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DYKIP-Sweets-art - 6/11/09
"Did You Know its Period? Part 3: Satisfying Your
Sweet Tooth" by HL Rowan Houndskeeper.
NOTE: See also the files: easy-p-recip-msg,
rice-pudding-msg, Sugarplat-Adv-art, fruit-pies-msg, gingerbread-msg, snow-msg,
This article was submitted to me by the author for
inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's
These files are available on the Internet at:
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 III: Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth
by HL Rowan Houndskeeper
The end of an old year and the
start of a new one brings the holidays and their emphasis on celebration,
social gatherings, and the inevitable holiday dessert table. In period they
liked their calorie-laden sweets just as much as we do today. In fact,
according to the 1542 book Dyetary of Helth, "All meates and drinkes the which is swete and that sugar is in,
be nutrytyve [nuitritive]" (as quoted in To the Queen's Taste). Various types of candies, puddings, and pies were
prevalent throughout all of the times and cultures we recreate, and numerous
recipes exist in the period cookbooks. They had cookies and cakes, too, but
they were not quite what we are used to today.
thing to remember about medieval desserts is that they did not have either
baking soda or baking powder. Instead, the leavening agent that allowed cakes
and cookies to rise was yeast. Honey was a common sweetener, but sugar from
cane sugar was also available in Europe, brought back from the Middle East
after the Crusades. Here are some surprisingly modern medieval and renaissance
desserts to add to your next holiday table.
PLATE = ROCK CANDY
Take a lb. of fayr clarefyde suger and put it in a panne and
sette it on a furneys, & gar it sethe the mountynance of a Ave Maria, whill
evermore steryng wyth a spatur, and sette it of ageyne, but lat it noght wax
over styfe for cause of powrynge. And loke thou have redy beforne a fair litel
marbill stone and a litell flour of ryse in a bagge, shakyng over the marbill
stone till it be overhilled, and than powre thi suger theron as thin as it may
renne, for the thinnner the platen the fairer it is. If thou willt, put therin
any diverse flours, that is to say roses leves, violet leves, gilofre leves, or
any other flour leves, kut them small and put them in whan the suger comes
first fro the fyre. And if thou wilt mak fyne suger plate, put therto att the
first sethyng ii unces of rose water, and if ye will make rede plate, put
therto i unce of fine tournesole clene waschen at the fyrst sethyng.
- Curye on Inglysch (14th c. English)
Take a pound of fair clarified sugar and put it into a pan, and
set it on a flame and let it boil for the time it takes to say an Ave Maria
prayer while stirring with a spatula, and set it off (the fire) again, but don't
let it get too stiff for pouring. And look that you have ready beforehand a
fair little marble stone and a little rice flour in a bag, shaking [the rice
flour] over the marble stone till it is covered, and then pour the sugar
thereon as thin as it may run, for the thinner the plate is the fairer it is.
If you wish, put therein any diverse flowers, that is rose petals, violet
petals, gillyflower petals, or any other flower petals, cut them small and put
them in when the sugar first comes off the fire [and before pouring]. And if
you wish to make fine sugar plate, at the first boil put in 2 ounces of
rosewater, and if you wish to make red plate put in 1 ounce of fine tournesole, clean and washed, and add it at the first boil.
2 c. Sugar (Sugar Cane sugar, not Beet sugar)
1/3 c. Water
1/3 c. Rosewater
Rice flour or oil
Food coloring (Optional)
Diced flower petals (Optional)
Place rice flour in a thin muslin cloth bag and shake a thin layer
of rice flour over a marble candy slab. If you don't have a marble candy slab,
lightly oil a cookie sheet.
Combine sugar, water, and rosewater in a
saucepan, place on highest heat, and stir with wooden spoon JUST until sugar is
dissolved. Put in a candy thermometer and cook to hard-crack stage (310
degrees). Brush down sides with cold wet pastry brush, but DO NOT STIR sugar
after crystals are dissolved or it will cause crystallization and a sugary
At hard crack stage turn off the heat and quickly
stir in food coloring (if desired). This is also the stage that you can quickly
stir in flower petals if desired. Dip the base of the pan in cool water and
allow sugar to stand just long enough for the bubbles to disappear. Pour out
onto prepared slab or cookie sheet so that it forms broad thin disks, and let
cool until brittle. Store in an air tight container.
Sugar Plate is nearly identical to modern recipes for clear hard candies such
as rock candy and lollipops. The only difference between this redacted period recipe
and a modern recipe in The Complete Wilton Book of Candy is that the flavoring is rosewater, substituted for
half of the water in the modern recipe, instead of an oil based flavoring
stirred in with the food coloring. Although this redaction calls for making "plates"
you can also pour it into a form to make hard candies or "stained glass",
or break it up to form slivers of sugar glass (rock candy).
Adding flower petals, as in the period recipe, can have an interesting
effect, but if you choose to add flower petals be sure to use only organic, edible
varieties of flower petals – and make sure they haven't been exposed to
Rice Puddings. Take halfe a pound of Rice,
and steep it in new Milk the whole night, and in the morning drain it, and let
the Milk drop away, and take a quart of the best, sweetest, and thickest Cream,
and put the Rice into it, and boyl it a little. Then set it to cool an hour or
two, and after put in the yolkes of half a dozen eggs, a little Pepper, Cloves,
Mace, Currants, Dates, Sugar, and Salt, and having mixt them well together, put
in a grat store of Beef suet well beaten, and small shred, and so put it into
the farms, and boyl them as before shewed, and serve them after a day old.
English Hous-wife (1683, English)
It's Post-Elizabethan English, London dialect
– I shouldn't need to translate it for anyone J
6 c. Milk
1 c. White rice (not instant rice)
1/2 c. Sugar
1 c. Heavy cream
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbsp Butter
1/8 tsp Cloves
1/8 tsp Mace
1/4 c. Currants (or raisins)
1/4 c. Minced dates
Mix fruit and spices together well and set aside.
Add to a large pot the milk, rice, sugar, butter and salt. Bring to a gentle
boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat, cover pot, and allow
to simmer for ~45 mins or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. Drain
off excess milk. Add cream, bring to a boil, and then immediately remove from
heat. Refrigerate until chilled. Fold fruit and spice mix into the pudding so
that it is evenly distributed. Serve either warm or cold. To serve warm,
simmer the pudding over gentle heat until warm.
Rice was an imported grain in
England, and thus a luxury item listed in household accounts along with such
items as spices. The "farms"
or forms (molds) mentioned in the recipe allowed the puddings to be cooked,
stored, and served in a single container. Alternatively, it is possible that
the puddings were removed from the form for serving much the same way we use Jello
for rice pudding is actually from an out of period edition (1683) of the English
Housewife (originally printed in 1615). It
is a fancier dish than both many modern and earlier-period versions of rice
pudding that I have seen. I've included a couple of other earlier period
recipes here (below) for you to redact yourself.
I have omitted
the eggs and pepper in the above redaction, making it closer to most modern
rice pudding recipes, but it is also good with them, if a bit different to
modern tastes. Beef suet is found in many period recipes, and most modern
redactions substitute lard or butter (as was done here). But you can buy beef
suet at a butcher's shop and process it in your food processor to get the "well
beaten" consistency required by the recipe if you want.
Earlier-Period Versions of Rice Pudding
Take a porcyoun of Rys, & pyke hem clene, & sethe hem welle, & late
hem kele; þen take gode Mylke of Almaundys & do þer-to, &
seþe & stere hem wyl; & do þer-to Sugre an hony, &
Two Fifteenth Century Cook Books (15th c. English)
Take a portion of rice, and pick it clean, and boil it well, and let it cool;
then take good almond milk and do [add it] thereto, and boil [it], and stir it
well; and do [add] thereto sugar and honey, and serve it forth.
of fische daye. Blaunche almaundes & grynde hem, & drawe hem vp wyt
watur. Wesche þi ryse clene, & do þerto sugur roche and salt:
let hyt be stondyng. Frye almaundes browne, & floriche hyt þerwyt, or
- Curye on Inglysch (14th c. English)
Fish Day. Blanch almonds and grind them and draw them up with water [Make
almond milk]. Wash your rice clean and do [add] thereto sugar, roche [the
almond milk] and salt: let it stand. Fry almonds brown, and flourish
[sprinkle] it therewith, or with sugar.
TARTYS IN APPLIS = APPLE PIE
gode applys & gode spycis & figys & reysons & perys, & wan
they arn wel ybrayd colour wyth safroun wel & do yt in a cofyn, & do yt
forth to bake wel.
- Curye on Inglysch (14th c. English)
good apples and good spices and figs and raisins and pears, and when they are
well brayed [ground, mixed, or mushed]
color with saffron well and put in a coffin [pie with both top and bottom
crusts] and do it forth to bake well.
Currants or raisins
Each of nutmeg, mace, salt
Coarsely ground pepper
1/8 tsp Dried orange peel (or fresh orange zest)
1-1/2 tsp Cinnamon
shell or tart shells (see below)
oven to 375 degrees . Peel and core apples and pears and chop them small
– you want the pieces to be ~1/2" square or less. Mix together the
sugar and all the spices. Mix all the fruit together in a bowl with
approximately half of the sugar/spice mix. Put a layer of the fruit mix into a
pie shell (recipe below) and sprinkle with some of the saved sugar/spice mix.
Repeat layering fruit mix and sugar/spice mix until the pie shell is full,
ending with sugar/spice mix sprinkled over the top. Bake for approximately 45
minutes. This makes a rather large pie (9"-10"), or ~20 tartlets (2"),
but if making tarts reduce baking time to ~25 minutes.
3 c. Flour
Canola or olive oil
water and oil together, stirring briskly, and then add them to the flour,
mixing together to form a dough. Split the dough in two, and roll each half
separately between 2 floured wax papers. Do not freeze dough to roll out later,
although you may roll it out and freeze it in the pie pan. Makes a top and
bottom crust for a 9-inch pie.
This particular period apple
pie recipe calls for pears and other fruits as well as apples, resulting in a
more complex taste than the standard modern apple pie. There are in fact
numerous period recipes for apple-pie-type desserts. Some are quite different
to modern tastes, containing cheese, meats, or vegetables, while others are
closer to the classic American dessert. In fact, my interest in redacting period
recipes came from casually reading a translated (but not redacted) period German
recipe and realizing "Hey, that sounds exactly like my grandma's recipe
for applesauce pie!"
TO MAKE SNOW = WHIPPED CREAM
To make a dissh full of Snow. Take a potell of swete thicke
creame and the whites of eight egges & beate them al togider with a spone /
then put them in youre creame and a saucer full of Rosewater and a disshe full
of Suger with all / than take a sticke & make it cleane / and than cutte it
in the ende foure square / and there with heate all the aforesayde thinges
togither / & ever as it ryseth take it of and put it into a Collander /
this done / take one apple and set it in the myddes of it and a thicke busshe
of Rosemary and set it in the middes of the plater / then cast your Snow upon
the Rosemary & fyll your platter therewith. And if you have wafers cast
some in with all and thus serue them forth.
- A Propre new booke of Cokery (15th c. English)
a dish full of Snow. Take a pot of sweet thick cream, and the whites of eight
eggs & beat them together with a spoon / then put them into your cream and
a saucer full of Rosewater and a dish full of Sugar / then take a clean stick and
then cut it in the end four square [make a whisk]/ and therewith heat all the
aforesaid things [cream, egg whites, rosewater and sugar] together [while using
the whisk to beat it] & ever as it rises take if off and put it into a colander
/ this done / take an apple and set it in the midst of it and a thick bush of
Rosemary and set it in the middle of a platter / then cast your Snow upon the
Rosemary & fill your platter therewith. And if you have wafers cast them
around the edges and thus serve them forth.
Take a half gallon of cream, along with eight egg whites, 8 tsps
rosewater, and 2c sugar as mentioned and place in a pot. Gently heat
ingredients together while whisking or beating until you get a meringue or
whipped cream consistency. Serve on a platter with an apple and rosemary
branch in the center and wafers around the perimeter.
Second Recipe for Snow
Ain schne z machen
Nitz ain milchram vnnd th den jn den haffen/ vnnd nim ain klxen vnd rier jn drchainander,
bis es ain schne oben gewint/ vnnd bee ain semel vnnd legs jn ain schissel vnd
see daraff ain zcker vnnd th den schom aff das brot, so jst es berait.
- Das Kuchbuch der Sabina Welserin (1553 German)
(55) To make a snow
Take 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.
Take a pint of half-and-half and whip it until fluffy. Place a warm
glazed sweet roll on your platter and cover with the whipped cream.
The two period recipes presented
here for "Snow" are fairly clear that this was meant as a sort of
subtlety. In the simpler German recipe the whipped cream was served over a
toasted and sugared Semmel [a mildly
sweet bread roll] resulting in "snow" on a "hill" made of a
hot, glazed sweet roll. The English recipe on the other hand indicates that it
was served as a mound of whipped cream on a platter around an apple and a small
rosemary plant to simulate a snow covered landscape complete with a "boulder"
and "tree". In this recipe it was served with wafers for scooping up
the whipped cream and eating with it. Most modern tastes (at least the adult
ones) might find eating straight whipped cream a bit much, so you can stick to
mounding it on your apple pie from the recipe above.
To The Queen's Taste:
Elizabethan feasts and recipes adapted for modern cooking. Lorna J Sass. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976.
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,
Pleyn Delit: Medieval
Cookery for Modern Cooks. CB
Hieatt, B Hosington, and S Butler. University
of Toronto Press, 1996.
The Complete Wilton Book of
Candy. Eugene and Marilynn Sullivan. Wilton
The English Huswife. 9th Edition. Gervase Markham, 1683 (original
printing in 1615) at
Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with
extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. Austin, Thomas. London: for The Early English Text Society
by N. Trbner & Co., 1888.
A Propre New Booke of Cokery.
1575. A. Veale at http://www.medievalcookery.com/notes/pnboc1575.txt
Das Kuchbuch der Sabina
Welserine. 1553. V. Armstrong. at
Gode Cookery website at
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.