16th century

Wine Jellies

Like most modern Americans, the term ‘aspic’ conjures images of horrific molded ham and pea gelatin creations from 60’s-era cookbooks, and even sweet jello has fallen largely out of popularity. So when I was served aspic at a feast a few years ago, and fish aspic at that, I hesitated, but was overwhelmingly pleasantly surprised when I gave it a fair shot. So when I kept coming across aspics in my recipe research a few years later, instead of skipping them, I bookmarked them for later when I was ready to work up to them. As I continued, I was extremely pleased to find what I’d decided would be my starting point: something simple and familiar to me as a former college student: Wine jellies, or as we laughingly termed them, medieval jello shots.

The concept of what I consider this basic, ‘foundation’ jelly is very simple: Prepare sweet mulled wine, add the gelling agent, let it cool, and serve.

The Research

Master chef Lancelot de Casteau wrote in Ouverture de Cuisine (1604, France):

To make jelly.

Take a pot of white wine, & chafe it very hot, then put therein three quarters of a pound of sugar, one ounce of cinnamon, one ounce of nutmeg, & one ounce of coarsely ground ginger, & put it therein to temper the hot wine, & let it sit three or four hours, then pass the wine through a strainer, at the end to have the spices removed, then have a bag of white cloth like those used to strain hippocras, then cast into the wine three spoons of cow’s milk, & have a little handful of coarsely ground almonds without peels, put them into the bag, then pass the wine through the bag two or three times, until it becomes clear, & take two ounces of good husblat [isinglass?] well washed, & put them to boil with a little wine & water, until well melted, then cast it into the wine, when it is passed, through the bag it will make the prize of the jelly: when the jelly is half cold cast it into plates, & let cool until it becomes firm. Note if it doesn’t become at all firm enough, adding more husblat will help, because it could be that the husblat isn’t as good as others.

Master chef Bartolomeo Scappi wrote an extensive passage in his Opera (1570) regarding wine jelly that details making the it from calves’ feet, how to prepare it in a variety of vessels and moulds, and even using it in a syringe to decorate other moulded jellies. I haven’t included it here because it’s a couple pages’ worth of material, but for those who own the Terence Scully book, you can find it in Book II p. 258 – 241.  To prepare jelly from wether’s and calf’s feet, with which you can fill various moulds and egg shells.

We find in Nyeuwen Coock Boeck (1560, Netherlands):

2.16. To make a jelly of one quarter (liquid measure) wine

One should add two lead ginger, one lead cinnamon, a half lead nutmeg, a half lead cloves, a half lead grains of paradise, a quarter lead saffron, and some sugar, a half lead liquorice (?see glossary), 3 lead thickening, a half lead galanga. First one should cook the thickening with wine, than one must strain it. The spices one must crush and let it steep in the wine. Then one must strain it through a cloth and [add] salt to it. Then one must boil it together and let it settle (=gelatinize).

2.21. To make jelly of a quart wine

Take 4 lead thickening and steep it in wine. Then cook it in a pan and stir to prevent burning and strain it through a sieve. Then take 1 quarter lead cloves, one quarter lead nutmeg, 1 quarter lead galanga, a half lead ginger, 1½ lead cinnamon [and] an eighth lead saffron. Crush this in a mortar not a lot, and pour it in the wine. Bring it to the boil in a new earthenware pot, let it cool, and pour it several times through a wine cloth. Then take 2 lead syrup  with which one colours it, and mingle it with the strained wine. Then take wine and thickener and pour it in the pot and bring it once more to the boil. Stir to prevent burning, then strain it through a cloth and pour it in the dishes.

Note: Turnsole is red cloth with which one can colour red every thing one wants.

The Recipe

Isinglass is a gelatin made from fish bladders and is modernly only readily available from brewing suppliers. In this form, it is mixed with citric acid, among other things, because it used as a clarifying agent, and so it is not a viable modern method to make jelly. Boiling animal hooves in my rental apartment is also not viable, so modern unflavored gelatin packets are the most practical gelatin to use for modern cooks.

I also used a ratio of 1 cup liquid per 3 packages of gelatin, which produces a soft ‘gummy’. In this trial, I learned that 0.75oz of gelatin is enough to produce a solid red wine gummy that holds its form well, but 0.75oz of gelatin makes a more runny white wine gummy — so in the future, a full 1.0 oz of gelatin will be used in the white wine to maintain its shape (and also provide an easier release from the mould).

In the medieval and Renaissance periods, moulds would have been made from pewter or wood. For food safety and practical reasons, my moulds are made of silicone and can be purchased from Amazon or Michael’s.

Ingredients

1 c white wine (steeped in nutmeg, ginger, galangal, and cinnamon to taste)
1 c red wine (steeped in cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and galangal to taste)
Granulated sugar (to taste)
7 .25oz unflavored gelatin packets

This recipe prepares 2 batches – one white wine batch, one red one batch. Each batch is enough to fill more than 2 trays of gummies.

Directions

Bring wine, spices, and sugar to boil, then set aside to steep for a couple of hours. When ready to use it, strain out the spices – it usually takes 2-3 passes through a cloth for the liquid to run clear.

Put the wine mixtures back in their pots, then bring to a boil again. Mix in 3 packages of gelatin into the red wine and 4 packages of gelatin into the white wine, whisking until thoroughly blended. Spoon or pour into moulds, then chill.

Briefly set the moulds in a shallow pan of warm water for 5-10 seconds to assist in releasing the gelatin. (The warm water melts the gelatin, so don’t let them sit too long in hot water!)

Sources

Myers, Daniel. 2012. Translation of “Ouverture de Cuisine” based on the transcription by Thomas Gloning et. al. http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/ouverture.html

Muusers, C. and Gerard Vorselman. Nyeuwen Coock Boeck, (KANTL Gent 15) (1560); Een nieuw zuidnederlands kookboek uit de vijftiende eeuw. Scripta 17. (transl. of title: A new southern Dutch cook book from the fifteenth century). http://www.coquinaria.nl/kooktekst/KA15Gent02.htm

Scully, Terence. 2011. The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570).

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Candied Egg Yolks – Yemas de Santa Teresa

I often find myself clicking through recipes I find online, and I find myself wandering down so many rabbit holes of information that I forget where it was I started. Such is how I found myself reading articles about modern egg yolk preservation, which lead me eventually to a Spanish candy called Yemas de Santa Teresa. It’s a simple, cute little soft candy made simply of egg yolks cooked in simple syrup, then formed into balls and rolled in sugar, sometimes dusted with cinnamon or lemon zest. Wikipedia (and what seems like a thousand blurbs that have simply regurgitated the information there) was the first stop on the trail: Spanish claims. Philippine derivations. Medieval origins.

Medieval? Great! But where?! When?! The commercialization of this treat in 1860 Ávila is great and all, but how far back does this actually go?

Unfortunately for me, my modern Spanish is limited and my Old Spanish is nonexistent, so for my online research, I had to rely on translations and/or a lot of Ctrl + F “yemas.” Walls were hit. Frustration abounded. Then I remembered something: Sweetened eggs are everywhere in medieval cuisine after the introduction of sugar:

Menagier de Paris 1393:

“OMELETTE FRIED WITH SUGAR. Take out all the whites and beat the yolks, then put some sugar in a frying-pan and let it melt, and then fry your yolks in it, then put on a plate, with sugar on them.”

And hadn’t I just seen something like this somewhere else recently?

Master Chef Bartolomeo Scappi served something like them in his 1570 Opera:

Book VI – 152. To poach eggs in sugar.
When some sugar has been clarified, put it into a silver or well-tinned copper saucepan, or into silver dishes, and heat it up. When the sugar is hot, put egg yolks into it along with a little rosewater. Give it heat from above with either a hot shovel or tourte pan lid. Serve those eggs in the same pan with sugar and cinnamon over them. You can also cook the whites with them.

Master Chef Lancelot de Casteau served them in the 1604 Ouverture de Cuisine:

To make English eggs.
Take a dozen egg yolks well beaten, a little sugar therein: then take melted sugar in a little pot: when it begins to boil take the beaten egg yolks, put them through a strainer, & let run into the boiling syrup: that the syrup will be covered therein, when well cooked on one side turn to the other: when well cooked take them out, & make three or four pieces so, & put on a plate three or four.

..English? Well, let’s hop over channel to see what we can find there…

1575 A Proper New Booke of Cookery calls them ‘Eggs in moonshine’:

“To make egges in mone shine. Take a dishe of rose water, and a dishe full of suger, and set them upon a chafingdish, and let them boile, then take the yolkes of 8. or 9. egges newlaid, and put them therto, every one from other, and so let them harden a little, and so after this maner serve them forth, and cast a little Cinnamon and suger.”

Finding that these candies were definitely made by top chefs in the Renaissance was great and all, but.. I still didn’t have anything that could point back to Spain, which I really felt was half of my goal. Giving up on my Google-fu, I called upon The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets, which not only gave me a Spanish reference for this… but also a Portuguese reference to egg yolk sweets and their ovos moles.

“Ovos Moles
Considered one of the best-loved and most distinctive of Portuguese desserts, ovos moles (soft eggs) was created by the nuns of Aveiro, in the northern Beira Litoral province. Originally consisting of only egg yolks, sugar, and water,a modern variation substitutes rice flour for some of the yolks. …”

So, back to the internet I went, and I found another version of this

A Treatise of Portuguese Cuisine from the 15th Century; This Translation by Fernanda Gomes is based on a translation of ” Um tratado da cozinha portuguesa do século XV” at the Biblioteca Virtual – Miguel D Cervantes.

Canudos de ovos mexidos

Misturem as gemasde ovos e deitem-nas a cozer em calda rala, sem mexer, para que não se quebrem.Façam uma massa, bem sovada, de farinha de trigo, manteiga, água-de-flor e umapitada de açafrão. Em seguida abram-nocom um rolo, comopara pastel, façam os canudos e fritem-nos. Recheiem então os canudos com o doce de ovos já pronto, e passem-nospela calda de açúcar. Polvilhem comaçúcar e canela.

Beaten egg tubes

Beat egg yolks and scant syrup (I’m not sure if this refers to the overall amount or to the proportion of sugar to water),without stirring, so they won’t break. Make a dough, well kneaded, with wheat flour, butter, flower water and a pinch of salt. Next open it with a rolling pin as for pastries, make the tubes and fry them. Then fill the tubes with the already prepared egg sweet and dip them in the sugar syrup. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

At this point, I really couldn’t believe that I’d found my way through the rabbit hole in English and had managed to reach my destination without a crash course in Spanish and Portuguese vocabulary. Though not as in-depth as I’d have liked, I was able to trace the spread of this specific kind of sweet, and it is completely plausible that it was introduced earlier and just not documented, or else it lies in a book somewhere that hasn’t been translated or digitized.

So, armed with this knowledge, and a few Spanish YouTube videos for practicality’s sake, I set about the hands-on part of this project.

Recipe

Ingredients

12 egg yolks
1 c granulated sugar
3/4 c water
Powdered sugar

Directions

Combine the sugar and water, and cook over high heat until the syrup reaches soft ball stage, at about 235F. (You can test this without a thermometer by dropping a little syrup into cold water.)

Let the syrup cool slightly while you mix the yolks, then put the syrup back over low heat. Slowly pour the yolks into the syrup, whisking constantly. As the yolks cook, the mixture will pull away from the sides and become a thick paste. Let it cool on a plate.

With powdered sugar on your fingers to keep the paste from sticking, form small balls and roll them in powdered sugar, then serve.

Unfortunately, I only got one good photo of them on display at Kingdom A&S Faire, shortly before they disappeared…

16th Cent. Italian Lip Balms

A few years ago, someone on an online forum I belonged to asked the question, “What did people in medieval times do for chapped lips?”, and I went searching for an answer for them. I found this book, The Secretes of the Reverende Maister Alexis of Piemont, 1558, translated to English from the 1557 French version.

I had no experience making my own cosmetics when I started these projects, but they were easy enough to work out even with the medieval recipes provided. I will be revisiting both of these balms in the future to experiment with consistencies. I also included the only other recipe for lip balm included in this book for information and posterity’s sake.

Violet Lip Balm

Recipe:

p. 146 – (301/736 in web view)
“To heale lippes that be cleft and full of chinkes, by meanes of cold or wind.
Take gum arabicke and Dragant, as muche of the one as of the other, and make pouder of it, and incorporate it with oile of violets, and anoint your lippes therewith.”

Notes:

Dragant is the medieval term for gum tragacanth. (http://www.thousandeggs.com/glossary.html#gum%20Tragacanth)

Redaction:

Violet Lip Balm

  1. Take equal parts of powdered gum Arabic and powdered gum tragacanth and mix. Hydrate with water until the desired consistency is reached. Add a few drops of violet oil and mix.

The resulting ‘balm,’ which I would rather refer to as a very wet gum paste, is tacky as it dries, but absolutely seals chinks on the lips. It is more difficult to remove than wax-based lip balm, and left my lips feeling smooth and moisturized after I wiped it off. Because of the consistency I reached with this batch, I would feel comfortable calling this balm more medicinal than cosmetic.

 

Tinted Lip Balm

Recipe:

p. 303 – (614/736 in web view)
“Against chappings of the lippes, and of the heads of womens brests.
Take the brain of a goose, and meddle it with the brains of an Hart, and anoint the lips: or els take of Litarge of silver, of Myrrha, of ginger, of eche as you please: and make thereof pouder, and with Virgin waxe, honie and oile olive, as much as sufficeth, make an ointment, which will be marvelous. But before you lay on the ointment, wash y lips, with spittle, and then with a litle peece of Linnen cloth, lay the ointment upon the griefe.
Take Ink and mixe it with the powder of Hermodactiles, and lay it upon them: and in the beginning take Sal armoniacke and beate it finely, and lay of the powder upon the griefe.”

Notes:

  • Maister Alexis approached this recipe with a sense of humor – first stating to blend goose and hart brains, but then gives us a quite lovely recipe for a tinted cosmetic.
  • “Litarge of silver” is lead monoxide, which lends the red-orange lip and cheek color found in Renaissance cosmetics. Because we now know about lead poisoning, I have chosen to substitute iron oxide in its place, which is an acceptable natural substitute to retain the red-orange color that is used in modern homemade cosmetics.
  • Hermodactiles, or hermodactylus, is Iris tuberosa, also called snake’s-head iris or black iris.

Redaction:

Tinted Lip Balm

  1. Prepare balm containers by opening and setting near work space.
    Combine 1/32 tsp iron oxide, 1/32 tsp ginger, 1/32 tsp myrrh gum powder and set aside.
  2. Take 1 Tbsp of beeswax pellets, 7 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 Tbsp of honey, and combine in the upper bowl of a double-boiler. (I used a small glass jar suspended in a pot of boiling water.) Stir until the wax melts completely and the ingredients are blended.
  3. Stir in dry ingredients.
  4. Pour into container(s) and let cool.

After some experimentation, I found that roughly a 1:7 ratio of beeswax to olive oil creates an ideal consistency (with a good melting point) for lip balm. The sediments ultimately sank to the bottom of the mixture, but enough pigment was still suspended to lend a tint to the lips.

 

Lees Balm

I have not redacted this recipe, but chose to include it because it is actually the second recipe listed in this book for chapped lips.

Recipe:

p. 270 – (549/736 in web view)

“Against the chapping of the lips.

Take dried lees of white wine called tartar, and burn them in the fire, and temper them with rosin and grease of an hen, or duck, medled with a little honie, and so use it.”

 

Citations

Ruscelli, Girolamo, d. ca. 1565; Ward, William, 1534-1609. The secrets of the reverend Maister Alexis of Piemont : containing excellent remedies against diverse diseases, wounds, and other accidents, with the maner to make distillations, parfumes, confitures, dying, colours, fusions, and meltings. https://archive.org/details/secretsofreveren00rusc

Pimontese, Alessio. 1555; 1682 edition. De’ secreti del R. D. Alessio Piemontese. Parti quattro. Nuovamente ristampati, e da molti errori ricorretti. Con quattro tavole copiosissime per trovare i rimedi con ogni facilità. https://web.archive.org/web/20070617103524/http://www.abocamuseum.it/bibliothecaantiqua/Book_View.asp?Id_book=76

Whole Apple Pie & Hot Water Lard Crust

One of the perks of entering into Ice Dragon is that I have new content for my blog, mostly ready for web viewing. This year was the first year I’d really entered anything on my own, and I had three submissions: a pie, two lip balms, and hippocras. My documentation was rushed because of some real-life obligations, but just fine for the purposes of a blog, and not only was I happy with my execution of these entries, but the feedback was nice as well.

I’ve been excited to make this pie. Because quinces are hard to come by where I live, I substituted apples (which are found elsewhere in the book with similar spices and cooked in similar ways). The apples are peeled and cored, roasted in butter, then stuffed with currants, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. A sauce of the same spices, wine, and animal fat is poured atop them. (I used bacon fat, because that is what I had on-hand.) The apples are placed in a coffin crust, which the author references earlier in the book.

I’ve included here the German recipes from Stopp and the English translations from Armstrong, found on David Friedman’s website.

The Original Pie

<<68>> Ain basteten von kittine zú machen

Schelt die kittine vnnd holdert die pútzen rain saúber heraús mit ainem eisselin, bacht sý jn ainem schmaltz/ darnach filt die kittine mit weinberlach, zúcker, zimerrerlach, negellen, darnach nempt das marck von ainem oxen oder ain nierenfaistin hackt klain oder ain abscheffet, das faist von ainem flesch/ vnnd thiet daran gúten malúasier oder rainfal, zúcker, rerlach, negellen, wie eúch gút dúnckt, den taig zú der pasteten fint jr no [61], wie jr jn machen solt.

68 To make a quince pie 

Peel the quinces and cut the core cleanly out with a knife, fry them in fat. After that stuff the quinces with currants, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Afterwards take beef marrow or finely chopped kidney suet or skimmed fat from some other meat and put ood Malavosia or Reinfal on it, sugar, cinnamon and cloves, however it seems good to you. The dough for the pie is found in number [sixty one].

The Crust

<<61>> Ain pastetentaig zú machen zú allen auffgesetzten pasteten

Nempt ain mell, das pest, so jr bekomen múgen, vngefarlich 2 gút gaúffen oder darnach jr die grosß oder klain haben welt, thiets auff den disch vnnd riert 2 air mit ainem messer daran vnnd saltzt ain wenig, macht jn ainem pfenndlin ain wasser vnnd wie 2 gúte air grosß schmaltz, last es als anainander ergan vnnd sieden/ darnach schit es an das obgemelt mell ob dem disch vnnd mach ain starcken taig vnnd arbait jn woll, wie dich gút dúnckt, wan es jm somer jst, músß man an des wasser stat ain fleschbrie nemen vnnd an des schmaltz stat ain abscheffet von der súpen nemen, wan der taig gearbait jst, so machent jn zú ainer rúnden kugel vnnd thenet jn fein mit den fingern vornen aus oder mit ainem walgelholtz/ das jn der mit ain hechin beleib, darnach lands erstaren an der keltin, darnach setzent daig aúf, jn maß jch eúch gezaigt hab/ aúch balten ain taig zú der teckin vnd welget jn zú ainer deckin vnnd nempt ain wasser vnnd bestreichts oben an der deckin vnnd oben an der aúffgesetzten pasten vnnd thiets mitt den fingern woll zusamen, last an ainem ort ain klain lechlin, vnd das es woll zúsamengedruckt sey, das nicht offenstand/ blassen jn das lechlin, das jr gelassen habt, so wirt die deckin hibsch aúfflaúffen, so trúcken das lechlin von stúnd an zú, darnach thits jn offen, set vor ain mell aúff die schissel/ secht, das jr den offen recht haitzt, so wirt es ain schene pasteten, also macht man all aúffgesetzt pasteten den taig.

61 To make a pastry dough for all shaped pies 

Take flour, the best that you can get, about two handfuls, depending on how large or small you would have the pie. Put it on the table and with a knife stir in two eggs and a little salt. Put water in a small pan and a piece of fat the size of two good eggs, let it all dissolve together and boil. Afterwards pour it on the flour on the table and make a strong dough and work it well, however you feel is right. If it is summer, one must take meat broth instead of water and in the place of the fat the skimmings from the broth. When the dough is kneaded, then make of it a round ball and draw it out well on the sides with the fingers or with a rolling pin, so that in the middle a raised area remains, then let it chill in the cold. Afterwards shape the dough as I have pointed out to you. Also reserve dough for the cover and roll it out into a cover and take water and spread it over the top of the cover and the top of the formed pastry shell and join it together well with the fingers. Leave a small hole. And see that it is pressed together well, so that it does not come open. Blow in the small hole which you have left, then the cover will lift itself up. Then quickly press the hole closed. Afterwards put it in the oven. Sprinkle flour in the dish beforehand. Take care that the oven is properly heated, then it will be a pretty pastry. The dough for all shaped pastries is made in this manner.

Welserin’s Apple Pie

Ingredients:

Filling:
3 Gala apples
Butter
Handful dried currants
Cloves
Cinnamon
Sugar
Raisins
Sauce:
½ c red wine
¼ c white sugar
Cloves
Cinnamon
Bacon fat 
Crust: (makes enough for bottom crust and lid)
3 c all-purpose flour (plus more for surface)
4 oz butter (1 stick)
4 oz lard
1/3 c water
Salt
1 egg, beaten

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Peel and core apples, but try not to puncture the bottom of the apple. (A melon baller works great for scooping out the core and seeds.) Butter baking pan, and rub butter over and in apples. Roast apples until soft.
  3. Make your crust: Prepare your flour and salt in a bowl, making a well for the liquid. Melt the butter and lard in the water, then pour into the well. Mix the dough with a spoon, then work by hand. Separate two pieces, one for the bottom crust, one for the lid. Roll it out while warm, then lay out the bottom crust in your pie plate or small springform pan. Don’t be afraid to piece the dough together if it falls apart!
  4. Place the roasted applies into the pie crust. Combine spices, sugar, and currants. Stuff apples with currants, reserve some sugar and spice blend. Add raisins to bottom of crust (just for fun!).
  5. Warm wine with sugar, spices, and bacon fat in sauce pan. Pour sauce over all fruit.
  6. Roll out the lid, then pinch crusts together. Make a hole in the lid with a wooden spoon.
  7. Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes, then add an egg wash to the top crust and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

 

 References

The Cookbook of Sabina Welserin, English translation by Valoise Armstrong. Published online by David Friedman. 1998. http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Sabrina_Welserin.html

Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin. Hg. von Hugo Stopp. Mit einer Übersetzung von Ulrike Gießmann. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter Heidelberg, 1980 (Germanische Bibliothek: N.F.: Reihe 4, Texte). http://www.staff.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/sawe.htm

Beef and Bacon Pie

Ah, winter. The time of research, respite, and repair. I’ve spent much of it knee-deep in a few different books researching pies in their various forms, so when Lord Olaf Steinabrjotr approached me to make something for Æthelmearc Region One Twelfth Night, I responded with, “How about a pie?” It would, in theory, be the prize for a heavy combat tournament or a feat of strength competition, so I asked myself what typical manly fighter-types like the most. Beef. Bacon. Beer. And probably more bacon.

Easy enough. My mind went immediately to the Beef and Bacon Pies found over at Inn at the Crossroads.

She uses and redacts a 16th century English recipe from A Propre New Booke of Cokery, 1545, but I found this recipe to be lacking in the spices that my palate craves for this. So I went searching through my beloved resource, The Cookbook of Sabina Welserin (published 1553 — merely 8 years of difference here), and went searching for her own take on beef pies.

Here are the recipes I used for reference:

A Propre New Booke of Cokery, 1545, per Inn at the Crossroads:

To make Pyes.

Pyes of mutton or beif must be fyne mynced & seasoned with pepper and salte and a lytel saffron to colour it, suet or marrow a good quantitie, a lytell vynegre, pruynes, great reasons, and dates, take the fattest of the broath of powdred beefe.

Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, 1553: 

120 If you would make a game pie, which should be warm

Lard the game well and cook it and make a formed [pastry] dish and lay in it preserved limes and cinnamon sticks and currants and lay the game therein and also put beef suet into it and a little Malavosia and let it cook. This pie is better warm than cold.

152 To make a good roast

Take veal or a sirloin of beef, lay it overnight in wine, afterwards stick it on a spit. Put it then in a pot. Put good broth therein, onions, wine, spices, pepper, ginger and cloves and let it cook therein. Do not over salt it.

68 To make a quince pie

Peel the quinces and cut the core cleanly out with a knife, fry them in fat. After that stuff the quinces with currants, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Afterwards take beef marrow or finely chopped kidney suet or skimmed fat from some other meat and put good Malavosia or Reinfal on it, sugar, cinnamon and cloves, however it seems good to you. The dough for the pie is found in number [sixty one].

Given that marrow bones are difficult to come by for me, I opted to follow the Inn at the Crossroads recipe and swap bacon in for it. However, unlike that recipe, I absolutely reserved the bacon fat — though the flavor profile of this pie is inherently different because of the bacon, the richness is still there because of that reserved fat. I added currants, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon to the English recipe, ultimately turning this pie into something inherently more German for the time. I then tucked it all into a standard short paste crust and made a thickened sauce with the plentiful drippings. The end result was much sweeter than I’d anticipated because of the dates, but ultimately exactly what I’d wanted: a hearty 16th century pie.

 

Astrid’s Beef and Bacon Pie

For the pie:
2 lbs beef roast
6 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
Handful dried currants
Handful raisins
Handful dates, seeded and chopped
Powdered ginger
Powdered cloves
Powdered cinnamon
Salt
32 oz Beef Broth
1/4 c red wine vinegar, approximately
1 c water, approximately
Flour or cornstarch

For 1 crust:
2 c flour, approx.
1 c butter, cubed
Pinch salt
Ice water

  1. Cube beef, then sear on all sides in pan. Set aside.
  2. Chop bacon, fry in pot. Do not strain fat. Add beef, dried fruit, spices, beef broth, vinegar and water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until liquid is reduced and beef is tender.
  4. Set the meat and fruit aside, straining all solids from the liquid. Separate about 1/4 c of the liquid from the rest.
  5. Add flour or cornstarch to thicken, stirring over low heat until desired consistency is reached.
  6. Prepare short crust (2 batches if you want the crust and a lid), blind-baking the bottom crust at 350*F for 10-15 min.
  7. Add meat and fruit and the reserved 1/4 c liquid. Cover with lid; press crusts together and poke a hole in the lid.
  8. Bake at 350*F until crust begins to brown. Add an egg wash and bake for another 5-10 min.
  9. Pour warmed gravy into the pie through a funnel into the hole in the middle, then serve.

Chicken, Bacon, and Grape Pie

The second pie/tart I taught at the September All Thing in Port Oasis was also from Sabina Welserin’s cookbook. I made this tart in hand-pie form several years ago and was pretty impressed with it, so I decided to give it a go again for this kitchen. I used chicken thighs instead of small birds, added ginger, and cooked it all in white wine before putting it between short paest crusts. The next time I make this, I think I’ll make a wine sauce with drippings to pour in the crust’s slits when I pull the pie to do the egg wash on the top crust.

98 If you would make a pastry with small birds

Take a plentiful number of birds and make a layer of birds and a layer of bacon slices, until the pastry is filled. Also put a few grapes into it. And let it bake a little and put a small drop of good wine thereon and then it is ready. If you have no fresh butter, then use beef suet.

Chicken, Bacon, and Grape Pie

Ingredients (for 2 pie fillings):
~2lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Butter
White wine
Salt
Ginger
2 handfuls grapes, halved
1 package bacon

Trim excess fat from chicken thighs, then roughly chop thighs in halves or thirds. Butter pan over medium heat, add chicken, salt, and ginger to taste. Brown  on both sides, then add white wine and simmer. When liquid is mostly gone, remove chicken, then add grapes and a few slices of bacon. Cook grapes until the bacon is lightly cooked, but still tender, then set both aside. Cook the rest of the bacon until tender. Arrange chicken in a layer on the bottom of the prepared pie crust, then a few small pats of butter on top, then grapes, and cover with bacon. Pour wine drippings over it all, then cover with top crust. Serve leftover bacon to kitchen staff. Bake at 350*F (for 10 minutes in a convection oven); remove to put egg wash on top crush, then finish (for another 5 minutes in a convection oven).

An Apple Tart

Yesterday I was invited back to the Shire of Port Oasis to teach another hands-on cooking class at their September All Thing. This time, we made two tarts from Sabina Welserin’s Cookbook: 79 An Apple Tart and 98 If You Would Make A Pastry With Small Birds. Together, my Happy Kitchen Helpers™ and I made short paest crust and filling for four pies, which we ate with the rest of the shire at the end of the day.

I made two slight modifications to this recipe, neither of which are uncommon for this cookbook: I added ginger and cooked the apples and raisins in wine, both of which I will definitely do again.

 

79 An apple tart

Peel the apples cleanly and take out the cores, chop them small and fry them in fat, put raisins, sugar and cinnamon therein and let it bake.

 

An Apple Tart

Ingredients (For 2 pie fillings):

1 bag of Gala apples
4 handfuls raisins
Cinnamon
Ginger
Butter
White wine
Light brown sugar

Peel, core, and chop apples into thin slices. Butter your pan, then add in half of the apples, 2 handfuls of raisins, cinnamon, ginger, and white wine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples soften. Set these apples aside in a mixing bowl, then make your second batch. Combine the two with light brown sugar to taste, then set aside to cool. Pour into prepared pie shells, add a top crust, and bake at 350*F. I baked mine for 10 minutes in a convection oven, then pulled them out to put an egg wash on the crust, then finished for another 5 minutes.