DYKIP-Pies-art - 7/5/09
"Did You Know its Period? Part 5: Simple Simon's Pies" by HL Rowan Houndskeeper.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
This article was first published in "The Barge", the newsletter of the Barony of Three Rivers, Calontir.
Did You Know its Period? Part 5: Simple Simon's Pies
by HL Rowan Houndskeeper
"Simple Simon met a Pieman, going to the fair,
Simple Simon said to the Pieman, let me taste your ware."
In period cookbooks you will find an amazing number of pie, tart, torte, and coffin recipes (a coffin is an enclosed pie with both upper and lower crusts). Pies and tarts of all types - fruit, meat, fish, vegetable, cheese, egg, sweet, or savory - were extremely popular throughout all the Medieval European cultures that we recreate. While some of these recipes might be rather odd to the modern diner (anyone for calves feet pie?), others are as familiar as the apple pie recipe I presented in an earlier article. In this article are some recipes that should allow you to serve up a very modern meal consisting of nothing but medieval pies. J
Tart on Ymber Day = Quiche
For our meal of medieval pies we start with an appetizer – a quiche. There are numerous medieval recipes, across all the European cultures, for "egg pie." This particular recipe for an Ember Day tart is so simple and well suited to modern tastes that it is a popular medieval dish for the SCA and other reenactors - a Google search will bring up over a dozen redactions posted on the web. This particular redaction was done by Countess Comyn Hrothwy af Guilden Acumen (Ellen Bartel) for a feast a couple of years ago.
The "pouder douce" in the original recipe is one of several different spice mixtures that are called for in various medieval recipes. These recipes don't detail what spices are in the mixture or in what proportions they are mixed – but they were probably similar to something like Crazy SaltŞ or Mrs. DashŞ. It is even quite probable that each spice mixture did not have a consistent recipe but that there were variations based on the culture and time period, or the cook's budget and personal tastes. In this redaction, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg are used in equal amounts as the pouder douce, but you can alter this to suite your own tastes.
By the way, an "Ember Day" is a day of fasting (no meat), one of a set of three days within the same week that occurs four times during the year to mark the Catholic holy seasons (Advent, Lent, and Pentecost) and in the fall (September).
MYLATES OF PORK = PORK POT PIE
Next in our "meal of medieval pies" we need an entrŽe, in this case a medieval version of the TV dinner standard – a pot pie. Medieval pot pies range the gamut of the meats – beef, pork, chicken or other fowl, venison, lamb, or a combination of any of these. Often the recipes call for the meat to be cooked beforehand, diced or ground after cooking, and then put into the pie shell – making meat pies a great use of leftovers. Eggs, fruit, cheese, and nuts are often added in the period recipes, but the addition of vegetables seems to be rather uncommon. Some of the period meat pie recipes create quite a large pie rather than your typical modern individual serving of a 4-6 inch pot pie – there are recipes for what we would call a pot pie that required a whole chicken or the meat of a whole leg of lamb.
Here again is another one of those medieval spice mixtures, this time "pouder forte". There is apparently no description of what spices or in what proportions they are mixed for pouder forte – although all the interpretations of this spice mixture I have seen call for a strong ("forte") spice mixture containing pepper as opposed to the sweet ("douce") spice mixture of pouder douce, which usually contains cinnamon, sugar, and other such spices.
TURTEN = APPLESAUCE PIE
To go with our entrŽe pie, we need a side dish pie. There are recipes for many fruit, cheese, or vegetable pies in period cookbooks, but many of them are just a little exotic for this series of articles - no matter how tasty they are (e.g. parsnip pie, torte of beans, or spinach tarts). Instead I've included the recipe that first got me interested in doing medieval cooking and redactions. I have fond memories of my grandmother, a country farmer's wife, who in the fall and winter would bake "applesauce pie" when we were visiting. Imagine my surprise when I found a 16th century recipe that matched my grandmother's recipe nearly word for word!
This recipe works great as small individual tarts. As a shortcut, bake your tart shells and then fill them with any commercially sold "Old Fashioned Chunky Applesauce" rather than making your own applesauce from fresh apples.
Finally, to round out our meal of medieval pies, we need a dessert – custard tarts. These "modern" popular snacks for afternoon tea or party appetizers have apparently changed little since period – the medieval recipe only lacks measurements and temperature/time instructions when compared to a nearly identical recipe from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook (p. 349).
TO MAKE SHORT PAEST FOR TARTE = PIE CRUST
You will notice that in none of these medieval recipes, and in none of my redactions, are there instructions for making pie dough. As I mentioned in a previous article, it seems that it was assumed every medieval cook knew how to make pastry dough. A Proper Newe Book of Cokerye (1557, English) and Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welsein (1553, German) seem to be among the few cookbooks that actually include a recipe for pastry dough. For all these recipes I suggest a simple, yet hearty, oil crust pie dough - follow the period pie crust recipe here, but substitute canola oil for the butter and do not use an egg yolk.
Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.
Platina. On Honest Indulgence (De Honesta Voluptatae). A little work on foods and honest indulgence by the very learned man Platina : Printed with the work and care of Father Laurentius de Aguila for the Distinguished Duke Peter Mocenicus. Venice, 1475. Evans, Susan J. Falconwood Press. 1989.
Marx Rumpolt, Ein New Kochbuch. 1581. translated by M. Grasse. 1999. Available at http://clem.mscd.edu/~grasse/GK_Rumpolt1.htm. Original, untranslated, transcribed manuscript available at http://www.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/rumpturt.htm
A Proper New Booke of Cookery. 1575. at http://www.uni-giessen.de/gloning/tx/bookecok.htm
Cariadoc's Miscellany: A Collection of Medieval Recipes, 9th edition. Cariadoc and Elizabeth (David Friedman and Betty Cook) at http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/miscellany.html
Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks. CB Hieatt, B Hosington, and S Butler. University of Toronto Press, 1996.
The Booke of Food for the Barony of Three Rivers, recipes from 2006. edited by Cathus the Curious (Keith Roberts). 2006.
The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. New York: Hearst Books, 1989.
Gode Cookery website at http://www.godecookery.com/godeboke/godeboke.htm
Medieval Cookery website at http://recipes.medievalcookery.com
Copyright 2009 by Teresa Roberts, 9900 Juniper Ct. St Louis MO 63123. <tkroberts at toast.net>. 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, 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.