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. 

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Steak or Alaunder of Beef.

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Alaunder of beef. Take leches ( slices ) of the lengthe of a spoune, and take parcel and hewe fmal, and pouder of pepur, and maree, and tempur hit togedur, and take leeches of beef, and rolle hom therin, and laye hom on a gridirne, and on the coles tyl they ben rolled ; and if ye have no maree, take of the self talgh’ and hewe hit with the parcelle, tand tempur hit as ye dyd before. Antiquitates culinariae(1791) Ancient Cookery 1425

Maree, or sometimes spelled marie or mary, is marrow. Talgh’ is tallow and an amazing way to spell it. You could probably use butter, but marrow doesn’t really taste the same.

Rare steak is done cooking at 130-135°F; where as well done is 165°F.

Ingredients

  • 2 steaks (500 grams ish) room temperature
  • 2 tbsp of beef marrow (or tallow) fresh from bone melty or room temperature
  • 2 tbsp of parsley, minced or flakes
  • fresh black pepper to taste, ground (enough so you can smell it)

Directions

  1. Preheat grill on high temperature.
  2. Mix marrow, parsley, and pepper together on a plate.
  3. Roll the steak around in the marrow mixture, using a knife to help spread it evenly on both steaks.
  4. Grill steak ~2 minute per side. (1 minute was still bleeding, but grill to your taste).
  5. Serve hot*.

*with bread, its super greasy but amazing.

Edit: It has been pointed out to me that this recipe should be stuffed and rolled-up beef rolls that look like tiny birds. Beef should be very very thin to make this work and secured with a toothpick or skewer. 

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.

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.

Grated Apple and Cheese Tart

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I am deviating from English cooking for the following 16th Century, German recipe:

To make an apple tart. Take apples, peel them and grate them with a grater, afterwards fry them in fat. Then put in it as much grated cheese as apples, some ground cloves, a little ginger and cinnamon, two eggs. Stir it together well. Then prepare the dough as for a flat cake, put a small piece of fat into it so that it does not rise, and from above and below, weak heat. Let it bake slowly. Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin

I found the recipe by throwing “apple” and “cheese” into the Medieval Cookery search engine because I had too many cooking apples and cheese wass on sale. Sometimes that’s just all the inspiration you need.

I confess, I hand grated the quartered apple slices and the peels came right off, I didn’t need to peel them. It’s very similar to how straining poached fruit through a colander also removes skins. I discovered it because I was rushing and didn’t pay attention. How will I ever learn if I get results like this?

My house smells like Christmas.

If I was taking my time with this I would look up recipes for ‘flat cake’ and do the crust properly.

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Ingredients:

  • 4-5 apples, peeled and grated
  • 1 large tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp ginger, ground
  • 7 oz cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, lighting beaten with a fork
  • a pie shell

Directions

  1. Heat skillet on medium-high and melt butter. Add grated apple and saute until most of the moisture is absorbed.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Weight cooked apples and measure out an equal amount of cheese, or just add all the cheese and combine.
  4. Add spices and egg to apple mixture and mix well.
  5. Pour apple mixture into pie shell and bake for 50 minutes, until crust and top of pie have browned.
  6. Serve when cooled if you can wait.

Bletting and Serviceberry Marmalade

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There was frost on the ground today, I know because my dog tried to eat it.

Some of the medieval fruit we want to use is picked this fruit after the first frost, and then let it further ripen, or rot, called ‘bletting’. Medlars, serviceberries, and quinces are excellent examples of these.

Quinces need to have brown spots on the skins or they will be too hard to eat after simmering them for 4 hours. Its very frustrating.

Medlars, if you are lucky enough to find them, are so rotten they are squish and taste slightly alcoholic.

Serviceberries, also called rowan berries, need to be cooked to get rid of the sorbic acid that makes it inedible raw and unripe.

Once you have over ripe fruit it is perfect for making marmalade.

For ease of understanding the following recipe:
* Damsons, are a type of plum.
* Wardens are a type of pear.
* Checkers and servits are a type of rowan berry.

To Make Marmalade of Service Berries and Apples
TAke damsins which are ripe, boyle them on the fyre with a little fayre water tyll they
bee softe, then draw them through a course boulter as ye make a tart set it on the fyre
agayne seethe it on height with sufficient suger, as you do your quinces, dash it with
sweete water & and box it. If you wil make it of prunes, euen likewise doo put some apples also to it, as you dyd to your quinces. This wise you may make marmylade of wardens, peares, apples, & medlars, servits or checkers, strawberrys every one by him selfe, or els mixt it together, as you thick good.  John Partridge, The Treasurie of commodious Conceits (1573)

Ingredients
* 2 cups rowan berries, picked over
* 2 cups apples, cored, and coarsely chopped
*  2.5 cups raw cane sugar
Directions
1) Place berries and enough water to cover in a sauce sauce pan, and then simmer on medium-high, until fruit softens, approximately 20 minutes.
2) Strain fruit in fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Squish the fruit to get all the juice out. [Modern recipes say not to do this, it will make jelly cloudy.]
3) Mix sugar and juice together in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4) Pour in a sterilized jar, cover and store in a cool, dry dark place.