crust

Welserin’s 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

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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.