Rabbit & Grape Pie or To bake a Connie, Veale, or Mutton..

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I had leftover rabbit to use up and some grapes that were no longer completely firm. So…. pie!

There are many examples of layered pies so I did the layering here. I believe it would work if you mixed all the ingredients together instead of using layers, but I’d add some more egg yolk for binder and reduce the amount of grapes or gooseberries.

A Book of Cookrye (1591) mentioned a similar dish but using verjuice and butter as a replacement for fruit, you could do that here instead of the grapes.

To bake a Connie, Veale, or Mutton.. Take a Conny and perboile it almost enough, then mince the flesh of it very fine, and take with it three yolks of hard eggs, and mince with it, then lay another Conny in your Pie being parboiled, and your minced meat with it, being seasoned with Cloues, Mace, Ginger, Saffron Pepper & Salt, with two dishes of swéete butter mixed with it, lay upon your Connie Barberries, or grapes, or the small raisins, and so bake it.

–Thomas Dawson. The Second part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell (1597)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shredded parboiled rabbit, chopped (or veal or mutton)
  • 2 yolks of hardboiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 slice of bacon, chopped small
  • 1 pinch each ginger, salt, pepper, mace, cloves, saffron
  • enough grapes to cover the top of the filling
  • 1 small pie crust

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix half the shredded rabbit with the egg yolks, coating the  chopped rabbit and making a paste. Put it in the bottom of the pie crust and smash it down with a fork to cover it evenly.
  3. Mix the rest of the rabbit and butter,  bacon, and spices, to make a paste and layer it over the egg-yolk mixture.
  4. Take the grapes and layer them over the rabbit mixture. It might be appropriate to cut the grapes in half but I pricked a hole in each of the grapes with a sharp knife btu left them otherwise whole.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes.
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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

 

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. 

Chicken with Broth or “To seeth Hennes and capons in Winter, in whitebroth. “

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So when redacting a recipe sometimes the author puts in fantastic instructions that answer the “white kind?” question. In this simple boiled chicken recipe the author calls for a “white broth” which means white bread to thicken not brown, grape verjuice not crabapple or something colourful.

This recipe is also a good example of using various different meats, or meat fats, to create flavours. Mutton bones added to the hens layers flavours without the added expense of a good cut of mutton.

To seeth Hennes and capons in Winter, in whitebroth. Take a neck of mutton & a marow bone, and let them boile with the Hennes togither, then take Carret roots, and put them into the pot, and then straine a little bread to thick the pot withall and not too thicke, season it with Pepper & vergious, and then cover them close and let them boyle togither, then cut Sops and put the broth and the marrow above, and so serve them. A.W. A Book of Cookrye (1591)

Ingredients

  • mutton broth made from fatty bones or mutton bones
  • 1 or 2 small chickens
  • 12 rainbow carrots or white carrots
  • 1/4 cup grape verjuice (lots of verjuice make the carrots bitter, but compliments the fats)
  • Lots of Pepper to taste, fresh ground
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I think if you need to ground almonds or oats would work)
  • Bread to serve**

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into pot with enough broth (or water if you have bones) to cover. Bring to boil and then drop temperature to simmer until chicken comes up to temperature (165° F / 75° ) and joints easily turn, and meat is falling off bone ~90 minutes.

** cut into sops here could be that the chicken is sliced like sops and then the other ingredients are piled on top. I like using the sliced bread definition of sops when there is a broth/sauce like this. 

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.