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.
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)
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**
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.
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.
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.
This is another meatball in sauce recipe that I am trying out as an idea for Feast of the Hare in November.
Again the meat is paired with a ‘lemon’ flavour, but this time it will be barberries not salted lemons. The meatballs are shaped like pears, which is cute.
I also have fresh thyme and parsley and this recipe will be excellent use for them.
This recipe is fussy especially compared to the above linked meatball recipe but it is so much amazing. John, one of my stunt eaters, called the barberries taste explosions.
To make Peares to be boiled in meate. TAke a peece of a legge of Mutton or Veale raw, being mixed with a little Sheepe sewet, and halfe a manchet grated fine, taking foure raw egges yolkes and al. Then take a little Time, & parsely chopped smal, then take a few gooseberies or barberies, or greene grapes being whole. Put all these together, being seasoned with Salte, saffron and cloues, beaten and wrought altogether; then make Rowles or Balles like to a peare, and when you haue so done, take the stalke of the sage, and put it into the ends of your peares or balles, then take the freshe broth of beefe, Mutton or veale, being put into an earthen pot, putting the peares or balles in the same broth wyth Salt, cloues, mace and Saffron, and when you be ready to serue him, put two or three yolkes of egs into the broth. Let them boile no more after that but serue it forth vpon soppes. You may make balles after the same sorte. Thomas Dawson, The Second part of the good Huswives Jewell (1597)
.6 kg beef, veal or mutton ground
100 g suite or lard
150 g bread crumbs
2 branches of thyme, leaves minced
2 branches of parsley, leaves minced
100 g barberries
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cloves, ground
2 liter beef broth
1 tsp salt
8 cloves, whole
1 flake mace
3 egg yolks, beaten
Mix ground meat, and the ingredients for meatballs together. It should hold its shape when formed into “pears”. Make meat mixture into pears, 2 oz each.
Put beef broth, 1 tsp salt, whole cloves, meat mace flake, and pinch of saffron into a large sauce pan and bring to boil. Drop “pears” gently into pot and then reduce heat. DO NOT stir for at least 10 minutes. Remove meatballs after 10 minutes and set into warm bowl.
Remove large spices from broth if possible. Add a 1/4 cup of cooking liquid to egg yolks, blend well, then add egg mixture to pot. Simmer on medium for 10 minutes to thicken sauce.