Wednesday, March 24, 2010


15th century cookbook
Ab. 1420 A.D.


—Take Wyne, an Freyssche broþe, & Clowes, & Maces, & Marwe, pouder Gyngere, Safroun, & lat al boyle to-gederys, & Creme, (ȝif it be clowty, draw it þorw a straynoure,) & ȝolkys of Eyroun, & melle hem to-gederys, & pore þe lycoure þat þe marwe was sothe in, þer-to; þen make fayre cofyns, & put þe Marwe þer-in, & mence Datis, & Strawberys in tyme of ȝere, & sette þe cofyns in þe ovenne, & lat hem hard a lytelle, & take hem out, & put þe lycoure þer-to, & lat bake; & serue forth. 

Modern English

—Take wine, and fresh broth, and cloves and mace, and marrow, and powdered ginger, saffron, and let it all boil together, and cream (if it is clotted, draw it through a strainer) and eggs yolks, and mix them together, and pour the liquor (cooking liquid) that the marrow was soften in, thereto (into the mixture); then make fair coffins (pastry shells to close the contents within), and put the marrow there-in (in the pastry), and mince dates and strawberries in time of year and set the coffins in the oven and let them harden a little, and take them out and put the liquor (cooking liquid) into them and let them back and then serve them forth. 

Combine in a pot: wine, broth, marrow, cloves, mace, powdered ginger and saffron and let this boil together until the marrow is soft.
Remove the marrow from the liquid and set aside
Combine: cream (fresh cream would not have to be strained) and egg yolks in a bowl, then pour the liquid the marrow was cooked in into this mixture. (not mentioned, but stir while combining)
—Make pastry shells and fill them with the marrow
—Mince dates, and strawberries (if you have them) and add them to your pies
it does not mention to cover the pies, though "coffins" could denote that they are covered. In that (correction, I previously wrote:"this" but meant only in the case of a covered pastry) case, one would cover them now but to leave a hole in the centre-top of the pastry lid
However, they could certainly be made more in the modern sense and possibly be lidless which could stand to make sense, especially if made small like "chewets". The pastry should also be "fine" (a typical short paste made with butter would work well here) if we are to compare to other recipes of the era. The only measurement I could find was for depth, which stated 2 inches. 
-(update 2011)- I neglected to notice another recipe from "A Noble Bokr off Cookery" which states: "put it in the coffyn and bak it in the manner of flawnes", this could very well describe an open pastry. 
—Bake the pies and after the pies have hardened enough, take them out of the oven and pour in the cooking liquid (combined with the cream and eggs) and put them back into the oven to finish. 
-(one way of doing this would involve filling the formed pastry with flour while hardening it in the oven, then removing the flour and adding the ingredients, however with recipes like this, some of the ingredients were added and then the batter part of the recipe was added once the pastry was hardened)

(added 17/10/2011)
I mentioned that a modern short paste *could* work here, which is true, though to be free standing it would work better to be not too short. If you would like a more structured pastry, use at most half the amount of softened fat (butter is best) that you would normally use for a modern paste, add egg yolk (but not too much... 1 or 2) if you wish and use room temp to slightly warm water to make it into a formable pastry. It should not bee too soft, but should be malleable, often just beating down and working the pastry will cause this to happen. If too stiff add water after working, if too soft work in flour. A little sugar can also be added. 


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