Recipes

Fladen

Fladen. If you Google the word (and add “food” in the search as well, to avoid the fishing coveralls..), you’ll find modern pictures of flatbread pizza. Let this reassure you that some things don’t actually change (much).

Ein Buch von gutter spise, 1350, contains several fladen recipes, and the three I sourced specifically call for these basics: A mixture of meat and cheese, bound with egg, placed on a leaf of dough, which is then baked.

In two of these recipes, the meat is specifically “chopped small”, which, personally, calls to mind modern meatloaf — ground beef (and other things) bound with egg. Another two call for mixtures of both beef (belly, loin, sirloin, and rib meat) and chicken. The recipes I used aren’t overly specific about spices, though it appears salt and pepper were among the norm.

So, armed with this knowledge, I decided to Live The Dream and serve flatbread pizza at this pub-feast.

For 6 9×13″ pans of fladen, we used roughly 4lbs of skirt steak, 4lbs of chicken, 4lbs of bacon, 3 tubs of shaved Parmesan cheese, and less than one 5c bag of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Pick your dough recipe of choice, make it, and press it into an oiled pan. We next sprinkled basil and kosher salt over the crust, then began layering our meats. The steak and chicken had been cooked in salt, pepper, and garlic, and the bacon fried until just cooked, and I cut them all with kitchen shears before layering them. The cheeses came next, and they baked for about half an hour at about 400F. (Trust your dough recipe for the bake time.)

For this experiment, the flatbread dough recipe I’d chosen was not ideal, and it ended up a good deal thicker than I’d wanted, but was great for a thicker crust pizza. Bacon, of course, makes everything better, and I’ll absolutely be doing this again.

86. Einen fladenEin Buch von gutter spise
Der einen fladen machen wölle von fleische. der nem fleisch. daz do ge von dem lumbel oder von dem wenste. und nim knücken und daz daz wol gesoten werde. und hackez cleyne. und ribe halb als vil keses drunder. und mengez mit eyern. daz ez dicke werde. und würtzez mit pfeffer. und slahe ez uf ein blat von teyge gemacht und schiuz ez in einen ofen. und laz ez backen. und giv in dar also heiz.

He who wants to make a fladen of meat. He takes meat from the sirloin or of the belly. And take bony pieces of meat (possibly ribs) and that that becomes well boiled. And cut it small. And grate half as much cheese thereunder. And mix it with eggs, (so) that it becomes thick. and spice it with pepper and pound (put) it on a leaf made of dough and shove it in an oven and let it bake and give it there also hot.

87. Einen fladen (A fladen) Ein Buch von gutter spise
Aber einen fladen von wensten und von knucken wol gesoten. und rip aber als vil keses drunder. als vil des fleisches ist. und rüerez wol. und mengez with eyern. des viertels als vil hüener drunder gestrauwet. sie sint gesoten oder gebraten. dan mache alles uf ein blat von teyge. und schiuz in eynen ofen un laz backen. und give in also heiz hin für die herren. und versaltz niht. daz ist auch gut.

But a fladen of belly (meat) and of bony pieces of meat (possibly ribs) well boiled. And grate but as much cheese thereunder, as much as the meat is. And give it impetus well and mix it with eggs. A fourth as much hen thereunder sprinkled; it is boiled or roasted. Then make all on a leaf of dough and shove it in a oven and let it bake. And give it also hot out for the masters. And do not oversalt. That is also good.

92. Einen fladen (A fladen) – Ein Buch von gutter spise
Der einen fladen wölle machen von fleische von lumbeln gemacht. des siedez wol und hackez cleine. und ribe keses genue drin. und slahe eyer auch genue drin. und würtz ez wol. und machen ein blat von teyge gesetzt. dri ecken von basteln als ein schilt. in den fladen. und mit hüenren gefült. und versaltz niht. und gibz hin.

How one wants to make a fladen of meat of the loin. Boil that well and chop it small. And grate cheese enough therein. And beat eggs also enough therein. And spice it well. And put on a leaf made of dough. Three squares (or chevrons) of basteln as a shield in the cake. And with chicken filled. And do not oversalt. And give out.

Pipefarces

Let’s talk pipefarces.

Earlier this year, I had been lazily researching for an idea I’d had for a class, which essentially was how to pad your medieval menu with food that’s easily relatable to the modern palate. Several years ago, I’d discovered that whipped cream was a medieval treat, but discovering pipefarces blew that out of the water.

Take egg yolks and flour and salt, and a little wine, and beat together strongly, and cheese chopped in thin slices, and then roll the slices of cheese in the batter, and then fry in an iron skillet with oil in it. This can also be made using beef marrow.

Mozzarella sticks? In a medieval cookbook? Yes. Yes, mozzarella sticks, as we know and love them today, in Le Menagier de Paris, 1393.

The recipe is easy enough — roll cheese slices in a simple batter and fry them. For this feast, I had my kitchen staff dip the cheese in egg, then breadcrumbs, repeat that, and then place them in the hot oil. Though not the precise same method, this one is tried and true, and resulted in perfect mozzarella sticks. (I also pre-made some gluten-free mozz sticks using gluten-free breadcrumbs!) I’ll take the steps to combine the flour and egg mixture the next time I make these for an event.

Lord Ulrich Eisenhand and Rohesia Whytemere, my fry cooks! Photo by Lord Sasson della Sancta Victoria.

 

German Pear Tarts

Sir Ian Kennovan was elevated to the Order of the Laurel this weekend, and I had the honor of contributing to his reception food. Instead of my go-to meatballs, I decided to play around with something I’ll be making for my 16th century German feast at Helvetia — poached pears.

Sabina Welserin has eight recipes for pear tarts in her 1553 cookbook: one “exotic” tart, one Italian tart, and six decidedly German tarts (one is specifically for quinces but mentions that pears can be cooked the same way). The last six all have two of the same ingredients in common: sugar and cinnamon. Three of those six use raisins, three use cloves, three use wine, and one uses ginger. These are all common ingredients found used together throughout the entire cookbook, so I decided to combine them all into one tart. I also chose to poach the pears per recipe 113 instead of letting them fully bake in the oven given the smaller serving size and shorter oven-time.

To start, I peeled and poached seven anjou pears in about a bottle of cabernet sauvignon with sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, and I tossed in regular and golden raisins to rehydrate with them. After straining the fruit out of it, I let the wine reduce further and set it aside.

While the fruit cooled, I pre-heated the oven and made short paest loosely following the recipe found at Medieval Cookery. Saffron was omitted due to cost, but the rest of the recipe follows the same. Rub butter into all-purpose flour until it makes crumbs, then bind it with a bit of water and egg yolks. Don’t overwork it, and let it rest in the fridge. At this point I remembered that I don’t have a rolling pin, so I took the empty cabernet bottle and put it in the fridge to chill as well.

I then chopped the pears and tossed them (and the raisins) in more sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. I then floured my surface and my wine bottle/rolling pin, rolled out the crust, and pressed circles out for my tartlet pan. I then buttered the tartlet pan, pressed the crusts in, and sprinkled sugar over the bottoms of the crusts. I then spooned the fruit into the crusts, poured about a teaspoon of the mulled wine reduction over the fruit, and sprinkled with more sugar.

I baked these at 375* for about 15 minutes using 12-cavity non-stick tartlet pan. In between batches, I let the dough and the bottle chill in the fridge to keep the dough from getting too sticky. I also only made three dozen and had about 2 or 3 whole pears left over. I’ll probably make a large tart with the leftover fruit this week.

 

And here are Sabina Welserin’s (relevant) six pear tart recipes that I drew from:

73 A pear tart

Take pears and peel them and cut them into thin strips, take beef marrow, cinnamon, sugar and raisins and let it bake. If you do not have any marrow then use butter or another fat.

80 A pear tart

Cut out of each pear eight or twelve slices, according to how large the pear is, fry them in fat, take them after that and lay them nicely around the tart and sprinkle them under and over with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and raisins and let it bake.

87 To make a pear tart

Then take the pears and peel them and remove the cores and divide the pears into two parts and cut them into slices as wide as the pear is and turn them over in a little good flour. Then heat up some fat and roast them therein, until they are a little browned, afterwards prepare the pastry shell and lay them on top of it, close together. Take cinnamon, sugar and raisins mixed and sprinkle them on the crust and over the top of it, let it bake a while. After wards take Malavosia, put sugar into it and cinnamon, let it boil together, pour it over the tart and let it cook a short while.

107 To make a quince tart

Take quinces and cook them well and strain it and put sugar, cinnamon and strong wine thereon. Apple and pear tarts are made in the same way.

113 To make a good pear pudding

Cook the pears in good wine and strain them and put cinnamon, cloves and sugar therein and a toasted Semmel, then it is ready.

131 To make a pear tart

Take the pears and peel them, then fry them in fat, put them into a mortar and pound them well, put rose sugar and rose water in it, put ginger, cloves, cinnamon and sugar therein. Taste it, make a pastry shell as for other tarts, make no cover for the top and bake until crisp.

Tartlets for Laurencia’s Vigil

I was honored to have Baron Janos ask me to contribute tartlets for Laurencia’s vigil at Ice Dragon. I’m not overly familiar with medieval English food, so I relied on recipes from the good folks over at Medieval Cookery.

Photo by Sir Ian
Photo by Sir Ian.

I made well over 10 dozen tartlet crusts using their recipe Short Paest for Tartes (A Proper New Booke of Cookery, 1575). The recipe calls for 1 1/2c flour, half a stick of butter, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 tsp salt, a pinch of saffron, and ~ 1/2c water. After rubbing the butter into most of the ingredients, add water until the dough just sticks together. Let it rest, roll it out, and fill your pan with the dough. What I failed to notice was that I’d grabbed the self-rising flour instead of the all-purpose, so my tartlet crusts got a bit fluffy..

..which nixed the Ember Day Tarts from my planned offerings. So I went with the other two I’d planned: Chardewardon and Mon Amy.

Chardewardon (various 15th century books) is a light custard made by creating a “pear sauce” (as you would applesauce), then adding egg yolks to thicken it. The recipe calls for one egg yolk per pear, softened by simmering in wine. I added ginger and cinnamon while the pears softened, strained the liquid off, then added yolks and half the amount of sugar the recipe called for and simmered until it thickened. I grew frustrated with this recipe because it didn’t thicken as I’d expected it to in the pot, but rather thickened and sat up after cooling in the fridge overnight. The resulting custard is light and refreshing, and I’ll likely make it again for feasts and non-medieval functions.

Mon Amy (A Noble Boke of Cookry, 1468) is, essentially, a medieval cheesecake, and I chose it for this reason — who doesn’t like cheesecake? The recipe is more complex than the chardewardon by far, and I’m going to fiddle with it for future use. It calls for making fresh cheese, which is then strained per usual, and though I was wary of this step, I followed it anyway, and was met with the issue I’d anticipated.. Fresh cheese, after having the whey strained, is hard and crumbly. It doesn’t melt well, in my experience, and is..chewy. Simply “whisking until smooth” isn’t feasible, so I poured my hot cream and fresh cheese into a food processor and pulsed it a few times until the big chunks were reduced to..smaller ones. I returned the mixture to the pot and followed the rest of the directions.. However, the cream, sugar, honey, and yolks only thickened enough to create something like a thick porridge of fresh cheese curds, and it carmelized a bit as I prepared my ice bath to cool the pot down. (I’d thought it had scorched and was about to cry until I tasted it. Thankfully it hadn’t!) I wasn’t happy, but let it settle in the fridge overnight, and what I awoke to was a very dense, delicious cheesecake-like custard that needed to be softened a bit with heat before I could really spoon it into the tartlet shells. It wasn’t a disaster, but I’m going to revise my own methods for this recipe before serving it again.

Recipe: Subtlety – Lutefisk

I know what you’re thinking. “Lutefisk as a subtlety? Have you lost your mind?” The answer to that it yes, and probably. I call this a subtlety, because subtleties were food that was meant to be entertaining.

Here are three pieces of important background information for those may be unaware:

1. Lutefisk is a traditional Scandinavian dish of aged whitefish cured in lye, then cooked in some fashion. Some lovingly describe it as “putrid.”

2. Lutefisk was added to my Viking World Tour menu for White Hart in 2014, representing a dish from Iceland.

3. I like surprising people. And puns.

That last note is important. My co-feastocrat, Lady Odette, pulled off the execution flawlessly after I told her my idea. I heralded in the dish to increase the nervousness of my feast patrons, and had the servers hold the dish high when taking it out. It was served to HRM and the other tables at the same time, and the reactions were exactly what I had hoped for: groans and relieved laughter, because instead of preserved lye-fish, they got candy!

Here’s how you can force tasty puns upon your own friends!

image

Lutefisk Subtlety

Ingredients:
Chocolate for melting (bars or chips)
Swedish fish

Melt chocolate in a double-boiler, or in a metal bowl resting partially in a pot of hot water. Whisk to ensure there are no clumps, then pour into your choice of piping tools (or just some wax paper rolled into a cone). Pipe onto wax paper in the shape of a lute. Let cool, then decorate with Swedish fish. Enjoy the groans from your friends.

Stuffed Eggs Recipe

In the pursuit of foods that would be very recognizable to the modern palate for my 2013 Helvetia menu, I found myself with another 16th century German recipe, this time from the anonymous Mittelniederdeutsches Kochbuch. Christianne Muusers had already translated and adapted this recipe over at her blog Coquinaria, and I had great success with it. What’s not to love about medieval fried and ‘not-so-deviled’ eggs?

Stuffed Eggs

The original author used the Mittelniederdeutsches Kochbuch, as published by Hans Wiswe (edition 1956, p.36), recipe 32, and the Ehlerts translation in modern German, in the Kochbuch des Mittelalters, p.77.

32. Item wyltu maken halve eygere, de ghevullet syn, nym eigere unde sede de hart. Snyt se mydden eyntwey. Nym den doder dar uth den wytten. Stot de doder yn eynen moser. Wen se ghestot synt, so sla dartho roe eigere. Nym salvie unde krusemynte, peper unde safferan. Unde vulle den doder wedder yn dat wytte. So legge se in bottere unde brat se aff alle hart. Nym etick unde ander eygere. Make darover eyn gud so:et. Honnich, peper unde saffran do dartho. Solte dat tomathe. Unde giff dat hen

If you want to make halved eggs that are stuffed, take eggs and boil them hard. Cut them in two. Take the yolks from the whites. Pound the yolks in a mortar. When they are mashed, mix in raw eggs. Take sage and costmary, pepper and saffron. And stuff the yolks back in the whites. Then lay them in butter and bake them very well. Take vinegar and other eggs. Make a good sauce of these. Add honey, pepper and saffron. Salt to taste. And serve it forth.

Modern Recipe:

6 hardboiled eggs
Butter

1 raw egg
The yolks of the hardboiled eggs
4 leaves mint, finely chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp saffron (bruised in 1/2 Tbsp hot water)

2 eggs
2 to 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp clear honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

Peel the hardboiled eggs and cut them in half length-wise. Take the yolks and mash them together well, then add the raw egg, the chopped herbs, and the spices (and water). Prepare your sauce by gently mixing your eggs, vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper.

Melt your butter in a pan over medium heat and fry the eggs, stuffing-side down first, for a few minutes on each side. Move them to a baking dish, pour the sauce over them, and finish in the oven at 300*F for 15min. Serve warm.

Strauben Recipe

As published in Æthelmearc’s unofficial companion to the Æstel, the Æstel Æxtra:

Recipe: Strauben
by Lady Astridr Vigaskegg

Strauben in the German equivalent of funnel cake. It was recorded in 1553 by a lady named Sabina Welserin in her cookbook, Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin. It is served with snow (whipped cream) and fruit preserves.

86 If you would bake a good fried Strauben

Then bring water to a boil and pour it on the flour, stir it together well, beat eggs into it and salt it, take a small Strauben funnel, which should have a hole as wide as a finger, and let the batter run through and fry the Strauben. The batter should be warm.

Modern Recipe:

1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3 2/3 c all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/4 c white sugar
2 c milk

Mix salt, baking powder, and half the flour, then set aside.

Cream eggs, sugar, and milk. Add dry mix and beat until smooth. Add flour until desired consistency is reached. Remember, this has to run through a funnel!

Heat the oil to about 375*F, and pour in batter through funnel. Fry until golden brown, and use tongs (and maybe a spatula) to flip the cake. Drain on paper towels, then serve.