pie

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

Advertisements

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.

Venison Pie Recipe

I am a big fan of the recipes found in Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin. They’re full of flavor, they’re recognizable, and they take little to no tweaking to fit the modern palate. Fitting all three of these categories makes my life easier as I’m planning my menus, so I go back to this cookbook over and over.

For my barony’s first Twelfth Night revel in many years, I wanted to use locally-sourced venison, which was made easy by the family farm. Because this was a small feast and this was one of the main courses, I added standard pot-pie vegetables. The rye crust turned out to be a problem because of how coarsely-ground the flour I chose was, so it ended up as a shell and a crumble instead of a flat pie topper; this is definitely something I’ll revisit and experiment with until I get it right.

Venison Pie
66 A game pie
Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, 1553

“Take beef fat, and chop it small, and rosemary, which can be fresh or dried. If you have none, take marjoram or anise or sage, as much as you would like. Chop them finely together, put cloves, pepper, ginger and salt into it, as much as you would like, pour one pint of wine on it. The game must be cooked beforehand. And make a shaped pastry the same way as for the veal pie, and let it bake, serve it warm. In this manner one can also prepare a loin roast.

Makes: 1 large pie
Ingredients:
1 lb Venison
~1.5 bottles Cabernet Sauvignon (or red wine of your choice)
Herb bag (or linen or cheesecloth)
Rosemary
Sage
Parsley
1 med onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 c mushrooms, sliced
2-3 potatoes, chopped
Anise
Ground cloves
Ginger
Salt
Pepper

Thoroughly soak your venison in a water-vinegar mixture until all the blood has been leeched out. (I usually do two 1-hr long soaks, but it can take longer depending on how well the deer was processed.)

Because this particular venison was a bit tough, I boiled the venison in a 1-part water, 1-part wine mixture with the herbs secured in an herb bag until the meat was cooked through. (This saves you the grief of picking out the rosemary bit-by-bit!) Use this time to chop your vegetables.

Once the meat was cooked through, I drained the water mixture, replenished my herb bag, and added roughly 1/2-3/4 bottle of wine, some water, and 2 tubs of Knorr’s concentrated beef stock to the pot, along with the herbs, spices, and vegetables. Unfortunately, all this is to taste — I don’t use measuring spoons in my kitchen if I can avoid it. 🙂 Bring your pot to a boil, then continue simmering at a reduced temperature until your vegetables are finished.

If you don’t want to make a pie, then you could cut the recipe here and have a nice stew instead. If you want to make the pie, then onwards!

Next, pull your meat and veggies from the pot and bring that delicious stock back to a hard boil, and make sure to stir it frequently. Reduce it by about a half, then pull it from the heat. If the reduction is still to runny, thicken it with cornstarch or flour until you reach the desired thickness of your gravy. Pour it over your meat and veggies and set it aside.

The last step is the obvious — you’ll need to have prepped your pie crust, whether hand-made or store-bought, you’ll pre-bake it, load the shell, and place the crust topper, and bake until crust is finished. I’m omitting my rye crust, since I wasn’t pleased with it. Google is your friend to find a recipe that works for you!