Cheese and Onion Tart or Tart On Ember-day

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Tart on Ember-day. Parboyle onions, and sauge, and parsel, and hew hom small, then take gode .fatte chese, and bray hit, and do therto egges, and tempur hit up therwith; and do therto butter and sugur, and raisynges of corance, and pouder of ginger, and of canell; medel all this well togedur, and do hit in a coffyn, and bake hit uncovered and serve hit forthe. Richard Warner, Antiquitates culinariae(1791) Ancient Cookery 1425

Ember-day is a fast day the observant Christian medieval person would follow. It wasn’t fast that meant no-food, but fast meaning no meat. If you are looking for vegetarian recipes “ember” or “in lent” are useful terms to know.

Often you see this recipe with the typo “fauge” instead of “sauge” throwing all sorts of confusion into the mix. There is no herb ‘fauge’ (probably) but there are calligraphy ‘s’ that looks like ‘f’.

Onions being dry and hot of course respond well to being parboiled. It also takes away some of the cooking time and bitterness of the onions. When chopping the cooked onions be careful, they are very slippery*. If you chop them before parboiling you will add a lot more moisture to the pie unless you drain them really well.

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Ingredients
* 4 onions, peeled
* 1 tsp sage
* 1 tsp parsley
* 300 ml soft goat cheese
* 4 eggs
* 1/4 cup butter
* 2 tbsp raw cane sugar
*  2 tbsp currants
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 deep dish pie crust

Directions:
1) Place peeled onions into a sauce pan and cover with water. Bring onions to rolling boil. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool before chopping each onion into small pieces (makes about 3 cups of chopped onion)

2) Preheat oven to 350.

3) Mix chopped onions, herbs, cheese, eggs, butter, sugar, currants and spices together. Use the herbs and currants to gauge when it is evenly mixed.

4) Pour onion mixture into pie crust and bake for 1 hour, until pie is golden brown, and middle is cooked. Serve hot or cold.

* yes I cut myself chopping the onions. 

Basil & Ginger Meringue or How to Make a White Roman Tart

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This savory tart should be fluffy not dense. If a dense tart was wanted the cook would use:

  1. egg yolks not whites and
  2.  hard cheese not creamed

All ingredients should be room temperature (except the melted butter).

The recipe calls for adding foam and carefully not adding the liquid left after beating. This liquid is water. With the creamed cottage cheese being so wet, the pie would take longer to cook or become soggy if more liquid was added.

The rest of the redaction choices are easy–the cook gives very precise measurements.

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To make a white Roman tart. Take a pound of white cheese of cream, then take the whites of six eggs, & beat then well until a foam forms on the surface like snow, & let a little stay in without beating, then take the foam from thereon, & cast it into the cheese, then beat the whites at the top until again foam forms on the surface like the first time, & cast onto the cheese, & make again two or three times as such, then take two ounces of melted butter, a little ginger, a little chopped basil, & make the tart, & cook like the others. Master Lancelot de Casteau, Ouverture de Cuisine (1604)

Ingredients:

  1. 1 lb cottage cheese, creamed
  2. 2 branches basil, stems removed, chopped small
  3. 1 tsp ginger, grated
  4. 2 oz butter, melted
  5. 6 egg whiles from small eggs (1/2 cup), whipped
  6. 1 deep dish pie crust

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350
  2. Pour cheese into large bowl, then cover with basil, ginger, and butter but do not mix. Then cover with egg whites and gently fold ingredients together. The basil will be bright green and show if the batter has been mixed together.
  3. Slowly pour batter into pie shell. Its ok if the mixture is taller than the crust, it is more or less the final height on the tart.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or meringue is browned and doesn’t have a liquid-jiggle in the middle when pan is tapped.
  5. Serve hot or once cooled.

Modern: make it in little ramkin dishes as souffles because OMG adorable. 

Stuffed Turnips or How to make a pudding in a turnep root

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I was talking about turnips with @glen_malley (as one does) and after the “turnips are not Rutabaga” comments decided to blog about it because I like clearing up confusion.

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One small rutabaga, and two large turnips to clear up confusion.

Over at Wikipedia says that rutabaga (Brassica napobrassicais a cross between a turnip (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa and cabbage (Brassica oleracea), and is commonly called ‘turnip’ to confuse people. Rutabaga has a stronger, sharp flavour, and the flesh is very hard, where turnip flavour is mild, and the flesh is softer.

Sappho, a poet from the 7th century BC, calls one of her lovers Gongýla, “turnip”.

I implore you, Turnip,
Show yourself to me!
Pick up your harp one more time
While the wings of longing hover around you.

Rutabaga, not so romantic. I looked it up.

The recipe I am doing likes the softness and blandness of the turnip. If you were to substitute an apple for the turnip it would dissolve into apple-squish before the pudding was cooked since the turnips are simmered.

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How to make a Pudding in a Turnep root. Take your Turnep root, and wash it fair in warm water, and scrape it faire and make it hollow as you doo a Carret roote, and make your stuffe of grated bread, and Apples chopt fine, then take Corance, and hard Egs, and season it with Sugar Sinamon, and Ginger, and yolks of hard egs and so temper your stuffe, and put it into the Turnep, then take faire water, and set it on the fire, and let it boyle or ever you put in your Turneps, then put in a good peece of sweet Butter, and Claret Wine, and a little Vinagre, and Rosemarye, and whole Mace, Sugar, and Corance, and Dates quartered, and when they are boyled inough, then willl they be tender, then serve it in. A.W. A Book of Cookrye (1591)

Ingredients:

* 4 turnips, pealed
Stuffing:
* 1/2 cup bread crumbs
* 1 apple, grated
* 1 tbsp currants
*  yolks from 2 hard boiled eggs
* 2 tbsp sugar
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
Broth:
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 1/2 cup red wine
* 1 tsp rosemary needles
* 1 flake mace
* 1 tbsp sugar
* 1 tbsp currants
* 2 tbsp dates, quartered
* 1 tbsp grape vinegar

Directions

  1. Carve out an egg sized hole in your turnips removing about 1/4 cup of flesh. I used a grapefruit spoon but a Mellon baller or knife will work. If you slip and pierce the flesh a little don’t worry too much but try not to make any of the turnip-bowl walls too thin.
  2. Mix stuffing ingredients together with hand. Tightly stuff the stuffing into each turnip bowl.
  3. Fill a sauce pan half way with water. Bring water to a boil. Turn pot down to low to simmer  and add butter, wine, rosemary, mace, sugar, currants, and dates, then stir.
  4. Gently place the turnips stuffing side up in pot, simmering liquid should cover them. Cover pot with lid and simmer the puddings for 1 hour.
  5. Serve hot or cold.

Optional: You could make a sauce out of the cooking liquid by straining and adding more sugar but that isn’t mentioned in the original recipe.

Raspberry Steamed Pudding

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Since there are 100rd recipes on line for Cambridge pudding I decided to go a different steamed pudding route with this Raspberry Pudding.

I learned from a very unreliable source that Raspberries are an old world fruit that was cultivated in the new world. I’m going to have to dig out some more medieval or Tudor era recipes.

This recipe makes a firm custard not a rock hard cake.

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To make a Rasberry Pudding. Take a Quart of Cream and boil it with whole Spice a while, then put in some grated Bread, and cover it off the Fire, that it may scald a little; then put in eight Eggs well beaten, and sweeten it with Sugar; then put in a Pint or more of whole Rasberries, and so boil it in a Cloth, and take heed you do not boil it too much, then serve it in with Wine, Butter and Sugar Hannah Woolley, The Queen-like Closet OR RICH CABINET Scored with all manner of RARE RECEIPTS FOR Preserving, Candying and Cookery (1670)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of cream (half-and-half)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 small chunk of dried galingale
  • 4 cups bread crumbs (takes 8 slices of bread dehydrated to make crumbs)
  • 8 eggs, beaten with whisk
  • 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
  • 2 cups raspberries

Sauce:

  • 1 cup wine
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup raw cane sugar

Directions:

  1. Fill two pots of water 3/4 full. Put pots of water on high to boil. (Or one large pot and a teakettle).
  2. Put cream and spices into a sauce pan on medium high. Bring cream mixture up to close to a boil, until there are bubbles around the edge of the pot. Taste-test to make sure the cream has absorbed the spices.
  3. Using a slotted spoon fish the spices out of the cream.
  4. Turn off heat to the cream but leave pot on hot element.
  5. Dump the bread crumbs into the cream, and stir well. Let the bread soften and expand in the hot cream.
  6. Slowly pour the eggs into the cream mixture, stirring constantly as your pour. Add sugar and stir. Add raspberries and stir.
  7. Slowly pour pudding mixture into a cloth bag for the purpose and tie up the top. Wrap a string around and tie several times, leave one end long. Tie the loose end on to the middle of a cooking spoon, this will support the ball that is the pudding.
  8. Once water is fully boiling slowly lower bag of oatmeal mixture to submerge. Turn heat down to medium-high. Rest spoon across the top of the pot to keep the pudding off the bottom (where it will burn). Set oven timer for 4 hours.
  9. Get out a good book because you can’t leave the pudding unattended.
  10. Every 30 minutes add more hot water from the second pot to the first, to insure that the bag of custard is always covered, and always floating off the bottom.
  11. After four hours remove pudding from boiling water and hang until water stops running from it. Set it aside in a bowl until it is cool enough to touch.
  12. Mix wine, butter and sugar in a sauce pan and heat mixture on medium-low. Stirring often until sugar is melted.
  13. Untie pudding, and open the bag over the edges of the bowl. Place a plate over the opened pudding. Upend bowl with pudding in it onto the plate. Unwrap pudding.
  14. Serve when cool, with sauce.

Quince Tart without a cover

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This is a slightly different tart from the Quince Tart from last week. I still had quinces left over from Sauce Madame to use up. Really I still have sauce madame to use up too, the recipe makes a lot of sauce.

This recipe calls to mix quince and apple (or pears) . Quince are pretty high in pectin so I am not sure if it is a flavour suggestion or a pectin suggestion, although it would help a tart without eggs slice more easily.

According to Know Your Humours web site by Agnes de Lanvallei quince are cold and dry, apples are moist, wine is hot and dry, sugar is hot and moist. If you were cooking to balance humours this combination makes sense as well. Wardens are also moist.

If you are exploring quince, A Book of Cookrye by A. W has several different variations on quince tarts and pies to try.

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Tartes of quinces without covers. Straine your quinces with some wine, when they be boiled tender, and an apple with them, or two or three wardens, straine them and season them with Sugar, sinamon and Ginger, and so make tarte without a cover. A Book of Cookrye by A. W. (1591)

Ingredients
* 3 large quince, roughly chopped
* 1 large apple
* 1 cup white wine
* 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
* 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 tsp ginger, ground
* 1 tart shell

Directions
1) Place quince, apple, and wine in a sauce pan and then add enough water to cover. Place pot on medium low and simmer contents for 1 hour, or until quince are soft enough to break apart.
2) Strain off the water, then set fruit and strainer aside to cool enough to handle.
3) Force cooled fruit through the strainer into a clean bowl, leaving behind the skins and cores in the strainer. I use a potato masher to help force the fruit through. This will create a smooth fruit slurry with the fruit expelled from the bottom of the strainer.
4) Preheat oven to 350.
5) Mix sugar and spices in the quince-apple paste. Pour mixture into tart shell and bake for 1 hour or until tart is brown and mixture is thickened . Serve once cooled.

Tart it up Week: Quince Tarts

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To make a quince tart. Take quinces and cook them well and strain it and put sugar, cinnamon and strong wine thereon.  Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin (1553)

Ingredients
* 3 cups quinces, peeled, cored, roughly chopped into large pieces
* 2 tablespoons cooking wine
* 1/2 cup of raw cane sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, freshly ground
* 1 pie shell

Directions
1) Place quince chunks into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to boil on high and then reduce heat to low and simmer. Simmer fruit for approximately 30-60 minutes (quince is sometimes difficult) until fruit is easily broken with a fork.

2) Strain fruit through a colander or mash with spoon to puree.

3) Mix quince mash, wine, sugar and cinnamon together.

4) Preheat oven to 350C.

5) Once oven is hot, pour fruit mixture into pie shell and place in oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until mixture is bubbling and crust is brown. Let tart cool before slicing.

Tart Week: Apple and Orange Peel Tart

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To make a tarte of apples and Orange pilles. TAke your orenges, and lay them in water a day and a night, then seeth them in faire water and hony, and let them seeth till they be soft: then let them soak in the sirrop a day and a night: then take them forth and cut them small, and then make your tart and season your Apples with Sugar, Synamon and Ginger, and put in a peece of butter, and lay a course of Apples, and betweene the same course of apples, a course of Orenges, and so course by course, and season your Orenges as you seasoned your Apples, with somewhat more sugar, then lay on the lid and put it in the ouen, and when it is almost baked, take Rosewater and Sugar, and boyle them together till it be somwhat thick, then take out the Tart, and take a feather and spread the rosewater and Sugar on the lid, and set it into the Orenges, Pilles Ouen againe, and let the sugar harden on the lid, and let it not burne.The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin (1588)

So there is a redaction of this recipe already by Gretchen Miller. I am going in a different direction from where she went. I will put a top and bottom on my tarts and I won’t be using whole oranges.

Although I won’t be following the recipe literally, for example I will peel and core my apples instead of leaving them whole because it doesn’t actually say to cut them up, I think the important aspects–removing the bitterness from the orange peels, and giving the pie a layered look, and seasoning with the spice choices listed above–will be followed.

I am going to use orange peels instead of whole oranges for the title of the recipe is “tart of apples and orange peels” not orange slices. Although there are sweet oranges by 1588 in England but the most common are Seville oranges. These oranges are not very juicy, the ‘meat’ is rather stringy, and they full of seeds.

Soaking peels and simmering them in sugar-water is a way of taking the bitterness out of the peel. I am not sure that whole oranges, although they will soften when simmered, will sweeten cooked this way.

Orange peels can be made into marmalade using this technique (soaking the peels, boiling, rinsing in water, simmering in syrup.) If you really want to cheat prepared marmalade would totally turn this from a 3 day project to a 1 day.

Directions:

Day 1:
Ingredients: peels from 3 Seville oranges
Directions: Slice the peels thin, removing as much of the white pith as you can. Submerge the peels in water. If you leave them on the counter you can change the water as much as you feel like.

Day 2:
Ingredients: 2 cups of honey
Directions: Drain the peels and cover them with honey and an equal amount of water, then stir well. Put saucepan on a high heat until it comes to a low boil, and then reduce to low heat. Simmer for 2 hours. Cover pot and set aside for 1 day.

Day 3 (actual tart day!):
  Ingredients:
* 6 apples, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
* 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup + 4 tbsp raw sugar
* 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
* 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp ginger, ground
* 1/4 cup butter
* pastry for top and bottom of pie
* 2 tsp of rosewater

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 350F
  2. Mix apples, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp ginger together.
  3. Drain orange peels. Mix peels, 1/2 sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp ginger together.
  4. In bottom of pie shell drop pieces of butter.
  5. Layer the pie with one layer of apple slices, then cover the slices with a portion of the orange peel mixture. Repeat, but make sure to overlap the apple slices with the bottom ones for more coverage. Repeat until you are out of fruit mixes and then cover pie with rest of pastry. Cut a few small slits in lid.
  6. Bake pie for 50 minutes.
  7. Mix 4 tbsp of sugar with the rosewater. Using a pastry brush brush top of pie with this ‘icing’. Return pie to oven for 10 more minutes or until pie is bubbling and a golden brown.