Buttered Colleflowre (Cauliflower in Cream Sauce)

How to butter a Colle-flowre.
Take a ripe Colle-flowre and cut off the buddes, boyle them in milke with a little Mace while they be very tender, then poure them into a Cullender, and let the Milke runne cleane from them, then take a ladle full of Creame, being boyled with a little whole mace, putting to it a ladle-full of thicke butter, mingle them together with a little Sugar, dish up your flowres upon sippets, poure your butter and creame hot upon it strowing on a little slict Nutmeg and salt, and serve it hot to the table.
John Murrell, A Booke of Cookerie, 1621.

How to butter a Cauliflower
Take a ripe cauliflower and cut off the florets, boil them in milk with a little Mace until they are tender, then pour them into a colander, and let the milk run clean from them, then take a ladle full of cream, being boiled with a little whole mace, putting to it a ladle-full of thick butter, mingle them together with a little Sugar, dish up your florets upon sippets, pour your butter and cream hot upon it, strewing on a little sliced Nutmeg and salt, and serve it hot to the table.

Although this is technically a seventeenth century recipe, the ingredients and methods were available in the sixteenth century, so this recipe would not be out of place at a late Elizabethan SCA feast.

I first found this recipe in Madge Lorwin’s Dining with Shakespeare. (p 103)

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower 150 mL cream
500 mL milk 50 g butter
1 tsp powdered mace 2 tbs sugar
Salt ½ tsp nutmeg

Method

  1. Break the cauliflower into florets.
  2. Cook until the cauliflower is soft, but still a bit crisp in the middle.
  3. DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE MILK OR IT WILL BOIL OVER AND MAKE A TERRIBLE MESS.
  4. To make the sauce, heat the cream, butter and sugar, stirring well to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. Don’t let it boil, or the cream will curdle.
  5. DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE CREAM MIX OR IT WILL BOIL OVER AND MAKE A TERRIBLE MESS.
  6. To serve, pour the sauce over the cauliflower, and sprinkle with nutmeg and salt.

Notes

  • Cauliflowers were introduced to England in the late sixteenth century (Brears, 2016, 288), and would have been seen as a novelty.

Buttered_Colleflowre

Further Reading

Brears, Peter. Cooking and Dining in Tudor and Early Stuart England. Totnes, 2016.
Lorwin, Madge. Dining with Shakespeare. New York, 1976i

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