I discussed this redaction with people on the Facebook SCA Cooks group because I think there is a lot of room for interpretation with this recipe:
To make a Tarte of preserued stuffe. You must take halfe a hundreth of Costardes, and pare them, and cut them, and as soone as you haue cut them, put them into a pot, and put in two or three pound of suger, and a pint of water, and a little Rosewater, and stirre, them from the time you put them in, vntill the time you take them out againe, or else you may also put it into a dishe, and when your Tart is made, put it into the Ouen, and when it is caked endore it with butter, and throw suger on the top, & then do on your sauce, & set comfets on the top, and so serue it vp.The Good Housewife’s Jewell (1596)
I was drawn to the recipe because it mentions “preserved stuff” and I had a lot of apples to use up. If you take 50 apples you will make aproximately 12 cups of apples sauce. I felt that this would have preserves as described would be use for more than one recipe, not one really huge tart–however I can see why some people thought that this is a reasonable interpretation.
The “confits” sprinkled on top can be many different kinds of candies, in 1596 they candied a lot of things. I used candied fennel, but candied pepper or almonds would work. I was tempted to use cake sprinkles in heraldic shapes and colours but I refrained. If you do that please post pictures down below.
Sauce (1 litre of apple sauce)
I ~15-20 apples
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1/2 tsp of rose water.
1 pie shell
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp raw can sugar
1 cup of sauce
1 tbsp of candied fennel
Combine sauce ingredients bring to boil on medium-high. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 30 minutes or until apples are mushy. Use potato masher to encourage the mushy. *
Pre-heat oven to 350. Place pie shell in oven and bake until golden (~25 minutes). Remove from oven.
Cover hot tart shell with butter so it is evenly coated.
Sprinkle a layer of sugar onto the buttered crust.
Pour 1 cup of “preserved stuff” into the coated tart shell.
A car load of of went to a friends farm to pick apples. The apple orchard we descended upon was semi-wild and not sprayed for pests and things. Organic!
When using organic(!) apples you should know several things. The bugs you might find are technically edible. I set the worms and apples free when I found wiggly things. I did cook the apples with bruising from the worms. Any spots and rust on the on the outside can be cut or peeled away. Its also technically edible.
If you pick up apples off the ground they can be contaminated with ecoli. Cooking apples, or pasteurizing drinks made with apples will kill this and other bacteria.
My basic sauce recipe: 16 cups of roughly chopped apples, 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar into instantpot on manual for 20 minutes, slow release. Makes 2.5 litres of sauce.
John’s recipe: 16 cups of roughly chopped apples, 2 cups water, 1 cinnamon stick, into instantpot on manual for 20 minutes, slow release. Makes 2.5 litres of sauce.
Here (Instructables) is a fantastic discussion on using cold water to show what “stage” your sugar is at to decide when to take it off the heat. Honey doesn’t work the same way. Honey has three steps, soft ball, hard crack, and burnt.
These steps help you use the cold water test to get the texture of honey you want. Combines with the “sight” you get close to a consistent product every time you make candy.
You can also use ‘smell’, but once you smell the honey is burnt it is too late.
Henry Buttes in Dyets Dry Dinner* says “…ginger condite with honey, warms old mens bellies…it is very restorative.”
1/4 cup honey
pinch of ginger, ground (or saffron, black pepper, cinnamon)
1 bowl of really cold water.
Warm a frying pan on medium. Place honey in frying pan and bring to a boil. Skim the surface of any impurities as you work, stirring continuously.
You should notice the honey change from golden clear to a light brown at around 4-6 minutes. Drip a few drops of honey into your cold water. The honey makes a pale platelet that sinks to the bottom. If you touch it, and eat it, it is very soft and chewy. At this temp you get a sticky mess if you pour it out on your nonstick surface. Good for shaping or caramel.
After 2-4 more minutes the honey will suddenly change darker. Drip a few drops of honey into your cold water. The honey makes a darker hard platelet that floats on top of the cold water. If you touch it, and eat it, it is crunchy.
Quickly add the spice and stir.
Pour the mixture onto a non stick surface to cool.
break apart to serve.
You can test your candy by dropping it in the water as you go to reassure yourself that it hasn’t burnt. It will go from hard crack to burn in about 30 seconds so its good to test frequently.
Found at Early English Books Online as a pdf of the original printing, or my transcribed (annotated and redacted) version on amazon.ca
This is a series of blog posts dedicated to making candy with honey (instead of sugar or corn syrup). I’m teaching a class on this in February so I am prepping for my class and blogging about it.
When making candy please have a bowl of water on hand to treat burns if the need arises.
This blog is how to use the changing colours of hot honey (or your sight) as an imperfect gauge for candy making (instead of a thermometer method). The cooking times given will be determined by the moisture content of your honey and the humidity of your kitchen. Raw honey is about 20% moisture, where candy is around 1-5%. Heating is what causes the moisture loss, obviously.
Honey boiled with walnuts, called nucato. Take boiled and skimmed honey, with walnuts chopped slightly and spices, cooked together; dip your hands in water and spread it out; let it cool and serve it. And you can use almonds and hazelnuts in place of walnuts.An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped small
pinch of ginger, ground
2 pinch of cinnamon, ground
Place honey in sauce pan on medium, and bring to a boil. Skim the surface of any impurities as you work, stirring often.
Mix the chopped walnuts, and spices, into the honey and coat well. Bring honey back up to a boil and stir continuously.
You should notice the honey change from golden to a pale brown once it is brought to boil again, after the nuts are added, at around 4 minutes. At this temp you get a sticky mess.
After 3-4 more minutes the honey will suddenly change slightly darker, more of a cardboard box brown.
After 2-3 minutes the honey will suddenly change darker again, light brown leather coloured. This is a firm but slightly chewy candy. (If you keep going after another 30 seconds to 1 minute you will get, very dark brown, which is a hard, and brittle candy, but the risk of burning the mixture at this time is very high.)
Pour the mixture onto a non stick surface to cool.
To make an almond tart. Take half a pound of almonds peeled and ground, quince preserved in sugar, a dozen dates well washed therein, & chop very small with the quince, & half an ounce of cinnamon, three ounces of sugar, two yolks of eggs, & mix all with the almonds, & make the tart like the others. Master Lancelot de Casteau, Montios Ouverture de Cuisine (1604)
8 oz ground almonds
2 cups stewed or canned quince (~2 quinces worth) **
12 cooking dates, chopped small
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 oz raw cane sugar
2 egg yolks
1 large tart shell
preheat oven to 350
Mix all ingredients together well, and pat into tart shell. Mixture will be paste like.
Bake for 45 minutes or until pie crust is golden and filling is firm but sticky.
** could probably use 2.5 cups of quince or more. Would experiment with adding in quince liquid or using quince jam if making again. I thought it would be too sweet with the sugar syrup but the pie is awfully thick.
Using the same source recipe I used poached the pears in syrup, I am baking pears. I was concerned about how expensive the poached pears were so I am trying the recipe with a different interpretation this time.
Arrange pears in a small baking dish so that they touch and support each other upright.
Mix remaining ingredients into a sauce and cover the pears with the mixture. Pour any remaining syrup into baking dish.
Bake pears for ~35 minutes, until the are browned and soft. Baste with its own cooking liquid halfway through baking.
Serve with pear sauce drippings.
* I prefer the baked pears recipe flavour to the poached pears recipe except the poached was so much easier and look nicer. The pepper really comes through in this dish. I will ask Marie which one she prefers.
Pudding of Carrot.Pare off ſome of the Cruſt of Manchet-Bread, and grate of half as much of the reſt as there is of the Root, which muſt alſo be grated: Then take half a Pint of freſh Cream or New Milk, half a Pound of freſh Butter, ſix new laid Eggs (taking out three of the Whites) maſh and mingle them well with the Cream and Butter: Then put in the grated Bread and Carrot, with near half a Pound of Sugar; and a little Salt; ſome grated Nutmeg and beaten Spice; and pour all into a convenient Diſh or Pan, butter’d, to keep the Ingredients from ſticking and burning; ſet it in a quick Oven for about an Hour, and ſo have you a Compoſition for any Root-Pudding. Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets, (1699) by John Evelyn
4 cups of carrots, grated, firmly pressed into measuring cup
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup sugar
1 cup cream
1 cup butter
3 egg yolks
salt to taste
1 tsp nutmeg. ground
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp cloves, ground
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix grated carrots, crumbs, and sugar together in large bowl.
Blend milk, butter, eggs, and yolks together in a different bowl.
Pour Milk mixture into carrot mixture and stir to combine.
Add spices (to taste) and mix together again.
Butter cake pan.
Pour dense mixture into cake pan, bake at 350 for 1 hour. Until cake is brown, and won’t jiggle in the middle when you gently shake it.
Tastes amazing, would make excellent cup cakes for ease of serving. Kind of crumbled a bit when I cut it while still hot out of the oven. Firmed when cooled.