When I wasn’t feeling well I started looking up medieval recipes meant to serve to a sick person and this recipe stuck in my brain:
Again, emplumeus of apples: to give understanding to him who will make it, take good barberine apples according to the quantity of it which one wants to make and then pare them well and properly and cut them into fair gold or silver dishes; and let him have a fair, good, and clean earthen pot, and let him put in fair clean water and put to boil over fair and clear coals and put his apples to boil therein. And let him arrange that he has a great quantity of good sweet almonds according to the quantity of apples which he has put to cook, and let him blanch, clean, and wash them very well and put them to be brayed in a mortar which does not smell at all of garlic, and let him bray them very well and moisten them with the broth in which the said apples are cooking; and when the said apples are cooked enough draw them out onto fair and clean boards, and let him strain the almonds with this water and make milk which is good and thick, and put it back to boil on clear and clean coals without smoke, and a very little salt. And while it boils let him chop his said apples very small with a little clean knife and then, being chopped, let him put them into his milk, and put in a great deal of sugar according to the amount that there is of the said emplumeus of apples; and then, when the doctor asks for it, put it in fair bowls or pans of gold or silver. Maistre Chiquart, Du fait de cuisine
I picture Chiquart chiding an apprentice cook, who I have named ‘Bradley’, with the line: which does not smell AT ALL of garlic Bradley! Chiquart mentions the mortar smelling of garlic 7 times in 7 different recipes. I really think there was an absent-minded apprentice that made a dessert that tasted or smelled like garlic as some point. The constant vigilance against ‘Bradley’ making this mistake again humanises this manuscript. People will be people throughout the ages.
To clean garlic out of your granite mortar and pestle use soap and water, rinse really well, and dry really well. I’ve never had the mortar or pestle absorb soapy flavours, but I don’t use flower scented dish soap, or marble. If you are worried about that use baking soda as a paste instead, and also rinse really well.
- 6 sour apples, cored, and quartered
- 1 cup blanched almonds
- 3/4 cup raw cane sugar
- Put apple pieces in sauce pan with enough water to almost cover. Bring pot to boil and then reduce heat to simmer until soft, approximately 15 minutes.
- While the apples are simmering, grind up your almonds, a tablespoon at a time, in the mortar using the cooking water of the apples to lubricate your almond mush. Be careful, its hot. Set almond meal/mush into a bowl.
- Once apples are softened and breaking apart, strain the apples, adding the cooking liquid to the almond mush.
- Whisk the almond mixture gently (it’s still hot) for a few minutes to make a frothy cream.
- Strain almond milk through a wire strainer into the saucepan, and heat on medium low until it comes to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to low.
- Chop hot apple chunks into smaller apple chunks.
- Add apple pieces and sugar into saucepan of hot almond milk. Continue to simmer sauce on low until it thickens, and the sugar is melted, 20-30 minutes. Apples will continue to break apart. (optional: simmer for hours, really breaking the apples down)
- Serve warm, or cold, in a silver or gold bowl.
I apologize for how messy this recipe is and how hard it is to clean fresh almond milk off of the counter top.