Fruit Tarts This is an excerpt from The Good Housewife’s Jewell
(England, 1596) The original source can be found at MedievalCookery.com
To make all maner of fruit Tarte. You must boyle your fruite, whether it be apple, cherrie, peach, damson, peare, Mulberie, or codling, in faire water, and when they be boyled inough, put them into a bowle, and bruse them with a Ladle, and when they be colde, straine them, and put in red wine or Claret wine, and so season it with suger, sinamon and ginger.
This recipe is interesting for several reasons. At first blush the incongruous ‘codling’ jumps out. Although small cods are called ‘codling’ this is obviously not a fish pie.
A codling, or codlin, is “a large green-skinned apple with white juicy flesh and a delicate perfumed flavour that quickly turns light and fluffy when cooked.” A modern substitution would be a light cooking apple, the softer the better, like pippins
The second interesting point is the direction to strain the fruit once it is cooked. This step not only makes a smooth and even fruit slurry, but it takes the unwanted skins off the fruit too.
This ‘tart’ doesn’t actually say to place in a tart shell and bake. If you stop after mixing wine and sugar with the fruit you get a sauce where the sugar doesn’t quite fully dissolve. It tastes delicious, but the pie is the superior product.
* 3 cups cooking apples, roughly chopped into large pieces
* 2 tablespoons dry red cooking wine
* 1/2 cup of raw cane sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
* 1/2 teaspoon ginger, freshly grated
* 1 pie shell (optional)
1) Place apple chunks into a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring water to boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer fruit for approximately 10 minutes, until fruit is easily broken with a fork.
2) Strain fruit through a colander. Place colander, with fruit still inside over a mixing bowl. Break-up fruit with ladle then let cool.
3) Once fruit is cold enough to touch, press fruit through colander with wooden spoon, or your fingers. This will break up the fruit, and remove the skin.
4) Mix fruit slurry, wine, sugar and spices together. This concludes the recipe as written. The following is optional, but tastier.
5) Preheat oven to 350C.
6) Once oven is hot, pour fruit mixture into pie shell and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until mixture is bubbling and crust is brown. Let tart cool before slicing.