Apple Tart (with raisins)

79 Ain dorten von epfflen
Schelt die epffel saúber vnnd thiet die bútzen heraús, hackts klain vnd rests jm schmaltz, thiet weinberlach, zúcker vnnd rerlach daran vnnd lasts bachen.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin’

79 An apple tart
Peel the apples cleanly and take out the cores, chop them small and fry them in fat, put raisins, sugar and cinnamon therein and let it bake.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

This is one of a number of recipes in Sabina Welserin’s cookbook for an apple tart; presumably they were a staple fruit of the area. This particular recipe is remarkably similar to some modern apple pie or tart recipes. Do a Google search for “Apple Pie raisin” and you’ll find recipes that differ from Sabina’s only in the detail. And there is a reason why this recipe has been around for at least 500 years, because it is delicious. This would be a good recipe to serve to people who are unfamiliar with medieval food, due to its comforting familiarity.

Although Sabina doesn’t specify including a lid to the tart (making it a pie) there are other tart recipes, such as 186 (a herb tart) and 188 (a prune tart) where the maker is instructed to make a cover for the tart. We did make the tart into a pie, as this are more familiar to our eaters (and I happened to have some thawed puff pastry available).

Ingredients

1 quantity shortcrust pastry 100g sugar
250g cooking apples 50g raisins
50g butter 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Method

  1. Roll out the pastry to approx. 4mm thickness and line a greased pie plate with it.
  2. Peel, core and grate the apples.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan, then add the grated apple. Fry the apple until it is warmed through.
  4. Add the sugar, raisins and cinnamon to the apple, and stir through.
  5. Pour the apple mixture into the tart shell, and smooth off.
  6. If you want to make a pie, roll out a pastry lid and place on top of the pie. Trim the edges and press the lid into the tart rim. Cut a small incision into the lid of the pie.
  7. Bake the tart or pie in a 180°C oven for around 30 minutes for a tart, or 45 minutes for a pie, until the pastry is golden.
  8. Serve hot or cold.
  9. Apple and raisin pie

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Stewed Mushrooms

Nimm duerre Schwammen / wasch sie sauber auß etlichen Wassern / setz sie zu mit Erbeßbrueh unnd klein geschweißten Zwibeln / mach es ab mit Essig / Pfeffer / mit Saffran und Saltz / laß miteinander ein stundt oder zwo sieden/ so wirt es gut und wolgeschmack. Marx Rumpoldt, Ein new Kuchbuch CLXIIIr (1581)

Take dried mushrooms, wash then several times until they are clean and place them on the fire with pease broth and small fried onions. Season it with vinegar, pepper, saffron and salt and boil it together an hour or two. Thus it will be good and tasty.

The text and translation of the recipe can be found in Volker Bach’s excellent collection of medieval period recipes that can be cooked in a camp setting, Plain Fare, which is available for download here.

Mushrooms had a somewhat dubious reputation in medieval times. Some medical writers regarded them as dangerous and advised never to eat them (Scully, 1995, 76), and the dangers from poisoning were quite well known (Bach, 2016, 43). However, there are recipes for mushrooms in many medieval manuscripts, and they were readily available for sale throughout Europe (Scully, 1995, 13), though the varieties sold would have depended on what was available. A German selection would probably include chantrelles and morels, which are named in some recipe collections (Bach, 2016, 43).

If you check out Plain Fare on the link above, you will see Bach has interpreted this recipe as a soup (and he might well be right in that, given he is an expert on medieval German food, and a native German speaker, and I’m definitely not either). However, because this recipe uses dried mushrooms which are cooked for around “an hour or two,” I chose to interpret this as a mushroom stew. This dish was so delicious two confirmed carnivores went for second helpings over second helpings of perfectly cooked roast lamb, and might even choose it over other meat dishes. We’d love to try it as a pie filling.

Ingredients

70g mixed dried mushrooms 50mL vinegar
1 onion 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
500mL vegetable stock pinch saffron

Method

  1. Finely dice the onion and fry in olive oil, or some other fat such as butter or lard.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, and stir well to combine.
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Cook for at least an hour; two or more is preferable. Stir occasionally, and top up the cooking liquid if needed.
  5. Test to see if you need salt before serving; you probably won’t need it.

Notes

  • To make this up we used a mix of roughly equal parts of button mushrooms, Swiss brown mushrooms, porcini and chantrelles. The mushrooms you use will probably depend on what you can find available for sale, but you should definitely use dried mushrooms as they turbocharge the final flavour. If you have access to a dehydrator it will certainly increase the range of mushrooms you can use. Ideally, if you know what local mushrooms are edible, forage and dry your own mushrooms, as would have been done in period.

Mushrooms

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Bach, Volker (2016). The Kitchen, Food and Cooking in Reformation Germany.
Scully, Terence, 1995. The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages

Lossyns (Cheese Lasagne)


LOSYNS.
Take gode broth and do in an erthen pot, take flour of payndemayn and make þerof past with water, and make þerof thynne foyles as paper with a roller, drye it harde and seeþ it in broth. Take Chese ruayn grated and lay it in disshes with powdour douce, and lay þeron loseyns isode as hoole as þou myȝt, and above powdour and chese; and so twyse or thryse, & serue it forth.
The Forme of Cury 89.

Losyns.
Take good broth and put it in an earthen pot, take quality white flour and make thereof paste with water, and make thereof thin foils as paper with a roller, dry it hard and seethe it in broth. Take semi-hard cheese grated and lay it in dishes with sweet powder, and lay thereon noodles sodden (boiled) and as whole as thou must, and above powder and cheese; and so twice or thrice, and serve it forth.

The text of the original recipe comes from Curye on Inglysch, edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.

This is fast becoming a personal preference over the more familiar macaroni and cheese! A dish like this would most likely have been served at the end of a feast, as it was believed that cheese closed off the stomach and forced the food in the stomach to digest faster (Scully, 1995, 134-135). This was particularly true of fresh, semi hard cheeses.

The name “Losyns” probably derives from Lozenge (Renfrow, 1997, 266). This was a traditional shape for medicines, which further suggests this was as much a medicinal dish as a culinary delight.

Ingredients

3 lasagne noodles 1 tsp ground cinnamon
2L beef or vegetable stock 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
250g-500g grated cheese Optional: 1 tsp sugar

Method

  1. In a wide pan, bring the stock to a boil and cook the lasagne noodles according to the instructions. You will probably find two spatulas useful to get the lasagne noodles out of the stock. Keep the stock boiling.
  2. Lay the lasagne noodles on a damp cloth, and cover with another damp cloth, while you are assembling the lossyns.
  3. Mix together the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar (if using) and set aside.
  4. Put a good layer of cheese in a bowl big enough to accommodate the noodles without cutting them, and sprinkle on some of your spice mix.
  5. Lay a lasagne noodle on top of the cheese and spices, and put more cheese and spices on top.
  6. Repeat with the rest of your lasagne noodles, ensuring you finish with cheese and spices.
  7. Gently pour some of the stock over the top of the lossyns, to melt the cheese. Leave to cool slightly.
  8. Cut the lossyns diagonally, so you end up with diamond shapes. Carefully ease the individual pieces onto a serving platter. You can serve them hot or cold.

Notes

  • “Flour of paynedemayn” is the best quality white flour (Butler and Hieatt, 1985, 204). If you are going to make your own pasta, use quality flour recommended for pasta, as the cheap stuff won’t give good results.
  • “Chese ruayn” is autumn cheese, made from the milk produced after cattle had fed on autumn growth. It is thought to have been a semi-firm cheese (Butler and Hieatt, 1985, 211). A Cheshire style cheese would be ideal; it is thought this style of cheese making came about in the late medieval period, and Cheshire was one of the first regions in England to produce cheese on a commercial quantity (Kindstedt, 2012, 165-172).
  • “Powdour douce” is a sweet spice mix, as opposed to a “powder fort” (strong powder). It is likely each cook had their own preferred blend, though cinnamon and sugar are thought to have been common ingredients (Butler and Hieatt, 1985, 208). My preferred blend is 2 parts cinnamon to one part nutmeg, sometimes with 2 parts sugar added.
  • The suggestion to pour boiling stock over the lossyns comes from Pleyn Delit. However, that recipe specifies just a half-cup of cheese… which hardly seems worth it! (Hieatt et al, 1996, 12).

Lossyns

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
 
Hieatt, Constance and Butler, Sharon (1985). Curye on Inglysch.
Hieatt, Constance, Hosington, Brenda and Butler, Sharon (1996). Pleyn Delit.
Kindstedt, Paul (2012). Cheese and Culture.
Renfrow, Cindy (1997). Take a Thousand Eggs or More, vol. 1.

Frumenty (Wheat Porridge)

TO MAKE FRUMENTE
Tak clene whete and braye yt wel in a morter tyl þe holes gon of; and seþe it til it breste in water. Nym it vp & lat it cole. Tak good broþ & swete mylk of kyn or of almand & tempere it þerwith. Nym ȝelkes of eyren rawe & saffroun & cast þerto; salt it; lat it nauȝt boyle after þe eyren ben cast þerinne. Messe it forth with venesoun or with fat motoun fresch.
The Forme of Cury 1.

To make Frumenty
Take clean wheat and smash it well in a mortar until the hulls are gone, and boil it in water until it bursts. Take it up and let it cool. Take good broth and sweet cow or almond milk, and mix it therewith. Take yolks of eggs and saffron and cast thereto, and salt it. Do not let it boil after the eggs be cast therein. Serve it forth with venison or fat, fresh mutton.

The text of the original recipe comes from Curye on Inglysch, edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.

Frumenty, or furmenty, was a staple of medieval kitchens. As the recipe above suggests, in England particularly it was served with venison. It does make an excellent accompaniment to any meat dish with a good sauce, as the frumenty absorbs the sauce well. It is a very filling dish, and can be made sweet with the addition of sugar and dried fruits.

Ingredients

160g (1 cup) bulgur 2 egg yolks
500mL beef, chicken or vegetable stock 1/4 tsp saffron, crushed
500mL milk or almond milk 1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Put the bulgur, stock, milk and saffron in a pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Reduce the frumenty mix to a simmer, and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed (this will take around half an hour). Stir it occasionally to ensure it doesn’t stick.
  3. Keeping the heat very low, add the egg yolks and salt and stir well to heat through.
  4. Can be served hot, or at room temperature, as an accompaniment to a meat dish or a side dish by itself.

This recipe is very similar to the one found in Pleyn Delit (78).

Notes

  • Bulgur is made by crushing and boiling wheat grains – thereby eliminating a lot of pounding wheat in a mortar.
  • Frumenty could also be made with barley (Hieatt et al, 1996, 47).
  • The bulgur will swell to at least four times the size when cooked – remember to take this into account when menu planning.
  • The “fresh mutton” mentioned in the original recipe refers to recently butchered mutton, rather than salted, preserved mutton.
  • If your frumenty is too sloppy, you are probably using too much cooking liquid. It’s better to use slightly less and top up if in doubt.

Frumenty

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.

Hieatt, Constance and Butler, Sharon (1985). Curye on Inglysch.
Hieatt, Constance, Hosington, Brenda and Butler, Sharon (1996). Pleyn Delit.

Bohemian Peas

Bemisch erbis zú machen
Nim 3 lot erbis, seuds trucken, das sý nit zú nasß send, vnnd stoß woll jm morser, das sý fein miessig werden, thú gúten wein daran/ thú jmber, rerlen, pariskerner vnnd zucker, gib es kalt, beses mit zúcker, jst ain gút herrenessen.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin

149 To make Bohemian peas
Take one and a half ounces of peas, cook them until dry, so that they are not too wet, and pound them in a mortar, so that they become a fine mush. Put good wine on them, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and sugar. Serve it cold, sprinkle it with sugar. It is a good and lordly dish.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

Peas were an important crop throughout medieval Europe. They can be fed to animals as well as people, and can also be dried, so they are a food source year round. Dishes such as this, where peas are cooked with expensive ingredients like spices and sugar to create “lordly” dishes, are found throughout medieval Europe.

Ingredients

500g peas 1/2 tsp ginger
125mL white wine 1/2 tsp cinnamon
75g sugar 1/4 tsp cardamom

Method

  1. Put the peas in a pot with just enough water to cover them, then cook, uncovered, until the water has disappeared. Set them aside to cool.
  2. Pound the peas to mush in a mortar and pestle or a food processor.
  3. Grind the spices to powder, and add to the pea mush with the wine and half of the sugar, and mix well.
  4. Transfer the peas to a serving dish, and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar. Serve cold.

Notes

  • Cardamom pods are either black or green – you split the pod open to extract the seeds, which are the spice. It has a wonderful scent. I recommend tracking down the pods rather than ready ground cardamom, as it loses its flavour and smell very quickly.
  • If possible, track down whole dried ginger which has to be grated before use. This is the way ginger would have been purchased in the medieval period, and it has a far more powerful flavour and scent.

Bohemian peas

Cheese Balls

Wiltú kesßkiechlen bachen
So reib ain gar gúten kesß barmisan, thú ain geriben semelbrot darein, bis er gar tick wirt, darnach schlag air darain, bis es ain feins taiglin wirt, darnach mach rúnde kigellen wie die briete kiechlen jn derselben gressin vnd lasß langsam bachen, so send sý gemacht.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin’

96 If you would make cheese buns
Then grate an especially good Parmesan cheese and put grated white bread thereon, until it becomes very thick. Afterwards beat eggs into it, until it becomes a good dough. After that make good round balls, the same size as scalded buns, and let them fry very slowly, then they are ready.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

The translation is by Valoise Armstrong, and can be found here.

Little balls of cheesey goodness! These are quite rich. Parmesan cheese was an imported luxury, so these cheese balls would have been reserved for special occasions (Bach, 2016, 163).

Ingredients

125g grated Parmesan cheese 2 eggs
100g bread crumbs Salt

Method

  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. This is easiest done with the hands.
  2. Form the mix into small balls about the size of walnuts, and flatten slightly.
  3. Heat some oil in a frypan, then fry the balls until the outsides are golden.
  4. They can be served hot or cold.

Notes

  • A large, cylindrical cheese similar to a modern Parmigiano Reggianois depicted in C14 illuminations, and financial ledgers and literature indicates it was in demand throughout Europe from this time. This is not surprising, given that the relative dryness and higher salt content of a good parmesan cheese makes it easy to transport long distances without spoiling (Kindstedt, 2012, 155-157).
  • It is far better to make your own breadcrumbs rather than use bought ones – the texture of freshly made crumbs is superior. You can either use a fine grater or a food processor to produce breadcrumbs.
  • The original recipe referred “scalded buns” (kiechlen) to size the cheese balls. This is recipe 142 in Sabina Welserin’s cook book, and they appear similar to small pancakes. You could probably make the cheese balls thinner than shown below.

Cheese balls

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Kindstedt, Paul (2012). Cheese and Culture.
Bach, Volker (2016). The Kitchen, Food and Cooking in Reformation Germany.

Mounchelet (Veal and Onion Pottage)

MOUNCHELET.
Take Veel oþer Moton and smite it to gobettes seeþ it in gode broth. cast þerto erbes yhewe [2] gode wyne. and a quantite of Oynouns mynced. Powdour fort and Safroun. and alye it with ayren and verious. but lat not seeþ after.
The Forme of Cury 18.

MOUNCHELET.
Take veal or mutton and smite it into gobbets. Seethe it in good broth. Cast thereto chopped herbs and good wine, and a quantity of minced onions, powder fort and saffron, and thicken it with eggs and verjuice. But let it not seethe after.

The text of the original recipe comes from Curye on Inglysch, edited by Constance Hieatt and Sharon Butler.

Veal was eaten most commonly in the spring, as part of the end of Lent (Wilson, 2003, 88); households with the means and inclination would slaughter at least one male calf in the spring to obtain rennet for cheese (Wilson, 2003, 151). Mutton could be obtained at any time of the year, but is quite hard to find today. If using veal, remember it is quite lean and in general will not need much cooking.

Ingredients

500g veal 250mL red wine
500mL beef stock 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 onions (around 400g) 1/4 tsp ground cloves
5 tbs minced herbs 1/4 tsp ground saffron
2 eggs 60mL verjuice

Method

  1. Shred the veal, and finely slice the onions.
  2. Put the stock, wine, meat, onions, herbs and spices into a pot and bring to the boil. Simmer until the meat is cooked.
  3. Whisk together the eggs and the verjuice. Add a ladleful of the pottage liquid to the egg mixture, and whisk in.
  4. Remove the pottage from the heat, and add the egg mixture. Stir well to completely incorporate the egg and cook it.

Notes

  • “Powder fort” is a spice mix that translates to “strong powder.” Hieatt and Butler suggest pepper and cloves (Hieatt and Butler, 1985, 208-209).
  • I used a mix of sage, oregano and thyme in the pottage. These are all herbs that can stand being cooked without losing their flavour, go well with beef and were available in period.
  • Adding a ladleful of stock to the eggs before adding the eggs to the pottage brings the temperature of the eggs up and ensures they won’t curdle when added to the pottage.
  • As the recipe specifies, DO NOT LET THE POTTAGE REBOIL AFTER THE EGGS ARE ADDED. This would cause the eggs to curdle and split rather than incorporating into the pottage broth.
  • If you are lucky enough to find mutton, it will probably need to be cooked a lot longer to make the meat tender, as mutton comes from older sheep.

Mounchelet - C14 English veal stew.

Further Reading

Click on the links below to buy direct from The Book Depository.
Hieatt, Constance and Butler, Sharon (1985). Curye on Inglysch.
Wilson, C. Anne (2003). Food and Drink in Britain.