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A-Dry-Snow-art - 6/22/17


"A 'Dry Snowe'" by Mistress Anne de Tournai, OP. A dairy-free medieval 'snow' recipe.


NOTE: See also the files: snow-msg, milk-msg, clotted-cream-msg, butter-msg, dairy-prod-msg, Dairy-Prodcts-art, raw-milk-msg, sugar-msg, wafers-msg.





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Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous

stefan at florilegium.org



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A 'Dry Snowe'

by Mistress Anne de Tournai, OP


Snowe on rosemary trees is one of my favourite medieval desserts but finding a period dairy free snow recipe took some doing. The majority of recipes you find are made by beating eggs and cream.


Source [A Proper New Booke of Cookery, C.F. Frere (ed.)]:

To make a dyschefull of Snowe.

Take a pottell of swete thycke creame and the whytes of eyghte egges, and beate them altogether wyth a spone, then putte them in youre creame and a saucerfull of Rosewater, and a dyshe full of Suger wyth all, then take a stycke and make it cleane, and than cutte it in the ende foure square, and therwith beate all the aforesayde thynges together, and ever as it ryseth take it of and put it into a Collaunder, this done take one apple and set it in the myddes of it, and a thicke bushe of Rosemary, and set it in the myddes of the platter, then cast your Snowe uppon the Rosemarye and fyll your platter therwith. And yf you have wafers caste some in wyth all and thus serve them forthe.


Source [The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen, S. Peachey (ed.)]:

To make Snowe.

Take a quart of thicke creame, and five or sixe whites of Egs, a sawcerfull of Sugar, and a sawcerfull of Rosewater, beate all together, and ever as it riseth take it out with a spoone: then take a loafe of bread, cut away the crust, and set it upright in a platter. Then set a faire great Rosmarie bush in the middest of your bread: then lay your snaow with a spoon upon your Rosemary, + upon your bread, + gilt it.


Source [Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin, V. Armstrong (trans.)]:

55 To make snow.

Dilute cream and put it in a pot. And take an eggbeater and stir it thoroughly, until it forms snowy foam on top. And toast a Semmel and lay it in a bowl and sprinkle sugar over it and put the foam on the bread, then it is ready.


So this was my problem – I wanted a dairy free option that worked just as well. I knew I had seen something that reminded me of an Italian style meringue (sugar syrup into beaten egg white) but finding it was a challenge.


For future reference 'medieval snowe' gets you a lot of hits and it will take you looking at every one to find this.


Then I found it – in 1585, Lancelot de Castineau, Master Cook to the three Princes of Liege in Belgium wrote "Ouverture de Cuisine" (Kitchen Opening) which was published in 1604.  The book also contains a standard snow recipe similar to the above but has this gem.


For dry snow.


Take six egg whites well beaten a quarter hour long that it makes thick scum: then take the scum out, & beat the top until you have it all out: then take a pound of white sugar, & melt it with rose water, & let boil to perfection, until it falls with scattering like snow: then take two grains of musk with a little ground ginger, & mix well with the melted sugar: then take all the scum of egg whites, & mix well together with sugar, until you see that it becomes thick like cream, & put on plates, & serve so.


(From a rough translation of "Ouverture de Cuisine" based on this transcription by Thomas Gloning et. al. © 2006, 2011, 2012 Daniel Myers )




6 egg whites

600g white sugar

300ml water

Rose water to taste

1/2 tsp of musk essence

1 tsp of ginger


Separate your egg whites (keep the yolks, they can be used in other dishes). Beat until soft peaks form.


Combine sugar and water in a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Keep an eye on the pan and use a pastry brush to remove sugar crystals.  You will need to get the syrup to a hard ball temperature (121c).


Sprinkle the ginger and musk essence over your egg whites.


Turn your mixer to high, and as you would with Italian meringue, gradually add the syrup to the egg whites and then beat at a medium speed until glossy and the mixture has cooled to room temperature.  Add your rose water to taste during this process.


This recipe will make roughly six cups of meringue.


Kitchen Notes:


     This is most easily done in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer. I did it by hand once.  It’s done now.  Seriously, use the mixer.


     For this recipe, I found the equation 100g of sugar to 1 egg white worked well.


     This creates a very stable soft meringue. For those concerned about eating raw eggs, this type of meringue is safe to use without further baking as the sugar syrup cooks out your eggs.


     This is a gluten free, dairy free dessert.  Makes a great substitute for dishes requiring the cream based snowe.


Redacted June 2015.  Kitchen notes added April 2017.


Copyright 2015 by Brigid Costella. <detournais at gmail.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, please place a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org