What Is The Original 1860s Tom & Jerry Batter Recipe by Jerry Thomas?
For knowledge and posterity, this is the Original 1860s Jerry Thomas recipe for the Tom and Jerry from his 1862 Edition of The Bartenders Guide.
- 12 Eggs
- 8 cups (2 kg) of sugar
- 2 oz (60 mLs) gold rum
- 1 tsp (2.5 g) ground cloves
- 1 tsp (2.5 g) ground allspice
- 1 tsp (2.5 g) ground cinnamon
Separate the egg whites and yolks. Add the spices and sugar to the egg whites and beat the whites to a stiff meringue. Beat the egg yolks to thin them out and then mix them with the meringue.
What Is The Difference Between The Original Tom And Jerry Bater Recipe And This Improved One?
The only difference between the original Tom & Jerry recipe and this one is that I halved the sugar and added cornstarch to the meringue. My goal was to maintain the original flavor and spirit of the drink while using a little science to stabilize it. I did quite a few experiments, and the issue with the original recipe is that you can not use hot water or hot milk because it will cook the egg whites and curdle the meringue—only warm water will work. This is a common issue for desserts like flan and soufflé and why they are cooked in water baths to prevent them from getting too hot or tempered and constantly whisked like Hollandaise. The trick to maintaining the original Tom and Jerry flavor and making it so that the drink does not curdle when hot water is added is to make this like a custard. Adding a small amount of thickened cornstarch will not change the drink’s flavor or texture and prevents the egg proteins from binding into scrambled eggs. This is specifically a technique for stabilizing Boston Cream fillings.
Cornstarch is a stabilizer in the dextrin family. One of the properties of dextrins is that they stabilize proteins from denaturing and binding together in high heat and acidic environments. It is also flavor neutral (unlike other dextrins like all-purpose flour) and does not need to be cooked before use. By adding a small cornstarch slurry, this improved version is true to the original’s flavor and texture while being able to be rapidly heated without issue. I also reduced the sugar, as it was just too sweet, in my opinion. That all comes down to personal preference, though.
Should I Make A Tom & Jerry With Butter or Heavy Cream?
Most modern Tom and Jerry recipes have butter, or heavy cream added, but that was not part of the original recipe. These recipes are good, but they are a bit too thick. Too close to egg nog in texture and taste. What makes the classic recipe so nice is its flavorful and light. Not too thin and not too thick. Like the addition of warm milk instead of water, the idea of using butter and heavy cream is to add extra creaminess to the drink. And don’t get me wrong, these recipes are good too, but the appeal of a Tom And Jerry is its mousse-like texture.
Should You Buy Tom & Jerry Batter Or Make It?
A jar or bucket of Tom & Jerry batter is oddly expensive, considering these are ingredients you probably have in your fridge right now. It’s mostly a midwest drink too, so it’s hard to find if you don’t live in the midwest. Making Tom and Jerry Batter does require some baking skills, too, as the meringue is not the easiest ingredient to make right, and you will need an electric mixer of some sort (a hand mixer is fine, it doesn’t have to be one of those larger KitchenAid ones). Do not try and make this by hand with a balloon whisk. Making meringue with a whisk is almost impossible. It would help if you had an egg beater or electric mixer; otherwise, your forearms will be on fire.
Again, if you do not live in the midwest, you are forced to make this yourself, but even if you do, a homemade Tom and Jerry Batter is worth it. Better product, you know what you put in it, easily adjust the sweetness to your taste, much cheaper to make it than buy it, and it only takes about 15 minutes to complete.
NOTE: If what you are looking for is the Tom & Jerry drink recipe the link for that is here. Also, the video attached to this recipe below provides simple step-by-step instructions to make the batter and drink.