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Cft-Banquets-art - 6/2/07


"Confections and the Banquet" by Alys Katharine, O.L., O.P.


NOTE: See also the files: sugar-msg, candy-msg, honey-msg, Roses-a-Sugar-art, sugar-paste-msg, Sugarplums-art, marmalades-msg, 14C-Sweets-art, Dresng-t-Dish-art.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

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                               Thank you,

                                    Mark S. Harris

                                    AKA:  Stefan li Rous

                                         stefan at florilegium.org



[NOTE – As well as elsewhere in the Florilegium, see more articles by Dame Alys on her webpage at: http://home.netcom.com/~alysk/ -Stefan]


Confections and the Banquet

by Alys Katharine, O.L., O.P.


   Household accounts from the medieval period list the amounts of sugar as well as the kinds of sugar that were purchased.  For one year, the household of King Edward I used only 677 lbs. of sugar in food dishes, but used 1900 lbs. of rose sugar and 300 lbs. of violet sugar for other purposes.(10)  Comfits (candied spices) were taken to war by Edward, Duke of Guelders (1369), as well as Count William IV (1345) in his battle with the Bishop of Utrecht.(11)  A recipe to make your own comfits is in an accompanying article.


  As mentioned in the article, "Some Sweet Terms," England gradually developed the practice of a "banquet", a separate, sweet, course that followed the main meal.  While guests might simply retire to another room for the banquet, wealthier landowners constructed a separate "banqueting house."  Also called "prospecting" rooms or a "pleasure house," they could be tiny (fitting only six or seven people) to grandiose, such as one made for a hoped-for visit by Queen Elizabeth.  Constructed around 1580, it was three stories high with six rooms on each floor.(12)  Some were made of living plants, a sort of bower in a garden.  Others were placed in park-like settings or on an island, a feast for the eyes while the stomach was being sated on sugar. A number of cookbooks from the late 1500s on include a list of items necessary for a "banquet."  This could serve as a checklist to see if one had everything.  It also made sure that banquets continued to include more and more items, as hosts attempted to outdo one another!


   What follows now is a partial list of the types of confections, sweets, pastries, and "desserts" that were available from the 14th century on.  The list is partial in that learning about period confection is an ongoing process.  You will find a summary of cookery books containing many of these recipes at the end of this article.


Items Used in a "Banquet"


Gervase Markham (The English Huswife, 1615) wrote a brief section on "The Ordering of Banquets" wherein he describes an ideal dessert course.  "...I will now proceed to the ordering or setting forth of a banquet; wherein you shall observe that the marchpanes have the first place, the middle place, and the last place; your preserved fruits shall be dished up first, your pastes next, your wet suckets after them, then your dried suckets, then your marmalades and goodinyakes, then your comfits of all kinds; next, your pears, apples, wardens baked, raw or roasted, and your oranges and lemons slices; and lastly your wafer cakes."(13)  He continues by saying that this is the order in which to organize them prior to sending them out to the dining hall.  When the diners are ready, "dish made for show only" precedes everything.  The following is a compilation of a number of "dessert" items listed in a variety of cookery books as proper for a "banquet."





fruit pastes: quince, peach, green pippins                                              pomegranate seeds

fruit, fresh                                                                                               prunes

preserves, dry and liquid                                                                        barberries                                                                               

succade (suckets): orange peel, lemon peel                                             lemons

sitrenade                                                                                                  sweet oranges

marmalade                                                                                               cherries conserved

pears in syrup                                                                                         raisins

dates in composte                                                                                   orengat (orange peel candied in honey)

dates in confit                                                                                         chitron (candied citron)




Nuts, seeds, and spices


nuts, sugared                                                                                             coliander (coriander)

marzipan (ground almonds mixed with sugar, rosewater, and egg whites)             nutmegs

marchpane (marzipan baked)                                                                    licoras

pepper, white and brown                                                                          ginger

saffron                                                                                                       anis vermeil (red-colored anise)

aniseeds                                                                                                     noisette confites (candied filberts)

cinnamon                                                                                                   pine nut comfits

ginger comfits                                                                                            cubeb comfits

cumin comfits                                                                                           coriander comfits



Sugar Items


Sugar paste (see an accompanying article)                                                rose sugar (sucre rosat)

sugar "reliefs," sculptures                                                                         violet sugar

sugar, melted and moulded                                                                        dragees, large and small (round drops of sugar)

sugar, spun                                                                                                candich (crystalized sugar gobbets)

comfets (see specific listing above)

Manus Christi (boiled sugar gobbets with gold leaf added)

rusen, red and white (poured into moulds, usually fruit shaped)

Baked goods, cookies, pies, cakes


biscuits: there were a number of varieties

   * light, dry biscuits, biscuit breads, diet breads.  Some had egg, others did not.

   * rich short cakes, the paste being mixed with butter or cream

   * raised with ale yeast; usually spiced with aniseeds, caraway, coriander.

   * "biskatello"

almond macaroon

jumballs (a kind of cookie twisted into fanciful knots


shortcakes: Shropshire


gingerbread: red (dried bread crumbs, red wine)

                    white (gum tragacanth, ginger, sometimes almonds)

payne puff


marchpanes (baked marzipan, set on a wafer, frequently decorated with comfits, or a shiny white icing)



Custards, milks, miscellaneous


doucettes                                                                                                 leach (milk and gelatine)

dariols (custard tarts)                                                                              jellies

leach (egg and milk custard)                                                                    cheese

leach Lombard (dates, breadcrumbs, cream or almond milk)  creams





10. Witteveen, Joop.  "Rose Sugar and Other Medieval Sweets, Petits Propos Culinaires, #20

11. ibid.

12. Wilson, C. Anne, editor.  'Banquetting Stuffe'.  Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991.

13. Gervase Markham, The English Huswife, (1615) , edited by Michael R. Best, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 1986





Madge Lorwin, Dining With William Shakespeare, Atheneum, NY, 1976, p 414-415:

                "The cost of spices for a banquet could easily exceed the cost for labor.  In 1559 the City of London put on a military display at Greenwich for the new queen's benefit, and the expenditures for the banquet that followed were conscientiously itemized.   'The cooke and his man for thayre labors' were paid a total of five shillings.  For a pound of cinnamon, the city paid four shillings; for ¾ pound of pepper, one shilling tenpence; for an ounce of whole mace, one shilling twopence; and for a pound of ginger, two shillings.'"



Thomas Dawson, 1596, The Good Huswifes Jewell:  "The Names of all thinges necessary for a banquet.  Suger, pepper, saffron, anniseedes, cinamon, nutmegs, saunders, coliander (coriander), licoras, all kinds of cumfets, orenges, pomegranet seedes, corneseli, prunes, currans, barberies conserved, pepper white and browne, lemons, rosewater, raisins, rie flower, ginger, cloves and mace, damaske water, dates, cherries conserved, sweete orenges, wafers; for your Marchpane seasoned and unseasoned, Spinndges."


John Murrell, 1621, A Delightful Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen


"A bill of Service for a Banquet.  Serve your banqueting stuffe in Silver or Guilt Boules, or Glasse Plates, and set your boules on the Table as you see in these following examples: Put in every Boule two or three several fruits, but not wet and dry together.


                                                A Marchpaine

Mackroones                                                                          Preserved Pear-plums

                                                Dryed Apricockes

Preserved Oringes whole                                                    French Bisket

                                                Cleere cakes of Rasberies

Paste of Apricocks                                                              Preserved Cherries

                                                A Marchpaine

Preserved gooseberries                                                    Counties Cakes

                                                Lemons in quaking iellie

Drye Cherries                                                                       Paste of Gooseberies

                                                A Marchpaine

Shrewsbery cakes                                                              Preserved Pippins

                                                Paste of Rasberies

Preserved damsons                                                           Dry peare-plums

                                                Almond Iambales

Candied Citron                                                                    Sucket Lemons

                                                A Marchpaine

Preserved Barbaries                                                          Candied Eringoes

                                                Artificiall Fruites

Gentilesses                                                          `               Marmelate of Gooseberies

                                                Diasettony of Quinces

Marble paste                                                                        Shell bread

                                                A Marchpaine

Sucket of Walenuts                                                             Marmelate of Damsons

                                                Comfeits of 2 other sortes

Pippins in quaking ielley                                                    Preserved Quinces


Synamon sticks made by Art                                             Preserved Wardons

                                                A Marchpaine

Greene gooseberies                                                          Canalones in spices

                                                Sugar of Roses

Prince Bisket                                                                        Sinamon letters by Art

                                Muscadines called kissing Comfites

Dryed Oringes                                                                      Quideniock



A Bill of Service for a Banquet on the Dutch fashion.  You may put two or three sorts of your fruite in every bowle, but not wet and dry together.


                                                A Marchpaine

Greene Mackroones                                                           Preserved plums

                                                Caueaire [Caviar]

Dryed Apricoks                                                                     Counties Cakes

                                                Parmasant [Cheese]

Bisket                                                                                     Anchouies

                                                A Marchpaine

Paste of pippins                                                                  Naples bisket

                                                Comfites of 2 sortes

Preserved gooseberies                                                     Sinamon letters

                                                Lemons in quaking iellie

Drye cherries                                                                        Paste of gooseberies

                                                A Marchpaine

Sugar cakes                                                                         Preserved pippins

                                                Paste of Rasberies

Preserved damsons                                                           Dry pear-plums

                                                Almond Iambales

Candied Citron                                                                    Sucket Lemons

                                                A Marchpaine

Preserved Barberies                                                          Candied Oringes

                                                Artificiall fruites

Gentillisses                                                                          Marmelate of Gooseberies

                                                Diasetonia of Quinces

Marble Paste                                                                        Shell bread

                                                A Marchpaine

Succet of Walnuts                                                               Marmelate of damsons

                                                Comfeits of 2 sortes

Pippins in quaking Ielley                                                    Preserved Quinces


Sinamon Sticks by Art                                                         Marmelate of Wardens




A Compilation of the Banqueting Items, With Sources for Recipes


Some items listed in a banquet menu do not have specific recipes.  They could have been used as ingredients or as one of the types of comfits.  In the case of fruit, they could have been eaten raw or prepared in another fashion.   For example, Gervase Markham wrote:  "Éyour pears, apples, wardens baked, raw or roasted, and your oranges and lemons slicesÉ"   I would assume that "baked, raw or roasted" would apply to both pears and apples as well as wardens.  Recipes for baked fruit are in the recipe section.


Fruits and Nuts                                                       Spices, Etc.


apples                                                                        aniseeds

barberries                                                                  cinnamon

currants (currans)                                                    cloves

dates                                                                          coriander (also spelled coliander)

lemons                                                                      damaske water

nutmegs                                                                    ginger

oranges (orenges, oringes)                                   licorice (also spelled licoras)

pomegranet seedes                                               mace

prunes                                                                       pepper

raisins                                                                       pepper, white and brown

sweete orenges                                                      rie flower (rice flour)




                                                                                    sugar (also spelled suger)



"Made" Items

(The sources are listed at the end.  Either page number or recipe number is given.  These are not necessarily the only recipes available for any given item.)



Almond Iambales (see also jumbles):  B-#6;  D-#156, #158


almond macaroon:  I-#S184




Anis vermeil (red-colored anise)


Artificiall Fruites:  B-#66-68;  K-#58, #60;  F-p.69;  T-p.42


Barberies conserved:  I-#S76;  T-p.8


Biscuits:  Also spelled bisket or biskatello: Some had egg, others did not; some were raised with ale yeast; usually spiced with aniseeds, caraway, coriander; some were rich short cakes, the paste being mixed with butter or cream

                biskatello: C-#21;  I-#S180, #S181


                biscuits:  A-#51, #53;  H-p.119, p.20;  D-#157;  I-#S176-179, #S182, #S185;  J-p.23;  M-p.163


Canalones in spices:  A-#90; see also the Paste Royal in Spices in recipes


Candich (crystalized sugar gobbets)


Candied citron (also known as chitron):  A-#59;  J-p.29                             


Candied eringoes:  I-#S89, #S90;  J-p.29


Candied oranges (oringes):  A-#60


Candied fruits, flowers, roots:  D-#189;  J-p.29;  K-#40;  T-p.23, p.32


Caueaire [Caviar]




Cherries conserved

Chitron (See candied citron)


Cinnamon sticks and letters (see sinamon)


Cleere cakes of Rasberies:  B-#4


Codiniacs (also spelled goodinyakes, quideniock, condonack, quidony):  J-p. 21, 22; K-#53-56;  N-p.298;  S-p.32;  T-p.5

Comfits (including coriander, cubeb, cumin, ginger, pine nuts):  C-#54;  K-#38, #39; S-p.28-31




Counties Cakes (listed as Countesse Cakes):  A-#57


Creams:  H-p.52;  O-p.76, 186; many varieties in G, J, K ,M


Damaske water:  L-page m-41


Dariols (custard tarts):  E-#191Forme of Curye


Dates in composte


Dates in confit


Diasetonia  (also spelled diasettony, Dia Citonicum, Dia Cydonium) of Quinces:  A-#31;  K-#59




Dragees, large and small (round drops of sugar)


Dried fruit (including peare-plums; cherries, apricots (apricockes), oranges (oringes):  See below.


Dry cherries:  B-#64;  T-34


Dry pear-plums:  A-#96, #97


Dryed apricockes (dried apricots):  A-#99


Dryed oringes (dried oranges):  A-#95


French Bisket  (also see "biscuit"):  B-#7


Fruit pastes: quince, peach, green pippins:  T-p.1  (See apricot and peach recipe at end.)


Gentilesses:  A-#92;  I-#S173


Ginger, candied:  K-#42, #43


Gingerbread: red (dried bread crumbs, red wine):  A-#49;  D-#153, #162.  There are also many other sources.


Gingerbread: white:  A-#50;  B-#31;  O-p.101


Goodinyakes (see codiniacs)


Greene gooseberies


Greene Mackroones:  B-#2


Jellies:  C-#26, #29, #58;  D-#151;  J-p.1;  K-#98-101 


Jumballs (a kind of cookie twisted into fanciful knots):  M-p.162;  I-#S191-194;  S-p.14


leach (These include those made of egg and milk custard and milk and gelatin):  A-#48;  K-#102-105;  O-p.89-90;  R-p.17;  T-p.11


Leach Lombard (dates, breadcrumbs, cream or almond milk):  P-#66, #95;  E-#66 Forme of Curye


Lemons in quaking iellie:  A-#45


Macaroon (also spelled makroones):  B-#1;  J-p.21;  M-p.163


Manus Christi (boiled sugar gobbets with gold leaf added):  H-p.35;  K-#84


Marble Paste:  A-#3, #4


Marchpanes (baked marzipan, set on a wafer, frequently decorated with comfits, or a shiny white icing):  A-#73,

#74;  D-#173;  R-p.50


Marmalades (also spelled marmelate): including damsons, gooseberries, wardens  (See marmelate)


Marmelate of damsons:  B-#58


Marmelate of gooseberies (gooseberries):  B-#60


Marmelate of wardens:  A-#28


Marzipan (ground almonds mixed with sugar, rosewater, and egg whites)   (See also marchpane)


Muscadines called kissing Comfites:  A-#87;  B-#71;  M-p.162


Naples bisket (see also biscuit):  A#55;  F-p.66


Noisette confites (candied filberts)


Nouelisses:  A-#93


Nuts, sugared:  Includes almonds and filberts (hazelnuts)      


Orengat (orange peel candied in honey)  N-p.307-308


Parmasant [Cheese]


Paste of apricocks (apricots):  A-#5


Paste of goseberies (gooseberries):  B-#44;  K-#76


Paste of pippins  :  A-#6


Paste of raspberries (rasberies):  B-#42


Payne puff:  E-#204 Forme of Curye


Pears baked:  S-p.44;  see also recipe at end


Pears in syrup


Pippins in quaking ielley:  A-#46, #47


Preserved fruits:  See types listed below


Preserved barberries:  A-#18, #19;  M-p.151


Preserved cherries:  A-#13;  M-p.151;  T-35


Preserved damsons:  A-#25;  M-p.151;  T-37


Preserved gooseberries:  A-#57;  H-p.56;  M-p.151


Preserved oringes (oranges) whole:  B-#53;  H-p.24


Preserved pear-plums:  A-#21;  H-p.24


Preserved pippins:  A-#16, #17, #20


Preserved plums:  A-#12


Preserved quinces:  A-#14


Preserved wardons:  A-#15


Prince Bisket:  A-#53;  C-#28                                           

Quideniock (see codiniac)


Quince paste (see codiniac)


Rose sugar (sucre rosat)  (See recipe at end)


Rusen, red and white (poured into moulds, usually fruit shaped)


Shell bread:  A-#56;  M-#163


Shropshire cakes:  O-p.98


Shrewsbery (Shrewsbury) cakes:  B-#4;  G-p.119


Sinamon letters by Art:  A-#89;  D-#164;  I-#S147, #S148


Sinamon stickes by Art:  A-#84;  D-#164


Sitrenade  (probably referring to citrons)


Succade (suckets): orange peel, lemon peel  (See suckets)


Succet of Walnuts:  A-#65  (See also suckets)


Sucket Lemons:  A-#63  (See also suckets)


Suckets (also spelled succade, succet): Usually candied fruit peels, either "dry" or "wet" (in a syrup), although nuts were also made into a sucket.  See A- 63-66;  K-#42;  T-p.32


Sugar  paste:   Used to mold all kinds of items from small buttons to large "reliefs" or sculptures:  A-#81; S-p.27


Sugar cakes:  A-#58;  G-p.84;  I-#S142-144;  J-p.29


Sugar of roses:  B-#72;  F-p.44


Sugar, spun


Sugar, rock candy:  A-#59-62;  K-#41


Violet sugar:  See recipe at end


Wafers:   C-#36;  D-#177;  I-#C143.   There are many other recipes available in other period sources.


Wardens baked:  S-p.44;  see also recipe at end.





To make the Paste royal in Spices.  From The Ladies Cabinet, The Lord Ruthuen, 1655, reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1990, #71.


Take four ounces of double refined sugar beaten and searced, put thereto one ounce of searced Cinnamon, beat it in a stone mortar to paste, then print it with your moulds, and turne some upon sticks to make them shew like Gummes; they be called in Confectinary, Cinnamon sticks, or Canalonians; then gild them, and put them into your stove, but dry not out the sticks till they be dry, for else they will shrinke.



The following recipes come from The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen, no date, edited by Stuart Peachey, 1992.


To bake Peares, quinces, and wardens.


You must take and pare them, and then coare them: then make your paste with faire water and Butter, and the yolke of an Egge, and sette your orenges into the paste, then bake it well: Then fill your paste almost ful with Sinamon, Ginger and sugar: also apples must be taken after the same sort, saving that whereas the core should be cut out they must be filled with butter everie one: the hardest apples are the best, and like wise are Pears and wardens, and none of them all but the Wardens may be perboiled, and the oven must be of a temperate heate, two houres to stand enough.


To bake Quinces, Peares and Wardens.   From The Good Huswifes Jewell, Thomas Dawson, 1596, reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1988, p. 44.


Take and pare and coare them, then make your paste with faire water and butter, and the yolke of an egge, then set your Oringes into the paste, and then bake it well, fill your paste almost full with Sinamon, Ginger and Suger, Also Apples must be taken after the same sorte, saving that whereas the core should be cut out they must be filled with butter every one, the hardest Apples are best, and likewise are Peares and Wardens, and none of them all but the wardens may be perboyled, and the Oven must be of a temperate heat, two houres to stand is enough.


To bake orenges.


First take twelve Orenges, and pare away the yellow rinde of them, cut them in two peeces, and wring out the iuyce of them, then lay your pilles in faire water, and when it is boyling hot, put your Orenges therein, let them seeth therein untill the water be bitter.  then have another potte of water readie uppon the fyre, and when it dooth seethe, put your Orenge pils therein, and let them seeth again in the same water until they be very tender: then take your Orenges out of the pot, & put them in a bason of fayre cold water, and with your thombe take out the core of your Orenges and wash them cleane in the same water, and lay them in a faire platter, so that the water may run from them: then take a quart of Bastard, claret wine or white wine, if you take a quart of Bastard, put thereto a quartern of sugar: if you take claret or white wine, ye must take to everie pint a quarterne of Sugar, and set it to the fire in a faire pot: then put your Orenges therein, and seeth them till the liquor come to a sirrop: when it is come to a sirrop, take a fair earthen pot, and put your Orenges and your sirrop altogether, so that your Orenges may be covered with your sirrop, if you lacke syrrop, you must take a pinte of Claret wine, and a quarterne of Sugar, and make thereof a sirrop, and put it into your Orenges, and stoppe your pot close, after this maner you may keep them two moneths, and when you will bake them, take an ounce of Synamon and Ginger in a faire platter, and mingle them together.  Then take foure handful of fine flower, & lay it upon a faire board, and make a hole in the midst of the flower with your hand: then take a pinte of fair water & eight spoonfuls of Oyle, and a little saffron and let them seeth altogether and when it seeths put it in the hole in the midst of the flower, and knead your paste ther with: then make little round coffins of the bignesse of an orenge, and when they be made, put a little sugar in the bottom of them: then take your Orenge pilles and fill them full of sugar and spieces afore rehearsed, and put them into your coffins, and fill the coffins ful of the same sugar and spices: when the spices be in them, close them up, and set them upon papers, and bake them in an oven or baking pan, but your Oven may not be too hot if your coffins be dry after the baking, you may make a litle hole with the point of a knife upon the cover of them and with a spoone put a little of the sirrop to them, at another season you must make your paste with foure handfuls of fine flower, and twoelve yolks of egs, and a little saffron, make your paste therewith.


Another good way to bake Orenges.


Pare the utter rinde as thin as you can: then take the Orenges, and cut out a litle hole in the top, & with a narrow pointed knife picke out as nigh as yee can all the paines: then seeth them in faire water boying a soft pace: and when the water is bitter have more water water readye, and change the first water, and so let them seeth in the second water a good while softly boyling, let them not be very tender, for after that boyling ye must put them in another liquor that must be water and hony very sweet sodden together & scummed: then put into that a good quantity of Saffron, and so put in your orenges, and let them seeth well in that water till they be verie tender, if yee will bake them, put Claret wine and sugar together, and let it boyle wel.  Then fil your Orenges of drie Sugar and Ginger, and turne the whole of your Orenges upward: then put the Claret wine in, till your coffin be almost full: and see that there be Sugar enough in the coffin and close it up, and a litle before ye wil serve it in, put in more of the Claret wine and Sugar that was firste sodden, at the hole above in the coffin.  Thus ye may keepe your Orenges in that same liquor that ye did seeth them in first, a moneth or more and if ye think that the liquor changeth: seeth it againe and it wil amend, and if you think that the Orenges doo not looke yellow enough, put Saffron in the liquor, and with a feather colour your Orenges.


To bake peaches.


Take Peaches, pare them, and cut them in two peeces, & take out the stones as cleane as you can for breaching of the Peach: then make your pie three square to bake fowre in a pie, let your paste be verie fine, then make your dredge with fine Sugar, Synamon and Ginger: and first lay a little dredge in the bottome of your pies: Then put in Peaches, and fill up your coffins with your Dredge, and put into every coffin three spoonfuls of Rosewater.  Let not your Oven be too hot. &c.


To bake pippins.


Take your pippins and pare them, and make your coffin of fine paste, and cast a little sugar in the bottomme of the pie.  then put in your Pippins, and set them as close as ye can: then take sugar, sinamon, and Ginger, and make them in a dredge, and fill the Pie therewith: so close it, and let it bake two houres but the Oven must not be too hot.



SWEET-MEATS OF MY LADY WINDEBANKS, Sir Kenelm Digby, The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Opened, 3rd edition, 1677


She maketh a past of Apricocks (which is both very beautiful and clear, and tasteth most quick of the fruit) thus.  Take six pound of pared and sliced Apricocks, put them in a high pot, which stop close, and set it in a kettle of boiling water, till you perceive the flesh is all become a uniform pulp; then put it out into your preserving pan or possenet, and boil it gently till it be grown thick, stirring it carefully all the while.  Then put two pound of pure Sugar to it, and mingle it well, and let it boil gently, till you see the matter come to such a thickness and solidity, that it will not stick to a plate.  Then make it up into what form you will.  The like you may do with Raspes or Currants.


Modernized recipe from 'Banquetting Stuffe' edited by C. Anne Wilson, chapter 4, Rare Conceits and Strange Delightes by Peter Brears.  (Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1986, ISBN 0 7486 0103 1)


8 oz (225 g) (when prepared) peeled and stoned apricots

3 oz (75 g) sugar (Alys: 1/2 cup; 1 lb. apricots to 1/3 lb. sugar)


Place the apricots in a heatproof jar, seal the top with a piece of cooking foil, and stand in a covered saucepan of boiling water for an hour.  Pour the apricots into a small saucepan and gently boil, stirring continuously until the paste is extremely thick; then add the sugar and continue stirring.  When it is so thick that it has to be spread across the bottom of the pan with a spoon, it may be turned on to a lightly greased plate, worked into a shallow square block, and allowed to cool.  It has a deep orange colour, and is every bit as good today as Sir Kenelm found it three centuries ago.


Alys's revision:  (1 lb. apricots to 1/3 lb. sugar.   Ten apricots (2-2 1/2") are slightly under one pound when peeled and stoned.)


Slice the apricots, place in cooking container (Corningware 1 3/4 quart pan holds a little over 2 lbs. of apricots).  Seal with foil and rubber band for extra security.  Place in large pot, or larger Corningware container.  If you put a lid on the outer container you needn't top it off with boiling water as quickly.  Add boiling water and set on burner at simmer for a good two hours.  The apricots should have fallen into a mush by then.


To peel apricots easily, place them in boiling water for about two minutes and then remove them.  The skins should peel off easily with a knife or your fingers.  If you let them stay in the boiling water too long they begin to cook and get mushy under the skin.  You can also just slice the apricots without peeling them.  After they have cooked for two or more hours, puree them in a blender.  It is best to use a thick pan for cooking the pureed apricots and sugar.  If you simmer them on a low heat you need not stir them continuously until the mixture begins to thicken and erupt into "burps."  This "cooking down" process can take 4 hours or so depending on the amount of apricots you use and the temperature of the heat.  You will need to stir the mixture more and more as it gets thicker.  The apricots are done when you can drag your spoon through the mixture and it leaves a trail.  It should also be pulling away from the sides of the pan at this time.


While this recipe doesn't call for a sugar syrup, you can make one by taking an amount of sugar, wetting it enough to dissolve the sugar, and heating it to hard crack stage.  Add it to the apricots, stirring as you add it.  Then cook the mixture down over low heat until you can make a trail with your spoon.  Pour into shallow, buttered pans and allow to cool.  You can cut them into squares or into shapes using small cookie or canapŽ cutters.  Store between waxed paper or parchment paper.   With proper storage they will keep for a year or so.



ORENGAT:   From Early French Cookery: Sources, History, Original Recipes and Modern Adaptations.  Scully, D. Eleanor and Scully, Terence, University of Michigan Press, 1995.  ISBN 0-472-10648-1.  The original recipe reference given is Menagier de Paris, p.265/¤352


Pour faire Orengat, mettez en cinq quartiers les peleures d'une orenge et raclez a un coustel la mousse qui est dedans, puis les mettez tremper en bonne eaue doucle par neuf jours, et changez l'eaume chascun jour; puis les boulez en eaue doulce une seule onde.  Et, ce fait, les faictes estendre sur une nappe et les laissiez essuier tres bien; puis les mettez en un pot, et du miel tant qu'ils soient tous couvers, et faites boulir a petit feu et escumer.  Et quantvous croirez que le miel soit cuit--pour essaier s'il est cuit, ayez de l'eaue en une escuelle, et faites degouter en icelle eaue une goutte d'icelluy miel, et s'il s'espant, il n'est pas cuit; et se icelle goute de miel se tient en l'eau sans espandre, il est cuit--et lors devez traire vos peleures d'orenge.  Et d'icelles faites par ordre un lit, et gettez pouldre de gingembre dessus, puis un autre, et getter etc., usque in infinitum; et laissier un mois ou plus, puis mengier.


Authors mention that in the original recipe this is a 9-day process and it is recommended that it be stored for a month before eating.  The following is their version.


                Candied Orange Peel



                2 cups sliced orange peel

                1 1/2 to 2 cups cold water

Cut orange peel into quarters.  Scrape pulp from inside with a spoon or knife and slice peel into thin strips.  Cover with cold water in a pot.  Bring slowly to a boil.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Repeat 2 or 3 times.  Drain and dry.


                1/2 cup water

                3/4 cup honey

Make a syrup of honey and water.  Add peel.  Boil until syrup is absorbed and the peel becomes transparent.


                2-3 tsp. powdered ginger

                2 tsp. sugar

Lay individual strips of peel on waxed paper.  Sprinkle on both sides with powdered ginger and sugar mixture.  Expose to air until cold and surface moisture has evaporated.


Store in airtight container until needed.



Ranciata:  The Original Mediterranean Cuisine: Medieval recipes for today.  Santich, Barbara, Chicago Review Press, 1995.  ISBN 1-55652-272-X.  Recipe originally from the Liber per Cuoco.


                Toy la scorza del ranzo e fane quellii pezi che tu vole e curali ben dentro, miti a mole per 15 zorni poy le lessa in aqua tanto che sia tenere, lasale sugare per tri zorni, poy lomiti in lo mele che tu la voi bolire per tri zorni, poi la fa bolire un pocho e chambia poy quello mele e miti l'altro chon le spezie; ma prima le specie siano messe dentro sia spumato lo mele, bolla tanto che 'l mele sia ben cocto, poy la lassa alquanti zorni a l'aiere senza sole.


Her translation:

Take orange peel and cut it into pieces as desired and clean the inside, and set them to soak for 2 weeks then boil them in water until soft, leave them to dry for 3 days, then put them in the honey that you wish them to boil in for 3 days, then boil them a little and then change this honey for the other with the spices; but first the spices have to be put in the honey; then boil these together, skimming, until the honey is well cooked, then leave them to dry for several days in the fresh air, out of the sun.


Her recipe:


Carefully remove the peel of ripe, unwaxed oranges, retaining most of the pith.  Cut into fine strips or segments, as desired.  Soak in several changes of fresh water for 24 hours.  At the end of this time, drain, then slowly bring to the boil in fresh water to cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Drain the orange peel, pat dry and leave to dry thoroughly, weigh when dry.


Measure an equal mass of honey and slowly bring to the boil, skimming the froth from the surface.  Add the peel and cook slowly until the honey reaches the 'soft ball' stage, by which stage there will be very little 'free' honey remaining.  Remove the orange peel and arrange it on an oiled tray, or on a tray lined with baking paper.  Leave to dry for several days and sprinkle with ground ginger, or toss in a little caster sugar flavoured with ginger, before storing in an airtight container.



ROSE SUGAR, in poem Naturen Bloeme (Flower of Nature) by Dutch poet Jacob van Maerlant, written between 1265 and 1270.  From "Rose Sugar and Other Sweets" by Joop Witteveen, Petits Propos Culinaires, Number 20, 1985, pp 22-28.


1.  "Rose sugar (suker rosaet) is made in the following way: rose petals that have been rubbed fine with sugar are put in a glass jar and left in the sun for 30 days; the contents musht be stirred daily; the jar must be well sealed and it will remain good for three years."


Witteveen says that "One could make this sugar not only from roses but also from violets (Viola tricolor L. and Viola odorata L.) and later also from borage and rosemary."


2.  Another recipe from 1600 listed in Witteveen's article:  "Take as many red roses as you wish and rub them very fine, adding three times as much sugar.  Mix this well and set it well sealed in the sun.  Mix it now and then with a spatula."


3.  Witteveen cites MŽnagier de Paris (1393) for this recipe for rose sugar.  "Instead of rose petals it calls for rose water, 1 1/2 pints of rose water to one pound of sugar.  The sugar is clarified with one beaten egg white to one pound of sugar.  The scum is removed and the rose water is boiled with the sugar until it spins a thread 'between thumb and index finger'.  One must then dust a shallow dish with fine flour and pour in the rose sugar syrup and allow it to cool somewhat.  The rose sugar is then cut in pieces and allowed to become cold in the dish.  'And it is good to eat and to comfort the stomach.'  This recipe, says Witteveen, appears "almost without change 300 years later in Nouveau Confiturier, attributed to La Varenne, in the Amsterdam edition of his Le Vray Cuisinier Franois, published around 1700."







A.  A Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen, John Murrell, 1617.  Reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1990


B.  A Delightful Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen, John Murrell, 1621.  Reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1990.


C.  Delightes for Ladies, Sir Hugh Plat, 1609, reprinted in A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks, David Friedman


D.  The English Housewife, Gervase Markham, 1615, edited by Michael R. Best, McGill-Queens University Press, 1986


E.  Curye on Inglysch, 14th century, edited by Hieatt and Butler, published for the Early English Text Society by Oxford University Press, 1985


F.  A Queen's Delight, W. M., 1655, reprinted by Prospect Books, 1984


G.  The Compleat Cook, W. M., 1655, reprinted by Prospect Books, 1984


H.  The Good Huswife's Jewell, Thomas Dawson, 1596, reprinted by Falconwood Press, 11988


I.  Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery, from the early 1600s and on, transcribed by Karen Hess, Columbia University Press, 1981


J.  A True Gentlewoman's Delight, W. I. Gent.,  reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1991


K.  The Ladies Cabinet,  The Lord Ruthuen, 1655, reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1990


L.  Menagier of Paris, c. 1395, transcribed by Janet Hinson, 1988, printed in A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks, David Friedman


M.  The Accomplisht Cook, Robert May, fourth edition, 1678, reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1992


N.  Goodman of Paris, c. 1393, translated by Eileen Power, Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1928, reprinted by Falconwood Press, no date


O.  'Banquetting Stuffe', edited by C. Anne Wilson, Edinburgh University Press, 1986


P.  An Ordinance of Pottage, Constance B. Hieatt, Prospect Books, London, 1988


R.  Epulario, or, The Italian Banquet, 1598, reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1990


S.  The Second Part of the Good Hus-wives Jewell, Thomas Dawson, 1597, reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1988


T.  A Book of Fruits and Flowers, 1656, reprinted by Falconwood Press, 1991

     There is also a reprint of the 1653 edition by Prospect Books, 1984.


Copyright 2006 by Elise Fleming, 3950 Walter Road, North Olmsted, OH 44070-2111. <alysk at ix.netcom.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 receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate 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