Tart it up Week: Quince Tarts

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To make a quince tart. Take quinces and cook them well and strain it and put sugar, cinnamon and strong wine thereon.  Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin (1553)

Ingredients
* 3 cups quinces, peeled, cored, roughly chopped into large pieces
* 2 tablespoons cooking wine
* 1/2 cup of raw cane sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
* 1 pie shell

Directions
1) Place quince chunks into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to boil on high and then reduce heat to low and simmer. Simmer fruit for approximately 30-60 minutes (quince is sometimes difficult) until fruit is easily broken with a fork.

2) Strain fruit through a colander or mash with spoon to puree.

3) Mix quince mash, wine, sugar and cinnamon together.

4) Preheat oven to 350C.

5) 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.

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Tart Week: Apple and Orange Peel Tart

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To make a tarte of apples and Orange pilles. TAke your orenges, and lay them in water a day and a night, then seeth them in faire water and hony, and let them seeth till they be soft: then let them soak in the sirrop a day and a night: then take them forth and cut them small, and then make your tart and season your Apples with Sugar, Synamon and Ginger, and put in a peece of butter, and lay a course of Apples, and betweene the same course of apples, a course of Orenges, and so course by course, and season your Orenges as you seasoned your Apples, with somewhat more sugar, then lay on the lid and put it in the ouen, and when it is almost baked, take Rosewater and Sugar, and boyle them together till it be somwhat thick, then take out the Tart, and take a feather and spread the rosewater and Sugar on the lid, and set it into the Orenges, Pilles Ouen againe, and let the sugar harden on the lid, and let it not burne.The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin (1588)

So there is a redaction of this recipe already by Gretchen Miller. I am going in a different direction from where she went. I will put a top and bottom on my tarts and I won’t be using whole oranges.

Although I won’t be following the recipe literally, for example I will peel and core my apples instead of leaving them whole because it doesn’t actually say to cut them up, I think the important aspects–removing the bitterness from the orange peels, and giving the pie a layered look, and seasoning with the spice choices listed above–will be followed.

I am going to use orange peels instead of whole oranges for the title of the recipe is “tart of apples and orange peels” not orange slices. Although there are sweet oranges by 1588 in England but the most common are Seville oranges. These oranges are not very juicy, the ‘meat’ is rather stringy, and they full of seeds.

Soaking peels and simmering them in sugar-water is a way of taking the bitterness out of the peel. I am not sure that whole oranges, although they will soften when simmered, will sweeten cooked this way.

Orange peels can be made into marmalade using this technique (soaking the peels, boiling, rinsing in water, simmering in syrup.) If you really want to cheat prepared marmalade would totally turn this from a 3 day project to a 1 day.

Directions:

Day 1:
Ingredients: peels from 3 Seville oranges
Directions: Slice the peels thin, removing as much of the white pith as you can. Submerge the peels in water. If you leave them on the counter you can change the water as much as you feel like.

Day 2:
Ingredients: 2 cups of honey
Directions: Drain the peels and cover them with honey and an equal amount of water, then stir well. Put saucepan on a high heat until it comes to a low boil, and then reduce to low heat. Simmer for 2 hours. Cover pot and set aside for 1 day.

Day 3 (actual tart day!):
  Ingredients:
* 6 apples, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
* 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup + 4 tbsp raw sugar
* 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/4 cup butter
* pastry for top and bottom of pie
* 2 tsp of rosewater

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 350F
  2. Mix apples, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp ginger together.
  3. Drain orange peels. Mix peels, 1/2 sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp ginger together.
  4. In bottom of pie shell drop pieces of butter.
  5. Layer the pie with one layer of apple slices, then cover the slices with a portion of the orange peel mixture. Repeat, but make sure to overlap the apple slices with the bottom ones for more coverage. Repeat until you are out of fruit mixes and then cover pie with rest of pastry. Cut a few small slits in lid.
  6. Bake pie for 50 minutes.
  7. Mix 4 tbsp of sugar with the rosewater. Using a pastry brush brush top of pie with this ‘icing’. Return pie to oven for 10 more minutes or until pie is bubbling and a golden brown.

Tart it up Week: Peach Tarts

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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. The Good Housewife’s Jewell (1596)

 

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.

Using a large-holed, pasta strainer to puree the peach meat instead of a food processor works really well. It also de-skins the tougher skinned fruit listed above.

Recipe:

Ingredients
* 3 cups peaches, stone removed, 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

Directions
1) Place peach chunks into a saucepan 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.

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.

Tart it up week: Tart of Cherries

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To make a tart of cherries, when the stones be out, another waye. Seeth them in white wine or in claret, and drain them thick: when they be sodden: then take two yolks of egges & thicken it withall: then season it with cinnamon, ginger, and sugar, and bake it, and so serve it. The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin (1588)

Ingredients:
* 2 cups of cherries, pits removed
* 1/2 cup of wine
* 2 egg yolks, room temperature, beaten with fork
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
*1/2 cup sugar
* 1 pie shell or ~20 tart shells

Directions
1) Mix cherries and wine in a sauce pan. Simmer on medium-low for 1 hour, fruit should break apart when cooked. Remove from heat.
2) Mash fruit with spoon, or other tool, to break them up.
3) Preheat oven to 350F
4) Pour eggs into large bowl, pour a few tablespoons of the liquid from the cooked cherries into the eggs and stir briskly. Slowly add all the cherry mixture into the eggs, a little at a time until the eggs are fully mixed with the cherries.
5) Add spices and sugar to cherry mixture and mix very well.
6) Pour mixture into pie shell (or 1 tbsp of cherry mixture for each smaller tart) and bake for 50 minutes (40 for tarts) or until crusts are brown.
7) Cool tarts before serving.

 

Lozenges In Lent Or Outside Lent

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Lozenges is a rhombus or diamond shape. It is a very common shape in medieval heraldry.

This deep-fried cookie recipe can be adapted for ‘in lent’ or outside of fast days. Lent recipes are a good way of narrowing research when looking for vegetarian recipes. Sometimes eggs and milk products are allowed for a particular fast day, but most often they are not. It depends on the context that the original recipe was created in.

If you choose to substitute the lard in the recipe below I think a nut or seed oil, or even coconut oil, would taste the best. Strongly flavoured olive oil would be used as a last resort.

This recipe makes around 25 cookies, barely enough to share.

glazed-cookies

Lozenges in Lent or outside. Take flour, honey and milk. Mix it and roll it out flat like a sheet for a tart. Then cut it any way you want. Cook it in oil when in Lent, and outside of Lent cook it in fat. Let them cool. Then have wine and honey and boil them in a pan with sugar and with some wine. Eat them hot. Wel ende edelike spijse, 15th century

Ingredients:
Cookie:
* 1 cup of flour (plus some to dust rolling pin and counter)
* 2 tsp honey
* 1/3 cup of milk (plus a little more if required)
* 1 445g block of lard

Glaze:
* 1/2 cup wine
* 2 tsp honey
* 2 tsp sugar

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, 2 tsp honey, and 1/3 cup of milk and make a cohesive dough. If dough is crumble add more milk, 1 tsp at a time, until it all sticks together. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Dust counter top with more flour (or put down parchment paper) and roll out your dough flat, approximately 1/2 cm, so dough is easier to handle. Using a knife cut lozengy or other shapes from the dough.
  3. Mix wine, 2 tsp of honey, and 2tsp of sugar in a saucepan. Place pan onto a medium-low heat and simmer to thicken and dissolve the sugar.
  4. Heat your lard in a pot suitable for deep frying on medium. Drop one tiny piece of dough into oil to test heat level. Once test piece is brown and floating remove it.
  5. Slowly and carefully drop pieces of dough into the hot lard, knock the pieces apart with a slotted spoon if they look like they are sticking together. Take cookies out of lard once they turn brown and float. Put the cookies on a cooking rack. Repeat until dough is gone.
  6. Remove glaze from heat. Brush the wine mixture on the warm cookies using a pastry brush.
  7. Serve as soon as they are cool enough to touch.