recipe

16th Cent Lamb Pies

My favorite pie from the Harvest Raid Pie Feast was lamb and bacon pie that I based on the recipes for mutton pies from The Good Huswife’s Jewell, 1596, found here. Neither recipe I referenced called for bacon, but the combination of bacon, these spices, and fruits is a decadent one I love.

To boile pie meate.

Take a legge of mutton, and mince it very fine with sewet and seeth it in a litle pan or an earthen pot with butter, and season it with cloues, mace, great raysons, and prunes, and salt, and serue it in a dish, and if you will, put in some iuyce of Orenges and lay halfe an orenge vpon it.

For to make mutton pies.

Mince your Mutton and your white to-gether, and when it is minced, season it with pepper, cinamon & ginger, and Cloues and mace, and prunes, currants and dates, and reasons and harde egges boyled & chop-ped verie small, and throw them on the top.

16th Century Lamb Pies

Ingredients:
Prepared pie crust and lid
1 1/2 lbs Lamb, ground
1/2 package Bacon, diced
1/2 c dried Prunes
1/2 c dried Currants
1/2 c dried Dates
1/2 c dried Raisins
4 slices Orange
Long pepper, ground
Cinnamon, ground
Ginger, ground
Cloves, ground
Mace, ground
Kosher salt
Powdered sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. In a bowl, combine ground lamb, bacon, dried fruits, and spices. I always eyeball spices or add until it smells right to me, but would recommend roughly using equal parts of everything but less salt and long pepper than the rest. Par-cook mixture in a pan, until lamb is mostly cooked through, keeping all liquids and fats.

3. Press pie crust into pan (I used a springform pan), then fill with lamb mixture. Place the four orange slices ontop of the lamb mixture, then cover with pie lid. Cut a hole in the center of the lid.

4. Bake for ~40min, or until crust begins to brown.

5. Let cool, remove from form, and dust lightly with powdered sugar when plating.

Parsnip Pie

For my second crustless and vegetarian offering at Harvest Raid, I used a Mediterranean-influenced recipe from the French cookbook Ouverture de Cuisine. The recipe calls for salted lemon pieces, which is a reference to salt-preserved and slightly fermented lemons which first made their way into Spanish cooking from other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. I ran out of time before the event and was unable to do the full correct preserved lemons, so I simply quartered lemons and left them to soak in their juices, a bit of vinegar, and salt the night before use. I added carrots for color and flavor, and I also forgot the mint on my grocery run, so I used basil instead.

To make a pie of fresh Parsnips.

Take the parsnips well washed, & put them to boil until they are cooked, then take two or three chopped onions & fry in butter, a salted lemon in pieces, nutmeg, & pepper, a little chopped mint, & put all together in the pie, & butter enough.

Note it is necessary to cut the parsnips into pieces, when the pie is half cooked put therein a little Spanish wine.

Parsnip Pie

Ingredients:
1 Preserved Lemon – 2 lemons, Kosher salt, vinegar
1 lb Parsnips
1 lb Carrots
1/2 Onion
3 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Mint
1 Tbsp Ginger, minced
Cider Vinegar
Honey

Directions:
1. Prepare salt-preserved lemon. A separate post on this will be forthcoming. To prepare it quickly, dice one lemon (including the peel), removing the seeds. Toss the lemons in salt, then place into a jar with 1-2 Tbsp of vinegar and the juice of another lemon. Shake jar periodically to re-coat the lemons in the salt.

2. Wash and peel parsnips and carrots. Cut both into large chunks, in whichever style you’d like to serve them. Sautee parsnips, carrots, and onions in butter until they begin to soften, then add mint, ginger, and preserved lemons to taste.

3. Prepare a mixture of cider vinegar and honey (I can’t remember my portions at this point), then toss the vegetables in the sauce. Serve warm.

Sabina Welserin’s Genovese Tart

For the Pie Feast at Harvest Raid, I pulled from my most-loved source, Sabina Welserin’s 16th century cookbook, for one of my vegetarian offerings. Though the feast was absolutely not advertised as gluten-free, I decided to remove the crust for this dish at this specific feast. I will use a standard shortcrust for it in the future.

30 To make Genovese tart 
Take eighteen ounces of chard or spinach, three ounces of grated cheese, two and one half ounces of olive oil and the fresh cheese from six ounces of curdled milk [2]. And blanch the herbs and chop them small and stir it all together and make a good covered tart with it.

Sabina Welserin’s Genovese Tart

Ingredients:
Prepared pie crust (if not using crust, oil the pan with olive oil)
1 lb Ricotta
3 Eggs
1 c Mozarella cheese, shredded
10 oz Spinach (frozen)
1/2 Onion, chopped
Garlic, minced
Basil
Parsley
Salt
Pepper

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Thaw frozen spinach according to directions, then sautee with onions, garlic, herbs and spices (to taste). Cook until onions are transparent, then set aside to cool.

3. Combine ricotta, eggs, and cheese in a bowl. Add spinach mixture and combine.

4. Pour tart mixture into pie crust or oiled pie pan and bake for 40 min, or until cooked throughout. To test for doneness, gently jiggle the pan or insert a toothpick or fork — fully-cooked tarts will not jiggle in the middle and will leave the toothpick or fork clean/without mixture.

5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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.

Stuffed Cabbages

Next up is stuffed cabbages from Ouverture de Cuisine!

I initially went searching for this recipe when this year’s Scarlet Apron Cooking Challenge theme was announced — modern family dinners presented in a medieval fashion. The first thing that came to mind was a traditional Polish dinner: stuffed cabbage rolls, noodles or rice, and mushrooms of some sort. My research lead me to Ouverture de Cuisine and The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi, but I was struck with inspiration while reading. While Scappi’s cookbook did indeed have cabbage rolls, why in the world should I stop there when both cookbooks had recipes for whole stuffed cabbages?

To make a stuffed cabbage.

Take a red cabbage that is not too large, & put it to boil whole sweetly, & leave it so a long time that you can open the leaves the one behind the other, while the leaves of the cabbage are large like a fist, cut that out, & put chopped meat therein that it will be arrayed like the other meats with eggs & spices, & then layer the cabbage with the leaves all around, that it will be well bound, & put it to cook, sausages with, or that which you want.

Though Scappi is specific about boiling his stuffed cabbages in meat broth or water, de Casteau is more vague. I took the opportunity to boil it as I prefer: in beef broth, red wine, apple cider vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger. For the first boil, I let it go for about 20-30min at a full boil while I prepared a meat mixture of ground beef, garlic, and onions with sage, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, bound after cooling with egg. This meat mixture is the base of my meatballs, and I figured would be suitable for a trial run of this cabbage.

And then the fun began..

Peeling the outer layers was tricky at first, but the closer I got to the core, the cooler the cabbage became, and I was very surprised that it was still cold at the center. I carefully cut the heart of the cabbage out, then replaced it with a large handful of ground beef mixture.

After folding the first layer of leaves back over it, I put in another layer of meat, folded the next layer on, and put in the last layer of beef before folding the rest of the leaves back. I wrapped the whole cabbage in twine, then set it back to boiling for another 20-30 min in the wine and vinegar that I’d refreshed with a bit more of all ingredients.

The result was beautiful and tasty. It was a bit of a pain to cut and serve, so perhaps decorative pennants on skewers may be part of the serving plan next time.

White Roman Tart ala Ouverture de Cuisine

 

I found the rough translation of Ouverture de Cuisine (1604) over at Medieval Cookery as I was researching some late-medieval/Renaissance fare, and I kindof fell in love with this cookbook. One of the top reasons being this tart.

The transcription by Thomas Gloning et. al reads:

Pour faire tourte blanche a la Romaine.

Prennez vne liure de blanc fromage de creme, puis prennez le blanc de six oeufs, & le battez longuement qu’il le face escumer dessus comme vne neige, & laissez vn peu reposer sans battre, puis prennez l’escume de dessus, & le iettés dedans le fromage, puis rebattés encor le blanc de rechef qu’ilface [>qu’il_face] encor escumer comme le premier, & iettés sur le fromage, & faictes encor deux ou trois fois ainsi, puis prennés deux onces de beurre fondu, vn peu de gingembre, vn peu de basilicque hasché, & faictes tourte, & cuire comme les autres.

The translation at Medieval Cookery falls in line with what I would expect from the transcription, with what I remember of French:

To make a white Roman tart.

Take a pound of white cheese of cream, then take the whites of six eggs, & beat then well until a foam forms on the surface like snow, & let a little stay in without beating, then take the foam from thereon, & cast it into the cheese, then beat the whites at the top until again foam forms on the surface like the first time, & cast onto the cheese, & make again two or three times as such, then take two ounces of melted butter, a little ginger, a little chopped basil, & make the tart, & cook like the others.

This reads to me like beautiful, light, and fluffy cheesecake. So, I made it. The first time I made it was at home, with a gluten-free pie crust to serve to friends, and the second time was at the July Althing in Port Oasis, with the assistance of three awesome folks!

The recipe is fairly straight-forward, but I did make a few changes to accommodate what I wanted this to be (– adding sugar, omitting butter, using Philadelphia cream cheese). I also didn’t have a controlled test oven — the first time, our power went out after this had been in for about 10 minutes, but sustained plenty of heat to finish baking at 40 minutes. The second time was with a convection oven, which I’m not so familiar with using, and I had to actively monitor and adjust temperature.


White Roman Tart

16oz cream cheese (2 bricks)
6 large eggs
3/4 c sugar
Grated ginger
Fresh basil, finely chopped
Prepared deep dish pie crush

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Cream the cream cheese and sugar in a food processor, until smooth.
  3. Separate the eggs — yolks into the food processor and whites into a separate bowl. Pulse the cream cheese mixture until the yolks are fully incorporated, then pour into a bowl. Fold in about 3 or 4 large pinches each of ginger and basil, then set aside.
  4. Use electric mixer or whisk to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold this into the cream cheese mixture, then pour into the prepared pie crust.
  5. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until firm in the middle.
  6. For a more dense consistency like modern cheesecake, serve chilled. For a more custard-like consistency, serve hot.

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.

 

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.