Apple Tart (with cheese)

177 Ain tortta von epffel zú machen
Nempt epffel, schelts vnnd stosts ain ribeissen, darnach rests jm schmaltz/ dan thiet daran soúil geriben kesß als epfel, ain wenig gestossen negelen, ain wenig jmber vnnd zimerrerlach, zway air, riert es woll dúrchainander, dan mach den taig wie zú ainem fladen, thút ain knepflin schmaltz darein, damit es sý nit anlaff, vnnd vnnden vnnd oben ain wenig glút, lasß gemach bachen.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin

177 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.

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. But unlike the Apple Pie with Raisins, this recipe stops you in your tracks. It’s not just the unusual description of the pastry, it’s the filling – apples, with cheese?!

However, it isn’t as strange as it seems – apple is often found on cheese boards. The filling itself is a pleasant, subtle mix of sweet and savoury, and is a great way to introduce feast attendees to the practice of serving sweet dishes with meat.

Sabina’s instructions for the casing for the dish are unclear. I have chosen to interpret this dish as a typical pie, however it’s entirely possible this is meant to be a strudel, where the filling is put into the centre of the dough, and the dough is folded over to encase the filling. If anyone has any other interpretations, I’d be happy to hear from you!

Ingredients

1 quantity shortcrust pastry 50g butter 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
250g cooking apples 2 eggs 1 tsp ground ginger
250g parmesan cheese 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Method

  1. Roll out the pastry to approx. 4mm thickness and line a greased pie plate with it.
  2. Grate the cheese.
  3. Peel, core and grate the apples.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan, then add the grated apple. Fry the apple until it is warmed through.
  5. Add the spices, eggs and cheese to the apple, and mix well.
  6. Pour the apple mixture into the tart shell, and smooth off.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Serve hot or cold.

Notes

  • In the recipe, I have specified Parmesan cheese. This was a coveted, imported luxury in Germany, (Bach, 2016, 163), and is used extensively in Sabina Welser’s book. Parmesan was probably first exported from Italy in C14, and was prized throughout Europe. 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).

    If you are uncertain about using Parmesan in this recipe, you could substitute a milder cheese, such as Gouda or Edam.

Apple pie with cheese

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.

Advertisements

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

Beef in Pepper Sauce

4 Wilbrett jm pfeffer einzúmachenn
Ain frisch wilbret seúd jn zwaý tail wasser vnnd jn wein/ vnnd wan es gesotten jst, so schneids zú stúcken vnnd legs jn ain pfeffer, lasß nún ain weil darin sieden, machs als so, nim rúckin brott, schneit die herten rinden darúon vnnd schneit das brot zú stúcken aines fingers tick/ vnnd so brait, als der laib an jm selber jst, bren das ob dem feúr, das es anfacht ann baiden orten schwartz wirt, thú das von stúnd an jn ain kalt wasser, lasß nit lang darin ligen, thú es darnach jn ain kessel/ gúsß die brie daran, darin das willbret gesotten jst, seichs dúrch ain túch, hack zwiffel vnnd speck gar klain, lasß vnnderainander schwaisen, thú nit zú wenig jnn den pfeffer,
gewirtz jn woll, lasß jn einsieden, thú ain essich daran, so hast ain gúten pfeffer.
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin’

4 Wild game marinated in peppersauce
Boil fresh game in two parts water and one part wine, and when it is done, then cut it into pieces and lay it in a peppersauce. Let it simmer a while therein. Make [the sauce] so: Take rye bread, cut off the hard crust and cut the bread into pieces, as thick as a finger and as long as the loaf of bread is. Brown it over the fire, until it begins to blacken on both sides. Put it right away into cold water. Do not allow it to remain long therein. After that put it into a kettle, pour into it the broth in which the game was boiled, strain it through a cloth, finely chop onions and bacon, let it cook together, do not put too little in the peppersauce, season it well, let it simmer and put vinegar into it, then you have a good peppersauce.

The text of the original recipe can be found here.

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

Pepper sauce was a popular accompaniment to meats, especially when it was only available in smaller portions (Bach, 2016, 137). However, while many recipe collections specify to serve meat in a pepper sauce, there is rarely a recipe for the sauce. For an example, check recipe 7 from the Cookbook of the Archive of the Teutonic Order, available online here. It was probably one of those preparations everyone knew how to make. Even Sabina Welserin’s recipe doesn’t actually specify pepper.

Ingredients

500g beef (see notes) 4 slices toasted rye bread 30mL vinegar
1L water 1 onion 2 tsp ground black pepper
500mL red wine 4 rashers bacon salt to taste

Method

  1. Cut the beef into bitesize chunks, and remove any excess fat.
  2. Put the beef, water and red wine into a pot. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for several hours until the beef is tender.
  3. When the time comes to make the sauce, remove the crusts from the slices of toast and cut it into thin fingers.
  4. Finely dice the onion and chop the bacon into strips.
  5. Dip the fingers of toast into cold water, then add to a pan with the onion, bacon and pepper.
  6. Strain the extra cooking liquid from the beef, until there is just enough liquid left in the beef to keep it moist. Add the strained stock to the sauce pot.
  7. Stir the sauce well to combine. The toast will break down into mush. Bring the sauce to the boil, and cook for around ten minutes.
  8. Strain the sauce, then pour it over the beef and add the vinegar. Cook the beef in the sauce until the sauce has reduced to the desired consistency, then add salt to taste.

Notes

  • This dish works well with cuts that have a lot of connective tissue, such as chuck, shin or cheek; the longer you cook them the better they get. You can use other cuts, but they will not require as much cooking.
  • It may seem odd to dip the toast fingers into water before making the sauce with them. However, if you add the dry toast to the sauce, it will immediately soak up all the flavour of the pepper. If it’s wet, it will crumble and thicken the sauce, without removing any of the flavour.

Beef in pepper sauce

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.

Cherry Sauce for Roasted Meats

Zum ein salsenn von weichselnn zu machen.
Item wiltu machen ein gutte salsenn von weichselnn, so thue die weichsell in einen hafen vnd secz die auff ein glut vnd laß sie siedenn vnd laß dann wider erkaltenn vnd streich sie durch ein tuch vnd thue sie dann wider in den hafenn vnd secz sie auff ein glut vnd laß sie wol sieden vnd rurr sie, piß sie dick wirt, vnd thue dann honig dar an vnd geribens prot vnd negellein vnd gut gestu:ep vnd thue sie in ein feßlein. Sie pleibt dir gut drew oder vier iar.
Das Kochbuch des Meisters Eberhard, mid C15

To make a sauce of tart cherries.
If you wish to make a good sauce of tart cherries, put the cherries into a pot and place it on the embers and let them boil. Then cool down again and pass them through a cloth, put it back into the pot, place it on the embers and let it boil well until it thickens. Then add honey and grated bread and cloves and good spice powder and put it into a small cask. It will stay good three or four years.

The text and translation of the recipe can be found here. The translation was done by Master Giano Balestriere (Volker Bach).

Sauces were an essential part of medieval and early modern cooking. As well as enhancing flavour, they were an essential part of healthy cooking. The practice of medicine was dominated by the theory of the four humours – fire, earth, water and air. Every food was dominated by one of these humours, some to a level that was considered dangerous. Using the right sauce with a particular dish could reign in this danger and make the food more healthful (Scully, 1995, 13). However, too much of a particular sauce could be harmful in itself! (Klemettilä, 2012, 87).

Sauces were typical accompaniments for boiled or roasted meat. Cherry sauce was a popular condiment in early modern Germany; most recipe collections contain at least one recipe (Bach, 2016, 151). Sabina Welserin’s cook book doesn’t contain a general recipe, but specifies to serve boar’s head with sour cherry sauce (recipe 5) and roast venison with a sauce that contains cherry syrup (recipe 7). This cherry sauce is quite robust, and I feel is best with strongly flavoured meats. The recipe below makes enough to be a generous accompaniment for 1kg of roast lamb.

Ingredients

100g morello cherries, drained (see notes) ¼ tsp ground cloves
50mL honey ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tbs bread crumbs ¼ tsp nutmeg

Method

  1. Drain the cherries and reserve the liquid.
  2. Put the cherries into a pan with a small amount of water, and over a low heat, cook the cherries until they have softened. Top up the cooking water as required. You could also use the liquid you drained from the cherries.
  3. When the cherries have softened, push them through a coarse strainer, or use a food processor or blender to process to a puree.
  4. Return the cherry puree to the heat, and add the honey and spices.
  5. When the mixture is boiling again, add the breadcrumbs, and stir until it thickens.
  6. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly, then pour into a storage container or serving dish.
  7. The sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated. It works well served with strong flavoured meats.

Notes

  • Morello cherries have a much higher acid content than regular cherries, and thus have a much more sour taste. In fact, they are so sour they are virtually impossible to eat fresh, so they are usually preserved in syrup. If you want to use fresh Morello cherries, you will probably have to grow them yourself.
  • As with many period recipes, the spice mix is left to the cook. Cinnamon and nutmeg is a favourite combination of mine. Other spices that could work are galingale, ginger or pepper.
  • 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.

Lamb with cherry sauce

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.
Klemettilä, Hannele (2012). The Medieval Kitchen.
Scully, Terence, 1995. The Art of Cookery in the Middle Ages

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.