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. 

Almond Milk Custard Tart or Daryols

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Today I am making two tarts to bring with me to family dinner. The pear and custard pie I’ve blogged about before and a “Daryole” or plain custard tart because my daughter has never ever liked pears.

Tomas De Courcy suggested I try making his daryoles recipe when I mentioned having 3 dozen eggs to play with. I could do that, but since I don’t like to reinvent the wheel every time I blog I am going to do the option he didn’t explore on his page, using almond cream instead of milk which was a suggested substitution in many of versions he references.

Since it is a almond cream or milk mentioned instead of cows milk or cream I feel safe in saying that we can use thick almond milk instead of marzipan like in the Italian quince tart I’ve made before. Google says almond cream is marzipan-like which is why I mention it.

To make almond cream instead of almond milk you use a higher ratio of blanched almonds to water. My almond milk is 1 cup almonds to 4 cups water. My almond cream is 2.5 cups almonds to 2.5 cups water (50-50).

Since almond cream has less fat in it than cows milk I am wondering if adding a few egg yolks instead of whole eggs would give you more of a custard mouth feel but the original recipe says to use whole eggs so that’s what this recipe will do.

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DARYOLS. XX.IX. III. Take Creme of Cowe mylke. oþer of Almandes. do þerto ayren with sugur, safroun, and salt, medle it yfere. do it in a coffyn. of II. ynche depe. bake it wel and serue it forth. [Forme of Cury]

Ingredients:
* 2 cups of almond cream
* 4 eggs
* 4 tbsp raw cane sugar
* 1 pinch saffron
* 1 pinch salt
* 2 tart shells

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Stir together almond cream, eggs, sugar, salt, and saffron then, while stirring, pour through a pasta strainer into a larger bowl. Divide into two parts.**
3) Pour mixture slowly into each tart shell***. Bake on 350 for 40 minutes, until custard sets.
4) Serve cold.

 

** pouring through a strainer gives a smooth product, using a electric mixer makes a fluffy product, don’t use a mixer.

*** if you set the shell on the pulled-out oven rack and then pour custard into shell you wont’ spill custard on the inside of the oven. Like I did.

 

 

Fancy Pear Tart for the Holiday Party or A Baked Mete

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I was flipping through the bible “Take a Thousand Eggs or More” by the goddess, Cindy Renfrow, and needed to find a recipe worthy of the precious beef marrow I’d saved from making something else. Her recipe on page 191 called “A Baked Meat” seemed like a great place to start.

Pears set in a yellow custard. You also make use of the strainer technique to smooth out the custard.

My recipe deviates from the one by Renfrow but it does so with respect.

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A bake Mete. Take an make fayre lytel cofyns; than take Perys, and 3if they ben lytelle, put .iij. in a cofynne, and pare clene, and be-twyn euery pere, ley a gobet of Marow; and yf thou haue no lytel Perys, take grete, and gobet ham, and so put hem in the ovyn a whyle; than take thin commade lyke as thou takyst to Dowcetys, and pore ther-on; but lat the Marow and the Pecy3 ben sene; and whan it is y-now, serue forth…

Doucete3. Take Creme a gode cupfulle, and put it on a straynoure; thanne take 3olkys of Eyroun and put ther-to, and a lytel mylke; then strayne it thorw a straynoure in-to a bolle; then take Sugre y-now, and put ther-to, or ellys hony forde faute of Sugre, than coloure it with Safroun; than take thin cofyns, and put in the ovynne lere, and lat hem ben hardyd; than take a dysshe y-fastenyd on the pelys ende; and pore thin comade in-to the dyssche, and fro the dyssche in-to the cofyns; and when they don a-ryse wel, take hem out, and serue hem forth. (England, 1430)

Ingredients:
* 2 9″ pie shells
* 5-6 small bosc pears, washed, halved, cored
* 4 tbsp beef marrow
* 1.5 cups whipping cream
* 4 egg yolks
* 3 tbsp honey
* 2 pinches of saffron

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 350.
2) Place pear halves cut-face down, stem side in the middle with the round bottoms around the edge like a flower in both tart shells. Distribute the marrow around the pears in each pie. Bake for 25 minutes, until tart is browning, and marrow is sizzling.
3) Stir together cream, yolks, honey and saffron then, while stirring, pour through a pasta strainer into a larger bowl. Divide into two parts.
4) Pour cream mixture slowly into each pear tart, careful not to fully submerge the pear bottoms completely. Bake on 350 for 30 minutes, until custard sets and pears are cooked through.
5) Serve cold.

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.

Lozenges In Lent Or Outside Lent

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Lozenges is a rhombus or diamond shape. It is a very common shape in medieval heraldry.

This deep-fried cookie recipe can be adapted for ‘in lent’ or outside of fast days. Lent recipes are a good way of narrowing research when looking for vegetarian recipes. Sometimes eggs and milk products are allowed for a particular fast day, but most often they are not. It depends on the context that the original recipe was created in.

If you choose to substitute the lard in the recipe below I think a nut or seed oil, or even coconut oil, would taste the best. Strongly flavoured olive oil would be used as a last resort.

This recipe makes around 25 cookies, barely enough to share.

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Lozenges in Lent or outside. Take flour, honey and milk. Mix it and roll it out flat like a sheet for a tart. Then cut it any way you want. Cook it in oil when in Lent, and outside of Lent cook it in fat. Let them cool. Then have wine and honey and boil them in a pan with sugar and with some wine. Eat them hot. Wel ende edelike spijse, 15th century

Ingredients:
Cookie:
* 1 cup of flour (plus some to dust rolling pin and counter)
* 2 tsp honey
* 1/3 cup of milk (plus a little more if required)
* 1 445g block of lard

Glaze:
* 1/2 cup wine
* 2 tsp honey
* 2 tsp sugar

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, 2 tsp honey, and 1/3 cup of milk and make a cohesive dough. If dough is crumble add more milk, 1 tsp at a time, until it all sticks together. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Dust counter top with more flour (or put down parchment paper) and roll out your dough flat, approximately 1/2 cm, so dough is easier to handle. Using a knife cut lozengy or other shapes from the dough.
  3. Mix wine, 2 tsp of honey, and 2tsp of sugar in a saucepan. Place pan onto a medium-low heat and simmer to thicken and dissolve the sugar.
  4. Heat your lard in a pot suitable for deep frying on medium. Drop one tiny piece of dough into oil to test heat level. Once test piece is brown and floating remove it.
  5. Slowly and carefully drop pieces of dough into the hot lard, knock the pieces apart with a slotted spoon if they look like they are sticking together. Take cookies out of lard once they turn brown and float. Put the cookies on a cooking rack. Repeat until dough is gone.
  6. Remove glaze from heat. Brush the wine mixture on the warm cookies using a pastry brush.
  7. Serve as soon as they are cool enough to touch.

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.

Funnel Cake or Cryspe

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While on vacation, funnel cakes kept appearing on menus at different eateries and I would nod in approval. “Funnel cakes are a medieval dessert” I’d think to myself, certain that was fact.

But I’d never researched funnel cakes. So I dig.

According to Wikipedia, Funnel cakes are a fritter made from a yeast dough that is poured into hot oil through a funnel and fried. The funnelling of the dough into the oil gives it a lace, or wiggly pattern.

I found a few recipes that recipe a ‘renneng’ or runny batter, some with yeast, some with egg. A few recipes pour the batter out through a hole in a bowl or drip the batter through fingers. Batter has to be thick enough to stick together, but runny enough to flow through fingers or funnel. This is a deep fry, not a shallow pan fry.

 

Large and small crisps. Cook the large crisps in some hot lard in a syrup pot or brass casserole. Make them from egg whites and fine flour beaten together. It should not be too thick. Have a deep wooden bowl, put some batter in the bowl, and shake the hand inside the pan above the hot lard. Keep them from browning too much. Le Viandier de Taillevent (1380)

Cryspes.
Take flour of payndemayn & medle hit with whyte grece over the fyre in a chawfour. and do the batour ther to queyntlych thorow thy fyngours or thorowe a skymmour. & let hit a lytul quayle so that ther be hooles therinne. and yf thou wolt: colour hit with alkenet foundyt. take hem up and cast ther on sugour. Fourme of Curye (1390)

 

FOR TO MAKE CRYPPYS. Nym flour and wytys of eyryn sugur other hony and sweyng togedere and mak a batour nym wyte grees and do yt in a posnet and cast the batur thereyn and stury to thou have many and tak hem up and messe hem wyth the frutours and serve forthe. Forme of Cury (1390)

CREPES. Take flour and mix with eggs both yolks and whites, but throw out the germ, and moisten with water, and add salt and wine, and beat together for a long time: then put some oil on the fire in a small iron skillet, or half oil and half fresh butter, and make it sizzle; and then have a bowl pierced with a hole about the size of your little finger, and then put some of the batter in the bowl beginning in the middle, and let it run out all around the pan; then put on a plate, and sprinkle powdered sugar on it. And let the iron or brass skillet hold three chopines, and the sides be half a finger tall, and let it be as broad at the bottom as at the top, neither more nor less; and for a reason. Le Menagier de Paris (1393)

Cryspe. Takew of eyroun, Mmylke, and floure, and a lytel berme, and bete it to-gederys, and draw it thorw a straynoure, so that it be renneng, and not to styf, and caste Sugre ther-to, and Salt; thanne take a chafer ful of freysshe grece boyling, and put thin hond in the Bature, and lat thin bature renne dowun by thin fyngerys in-to the chafere; and whan it is ronne to-gedere on the chafere, and is y-now, take and nym a skymer, and take it vp, and lat al the grece renne owt, and put it on a fayre dyssche, and cast ther-on Sugre y-now, and serue forth. Corpus of Middle English Prose and Verse  (1430)

Ingredients
*Lard for frying
* whites of 3 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1.5 cups of milk
* 2 cups of fine white flour
* pinch of salt
*1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
* optional: honey, red wine, red dye, 

  1. Heat lard on medium high. It should be heated in a deep pot so that there is a depth of 1.5-3 inches of fat.
  2. Mix eggs, milk, flour, salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar together very well. Run mixture through strainer to smooth out any lumps. If batter is too thick to run through strainer add one of the optional ingredients or a little more milk.
  3. Slowly drizzle dough, criss-crossing on itself, 1/2 cup of mixture at a time.  If batter spreads out like noodles instead of clumping like fritters add more flour. Fry until fritter is brown, one at a time. Approximately 2-3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle sugar on each hot fritter then serve.

Clay Pots, Earthenware and Pipkins

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Its camping season! It means I can dig out my collection of clay pots and experiment with cooking on a campfire.

Aside from cooking, unglazed pots can be used for cool storage, the outside of the pot will moisten and evaporate creating a mild cooling effect.

The nature of milk is such that if the milk is drawn (from the cow) and put in a very clean and fair vessel of clay or wood or tin (pewter), and not in brass (bronze) nor copper, and kept in these vessels without moving or changing from one vessel to another, nor transported hither and yon, it will keep well for a day and a half or two days, and will not turn at all when boiled, provided one stirs it when it begins to move as it is boiled; and you should not add salt to it until you take it off the fire, or at least when you add sops to it, and you can add to it sops of leavened bread or otherwise, for it will not turn so long as the milk is treated as I have said.” Le Menagier de Paris (1393)

Unglazed clay pots are my prefered cooking pot. As with any piece of pottery the clay pots can break. They are more likely to break if you introduce high temperature differences. They transfer heat from coals to food faster than my microwave. You need to watch them closely once you start cooking. Stir constantly when is use, and I also like to move the pot around a little if it is on the edge of the fire pit to distribute heat, but this might just be slightly paranoid.

To cook food in the earthenware put in ingredients that are ‘room’ or ambient temperature, the same temperature as the pot itself, or put warm food into a pot that is already warm. Use prepared coals, not a fire to cook. You can use ambient heat from the fire by setting pot near fire, or suspended above but set it up so the clay pot is in the ‘low’ heat range.

Never use them on a modern stove top.

To clean my pots I add water, cooking fire ashes, and a bit of sand to the pot and scrub it clean with a cloth. Rise the pot well.

The pots will ‘season’ as you use them, changing the colour slightly, making them easier to clean. The outside will blacken from the smoke and ash, but if you clean the pot it won’t rub off onto your stuff. I’ve not found that the unglazed pots absorb flavours from cooking.

The pots are very attractive. I have a recipe below for Hippocras that you can make ahead of time and not heat, if you are worried about splitting your pot. This makes use of your pride and joy without risking it over the heat.

I also include a dished that inverts the clay pot to use as an oven or smoker.

Hippocras
To make Hippocras. Take a gallon of white wine, sugar two pound, of cinnamon, ginger, long pepper, mace, galingale, cloues not bruised, you must bruise every kind of spice a litle, & put them in an earthen pot all a day, & then cast them through your bags two times or more as you see cause, and so drinke it. The Good Housewife’s Jewell

Five parts cinnamon, three parts cloves, one part ginger; half of the wine must be white and half of it red, and for one azumbre, six ounces of sugar, mix everything together and cast it in a small glazed earthenware pot and give it a boil, when it comes to a boil, [cook it] no more, strain it through your sieve often enough that it comes out clear. Libre del Coch 

Ingredients
* 1 litre wine
*1 cup raw cane sugar
* 1 cup combined of the following dry whole spices: cinnamon, ginger, long pepper, mace, galingale, cloves

Directions
1) Combine ingredients in your earthenware pot.
2) Option 1: Let wine mixture set for 24 hours, strain through a cloth and serve.
Option 2: Set wine mixture on the coals, bring to a boil while stirring. Once boiled remove from heat and strain. Serve warm.

Smoked Pears

Again, pears cooked without coals or water: to instruct the person who will be cooking them, he should get a good new earthenware pot, then get the number of pears he will be wanting to cook and put them into that pot; when they are in it, stop it up with clean little sticks of wood in such a way that when the pot is upside down on the hot coals it does not touch them at all; then turn it upside down on the hot coals and keep it covered over with coals and leave it to cook for an hour or more. Then uncover them and check whether they have cooked enough, and leave them there until they are cooked enough. When they are cooked, put them out into fine silver dishes; then they are borne to the sick person. Chiquart’s “On Cookery” from godecookery.com

Ingredients
* 6 or more pears with stems, washed and any stickers removed
* Sticks from non-poisonous trees, like apple, soaked for a few hours.

Directions

  1. Place pears into pot carefully, stems in the middle of the pot.
  2. Criss-cross the soaked applewood sticks to form a lattice to keep the pears from falling out.
  3. Flatten some coals, making a little bowl for the pot to nestle in. Place the pot in the middle of the depression, mouth down. Gather the coals around the pot. Leave it cooking for an hour or so.
  4. Uncover the pot and very carefully try to lift the pot straight up, off the coals (or you will scoop up the ashes). Poke the nearest pear with a fork to check to see if pears are cooked. Return to coals if not soft.
  5. Using tongs remove the sticks, and then remove the pears from the pot by grabbing the stem. Serve hot, on a silver platter.