Candy Making with Honey Part 2: touch

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To continue the candy making theme here we go…

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.”

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of ginger, ground (or saffron, black pepper, cinnamon)
  • 1 bowl of really cold water.

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Quickly add the spice and stir.
  5. Pour the mixture onto a non stick surface to cool.
  6. 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

 

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Making Candy with Honey Part 1: sight

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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

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped small
  • pinch of ginger, ground
  • 2 pinch of cinnamon, ground

Directions

  1. Place honey in sauce pan on medium, and bring to a boil. Skim the surface of any impurities as you work, stirring often.
  2. Mix the chopped walnuts, and spices, into the honey and coat well. Bring honey back up to a boil and stir continuously.
  3. 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.
  4. After 3-4 more minutes the honey will suddenly change slightly darker, more of a cardboard box brown.
  5. 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.)
  6. Pour the mixture onto a non stick surface to cool.
  7. Slice and serve immediately.

Quince and Almond Tart or “To Make an Almond Tart”

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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)

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix all ingredients together well, and pat into tart shell. Mixture will be paste like.
  3. 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. 

Baked Pears or “Cooked Pears” 2

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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.

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Cooked pear. Lots of honey, black pepper, saffron, clove, cinnamon and a bit of wine. The Prince of Transylvania’s Court Cookbook (Hungary, 16th c.)

Ingredients:

  • 8 pears, pealed, stems left in
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Fresh pepper ground
  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • pinch cloves, ground
  • 2 threads saffron

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 410.
  2. Arrange pears in a small baking dish so that they touch and support each other upright.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients into a sauce and cover the pears with the mixture. Pour any remaining syrup into baking dish.
  4. Bake pears for ~35 minutes, until the are browned and soft. Baste with its own cooking liquid halfway through baking.
  5. 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. 

Carrot Cake or Pudding of a carrot

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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

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of carrots, grated, firmly pressed into measuring cup
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp nutmeg. ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp cloves, ground

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix grated carrots, crumbs, and sugar together in large bowl.
  3. Blend milk, butter, eggs, and yolks together in a different bowl.
  4. Pour Milk mixture into carrot mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Add spices (to taste) and mix together again.
  6. Butter cake pan.
  7. 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. 

Pears in syrup or “Cooked Pears.”

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I am still test cooking for Feast of the Hare n November. I do not think today’s recipe will make the cut–not because it isn’t wonderful but because between the wine and the honey it becomes very expensive to serve to 80 people.

I think that I can edit the recipe to get the flavours by baking the pears instead of poaching and using the syrup as a glaze and still say mostly true to the recipe as written.

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Cooked pear. Lots of honey, black pepper, saffron, clove, cinnamon and a bit of wine. The Prince of Transylvania’s Court Cookbook (Hungary, 16th c.)

 

Ingredients

  • 6 pears, pealed
  • 1.5 cups of honey
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 6 peppercorns, whole
  • 6 cloves, whole
  • 1 pinch of saffron

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into a sauce pan. (If fruit isn’t covered top up with water. ) Bring mixture to boil then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot with syrup*

*or store pears in syrup, in fridge, for up to two weeks because this recipe is really similar to some preserved pear recipes I’ve seen. 

 

Fried Peaches Two Ways or “Peach Doughnut”

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Peach doughnut. Cut open the ripe peach, take out the seed, make the same kind of dough we made for the salads or the elderberry. For we don’t add eggs to sage dough, but we do add eggs to peach dough, sometimes a little wine, too.
Dip the peeled peach into the dough, then fry it and serve it when hot, add sugar. If the peach is clingstone, slice it into circles. The herb masters cut this into four, pour
some wine onto it, then mix it with flour, finally, they fry it. The Prince of Transylvania’s court cookbook, 16th Century

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp wine
  • 1 egg
  • 2 peaches, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 2 tbsp raw cane sugar for garnish.
  • Butter for frying

Directions

  1. Mix flour, egg and wine together with a fork.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium heat, then add butter.
  3. Dip peach discs into batter from step one and then carefully lay your peach pancake into the hot pan. Fry for 5 minutes on each side, or until brown.
  4. Place cooked peach slice on plate and sprinkle with sugar. Serve warm.

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp wine*
  • 2 peaches
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Butter for frying

Directions

  1. Cover the peaches with the wine and stir to coat.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium heat, then add butter.
  3. Dip peach quarters into flour and then gently place on frying pan.
  4. Heat each side of the peach triangle for ~5 minutes or until browned. Serve warm.

* the wine will be the strongest flavour giving a tangy or sour cooked end product. If you use a really sweet wine, or a really ripe peach it would work better. I coated these peach doughnuts with raw sugar as well.