chocolate. Put them on a sheet of brown paper to cool. This amount will make fifty drops the size of a large marble.

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 10:19 PM:

Teresa, does that antique recipe I just posted look more like it?

#14 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 10:25 PM:

David Harmon @10: Because I'd rather comment here, and because I was busy working out an explanation for Jo Walton about why I don't think her suggestion would work for my nut brickle recipe. It's one of those things that takes a long time to explain because you know it in your bones, not your head.

For the record, Jo's idea would have been a very good suggestion if my candy recipe were built around water content and crystallization, which most of them are. Instead, it's an odd waterless recipe that takes ten to fifteen minutes total (plus cooling time), and requires no measurements more precise than "less than one stick of butter."

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 10:35 PM:

P J Evans: OMG yes! You have a great cookbook collection.

Wow. Eighty drops of vanilla to two cups of sugar and half a cup of cream. They weren't being subtle about it, were they? I like that. In my own cooking, I usually double or triple the amount of vanilla called for.

Why are these people in Vermont going on about panning? What you're describing there should be sufficient, and it's not as though cream filberts come out perfectly spherical anyway.

#16 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 10:47 PM:

Teresa, that's one of the random books that my father seemed to buy just because they were old. (The book is missing its title page (Amazon has some copies and says it's from 1902), but the building photo caption is worth it: 'marble and granite and fireproof throughout'. Yeah, right: it burned.)

Also, he bought a copy of the Kansas Home Cook Book, by the Ladies of Leavenworth - mid 1880s.

#17 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2010, 10:51 PM:

Also, if I remember my basic glasswork (from high school), twenty drops is a milliliter, so 80 drops is a little more than 3/4 of a teaspoon.

#18 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 12:13 AM:

Apparently I'm allergic to hazelnuts. Alas for me. Otherwise I'd try making these. I haven't tried panning yet, but instructions for it are in the Annoying Candy Book.

#19 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 01:15 AM:

Teresa @ 3: hello.

Fragano's comment reminded me of a hymn-tune from my youth and send me over to Wikipedia to satisfy a curiosity about it which, in pre-Internet days, I'd never been able to satisfy.

From it I learnt two curious things : a) Fulbert of Chartres isn't a 'real' saint. He got called a saint because he was highly popular in Chartres; but never went through the beatification/sanctification process.

b) As well as writing one of the great Easter hymns, he apparently wrote humorous poetry in Latin.

I may now have to persuade our local mediaevalists to order a copy of 'The Correspondence and Poems of Fulbert of Chartres' for our university library. (I tried to Go Ogle it on Go Ogle Books; but the relevant bits are not on line.)

Alas, no inspiration about lions and snakes heads; and indeed the 'devouring depths' of Hell.

#20 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 08:16 AM:

Teresa: OK... if you don't mind, I'll drop a pointer over there.

In that old recipe: Notice the warning against adulterated sugar.... Also, way better hints and descriptions than many modern recipes. The following story about an overly-"neighborly" neighbor is also amusing!

#21 ::: The Department of Useless Information, (Amateur Bollandist Division) ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 10:21 AM:

Fragano@2, Teresa@3, pgbb@19:

St. Fulbert (who is not a proper saint) is apparently not to be confused with St. Philibert, who lived 3 centuries or so earlier, and is.

#22 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 12:24 PM:

TDoUI (ABD)#21: Fulberts do tend to be rather odd. There was l'abbé Fulbert Youlou (or as someone called him in Conor Cruise O'Brien's hearing, "l'abbé Vulgaire Filou") for example.

#23 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 02:02 PM:

And neither of them should be confused with Philbert Desanex. I didn't know he had a blog! But then, everyone does these days.

#24 ::: Pheidias ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 02:32 PM:

Yes, there was a dry spell for a time, but our mothballs are back in production in the last few years. I get them at Stever's Candy during the winter season. I happened to be in Rochester a few weeks ago on a Saturday and picked up three 7 oz. packages for $4.75 each.

Highly variable diameter, but that's ok.

#25 ::: Pheidias ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 02:51 PM:

The Stever's creamed filberts ingredients are Sugar, filbert nuts, corn syrup, and 2% or less of Tapioca dexetrin. Any recipe with eggs or flour is for something else. The old Good Housekeeping French fondant linked in #11 looks like it might be the right stuff, but I'm no expert.

Thanks for the links, folks. Nice to find some kindred creamed filbert lovers!

By the way, I think the Stever's price is lowest per ounce, depending on shipping cost.

#26 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 04:43 PM:

David Harmon #9:

Ginger Altoids are available from Amazon, including the 12-ct pack o'tins.

#27 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 05:25 PM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 22

So St, Fulbert was not a real saint and the Abbe Fulbert Youlou was not a real Abbe (he was defrocked while running for office). It seems as though there's a pattern there.

#28 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 06:34 PM:

joann #26: Hmm. Why are they not in my local stores anymore?

#29 ::: Bruce Cohen (Speaker to Managers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2010, 06:43 PM:

Tom Whitmore @ 23:

I didn't know he had a blog either, but I should have known that the Hog of Steel is capable of anything. And the Wikipedia article says that Gilbert Shelton now lives in Paris (France, not Texas), which I also did not know. See what happens when we don't keep track of our heroes?

#30 ::: larkey ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 07:14 AM:

Recalling making fondant by hand, which is challenging to say the least without special confectionery tools such as those bars that one can place on a pastry slab to keep syrup from running all over the place. The heat! The magic moment when one could safely work the transparent syrup into a pearlescent mass. I wish I could make cream filberts. I love hazelnuts.

You've all made me wistful for things not practical to do in my present latitude. le sigh.

#31 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 07:56 AM:

Oddity: Pheidias has actually posted two (2) comments to this thread - the second (which preceded the first) only appears if you click on his View by all?

#32 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 09:32 AM:

Mark D @31:

The first of Pheidias' comments (now number 24) was in the spam trap. I've fished it out and renumbered comments in the thread as needed.

#33 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 11:18 AM:

David Harmon #28:

I don't know why they disappeared, but it was widespread--hence my knowing where they *could* be found. (I got desperate a couple of years back.)

#34 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2010, 06:29 PM:

I must tell my father about this. He used to be a great fan of cream filberts.
One winter, we adulterated his mothballs with some particularly convincing plastic ants, which caused him to rush downstairs in his boxers and fling the bag (luckily, they were in a bag) into the kitchen wastebasket. Also luckily, the wastebasket had nothing noxious in it, and I was able to rescue the filberts and return them to his study, with the ants arranged in a marching formation in front.
Best Christmas vacation ever.

#35 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2010, 06:51 AM:

Praisegod Barebones #27: Then, of course, there was the celebrated canon of Notre Dame who had Abelard "chastré et puis moyne" as a result of his love for Héloïse.

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