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Plum-Pudding-art - 2/19/15


"Erbowle (Fresh Plum Pudding)" by Lady Helouys le Poer.


NOTE: See also the files: plums-msg, fruits-msg, apples-cinn-msg, Period-Fruit-art, comfits-msg, Sugarplums-art, figs-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


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Thank you,

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

stefan at florilegium.org



This article was first published in February 2015 issue of the "Cockatrice", the arts & sciences newsletter for the Kingdom of Lochac.


Erbowle (Fresh Plum Pudding)

by Lady Helouys le Poer



From: "A Form of Cury" http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/foc/


Around December/January (summer in Lochac), I end up with a surplus of plums from my garden. So this year I decided to enter the 2015 Kingdom A&S Competition (Dessert) using my redaction of 14th century recipe for 'fresh plum pudding', or Erbowle. As wild plums, or bolas, were plentiful in medieval England (Moffatt, 2006), I figured that it would be a common dessert. I first came across this recipe in my well-thumbed (and marked) copy of Pleyn Delit (Hieatt et al, 1996), which includes redactions of a number of the recipes found on a 14th Century parchment penned by 'masterchefs' in the kitchens of the English king, Richard II. This list of recipes was effectively England's first cookbook (Labarge, 1965) and was published as "A Forme of Cury" – or 'the (proper) method of cookery' in the late 18th Century (Scanned facsimiles - http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/foc/. Accessed 7 January, 2015).


Originally, the redactions were compiled in Hieatt and Butler (1985) "A Curye on Inglysch"- and have since been used by modern cooks, both across the Knowne Worlde and outside of it.


The modern English translation is as follows:

There are lots of other redactions around and here is mine:




• Around 500 or 600 g of good sized plums (Prunus sp) (mine were probably Japanese blood plums)

• 1 cup of Sweet or Port Wine

• 3/4 cup of honey

• 1 tsp of Powder Forte (my recipe below)

• 2 tbs of rice flour

• Salt to taste


Powder Forte – based on a recipe from Celtnet (http://www.celtnet.org.uk. Accessed 5 January, 2015)


• 1 tbs ground ginger

• 2/3 tbs of ground cinnamon

• 1/2 tbs of ground cloves

• 1/3 tbs each of ground cubeb, grains of paradise and black pepper.


My redaction:


1. Place the whole plums in a heavy bottom saucepan (non-reactive – stainless steel or stoneware) with a cup of the wine and let simmer until the skins start to split off.



2. Remove skins and seeds and press a through a strainer.


3. Blend the resultant plum "mash" with the wine (still in the saucepan).


4. In a separate pot, warm 3⁄4 cup of liquid honey and add pre-prepared 1-2 tsp "Powder Forte."


5. Then add the pureed wine/plum mixture, rice flour and a pinch of salt.


6. Bring to mixture to the boil and let simmer for approximately 5 minutes – or more.


7. Once the mixture appears to be an 'applesauce' consistency, served into small bowls – and sprinkle with aniseed confits.



The final product:


As Lady Rosemary Willowwood notes in her redaction (see below), the resulting product is a rather pleasing and slightly spicy 'sauce' or fruit-custard – rather than a pudding. The redaction/recipe on Celtnet uses the wine, spice and honey mixture as a sauce over whole plums. Either way, I think it would provide a warming and healthy 'dessert' (or supper), as autumn gives way to winter. Therefore this recipe would be a lovely Christmas option for those in the Northern Kingdoms. Consistent with a summer harvest here in Lochac, I also think provides a nice and healthful dessert served cold, either on its own, or potentially with custard.


Reference List


Hieatt, C.B. and Butler, S. 1985 . (Eds) Curye on Inglysch; English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth Century. OUP, Early English Text, Soc., London. Page 119.


Hieatt, C.B., Hosington, B. and Butler, S. (1996) Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks. University of Toronto .


Labarge, M.W. (1965) Mistress, Maids and Men: Baronial Life in the Thirteenth Century; reprint 1988. Phoenix, London


Moffatt, L. (2006) Archaeology of Medieval Food Plants. In: Food in Medieval England: Diet and Nutrition. Woolgar, C.M., Serjeantson, D. and Waldron, T. (Eds). Oxford University Press. Medieval History and Archaeaology, International Library of Archaeology www.historiayarqueologica.com/group/library. (Accessed 5 January, 2015)


Renfrew, C. "Take a thousand eggs or more: A translation of medieval recipes from Harleian MS. 279, Harleian MS. 4016, and extracts of Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. ...

reprinted by Royal Fireworks Press: http://www.thousandeggs.com/ttem.html


For other redactions:

Lady Rosemary Willowwood de Ste. Anne's "Then Serve It Forth..." http://terrapomaria.antir.sca.org/cooking/erbowle.htm. This article provides a good background to the use of this item potentially for its health benefits. She also notes you can adapt it for white plums.


Celtnet – which has a variety of medieval recipes and includes a recipe for Powder Forte which seems to have covered most relevant spices. Please note: this recipe advises

1 Tablespoon of Powder Forte – which I do not advise!!!! http://www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes/mediaeval/fetch-recipe.php?rid=medi-erbowle



Copyright 2014 by Louise Armstrong, 5 Gore St, Higgins, ACT, Australia, 2615. <helouys 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).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org