Tasty Medieval Morsels for the Holidays

Dame Aoife gets in the holiday spirit this week with links for medieval baked goods. Greetings everyone! This week's Links List is about Medieval Cookies, Biskets, Wafers, Fritters, and other small sweets as we enter into the season of furious baking for the holidays! It occurred to me that folks might want to share their "medievalness" with others this season as they go to various gatherings both with their families and their "historical" friends. It so happened that I shared a batch of medieval gingerbread at a medieval studies night last week, and ended up sharing the recipe as well, to someone who wanted to take it to another gathering. So, for your gustatory and celebratory pleasure, here's a resource for good old-fashioned cookies and sweets, the likes of which Grandma never saw!

As always, please feel free to pass this Links List message along wherever it will find an interested reader (whole, please, not in parts), and use it to update your own WebPages or lists if you like. I am NOT forwarding it especially to historic cooking lists, and so please feel free to do so if you think it will be well received. As always, I cannot possibly read all the lists in which THIS Links List appears---we appear to be shooting 'round the Known World several times a month---so if you want to direct a question or comment to me, please email me directly at liontamr@ptd.net rather than to the list upon which THIS list appears. Thanks! And please remember that I am always interested in hearing suggestions for future Links List topics and am looking for guest "Linkers."



Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon

"Everything Imaginable Made of Sugar"
Translation of the third course of The first banquet for Emperors for the early meal on a meat day, and re-creation of a selection of said third course from Ein New Kochbuch by Marxen Rumpolt By Gwen Catrin von Berlin

(Site Excerpt) The sugar plate or sugar paste I used to create the small items (28, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38, 39, 47, 49, 51, 57, 59, 60, 63, 68, 69, 74, etc.,) is listed in several sources including A Taste of History - 10,000 years of Food in Britain which lists a recipe from A good housewife Jewel by Thomas Dawson; and.in Delights for Ladies. There are two recipes: #10 "A most delicate and stiff sugar paste, whereof to cast Rabbets, Pigeons, or any other little bird or beast, eyther from the life or carved mould;" and #13 "The making of sugar-paste, and casting thereof into carved moulds.." Unfortunately, recipe # 13 and the recipe in A Taste of History include raw egg white, and modern science has alerted us to the dangers of salmonella, so I chose to substitute meringue powder as a safer alternative. I have no indication as to whether the original third course had the items in real-life size or in a small scale. I chose to use small scale (about 1'=1") to provide bite sized items for folk to taste (often one is reluctant to cut, break or damage an item for a taste, so a single-bite sized sample is preferable).

To Make a Marchpane: By Lady Rosemary Willowwood de Ste. Anne
(Site Excerpt) To make a Marchpane from Delightes for Ladies, . . . with Beauties. Banquets. Perfumes and Waters By Sir Hugh Plat, publ. London, 1609 Take two pounds of Almonds being blanched and dryed in a sieue over the fire: beat them in a stone mortar; and when they bee small, mix with them two pounds of sugar being finely beaten, adding 2 or 3 spoonfuls of Rose-water, and that will keeps (sic) your Almonds from oyling. When your paste is beaten fine, drive it thin with a rowling pin, and so lay it on a bottom of wafers: then raise up a little edge on one side, and so bake it: then yce it with Rose-water and sugar: then put it into the ouen again; ....(Modern recipe follows)

Goode Cookys from Goode Cookery (Commercial site--proceeds help support the site)
(Site Excerpt) During the Middle Ages & Renaissance, small cakes or wafers, such as Lebkuchen from Nuremberg & Shrewsbery Cakes from England, were the predecessors of our modern cookie. Many of these cakes were created in a variety of shapes, sizes, & designs, produced by hand-carved molds that depicted images of saints, elements of daily life, & period patterns & motifs.

Stefan's Florilegium: Medieval Gingerbread Messages
(Site Message Excerpt) To make gingerbrede. Take goode honey & clarifie it on the fere, & take fayre paynemayn or wastel brede & grate it, & caste it into the boylenge hony, & stere it well togyder faste with a sklyse that it bren not to the vessell. & thanne take it doun and put therin ginger, longe pepper & saundres, & tempere it vp with thin handes; & than put hem to a flatt boyste & strawe theron suger, & pick therin clowes rounde aboute by the egge and in the mydes, yf it plece you, &c.

Florilegium's cookies files (click sweet or decorated foods on left, then click cookies-msg on the right)
(Site Message Excerpt, from one of my own postings to SCA-cooks) From Huswife's Jewel, 1596 pg. 17 To make Fine Cakes.Take fine flowre and good Damaske water you must have no other liqeur but that, then take sweet butter, two or three yolkes of eggs and a good quantity of Suger, and a few cloves, and mace, as your Cookes mouth shall serve him, and a lyttle saffron, and a little Gods good about a spoonful if you put in too much they shall arise, cutte them in squares lyke unto trenchers, and pricke them well, and let your oven be well swept and lay them uppon papers and so set them into the oven. Do not burne them if they be three or foure days olde they bee the better.

David Friedman's (Duke Sir Cariadoc's) Sabria Welserin cookies, small sweets, and cookie-like recipes:
See recipes number 22, 51, 88, 95, 99, 102, 140, 144, 146, 151, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 180, 199.

Manual de mugeres (Spanish manuscript entitled "Manual of Women")
Hard tack Biscuits:

Fritters: http://www.geocities.com/karen_larsdatter/manual.htm#bunuelos
Quince Turnovers and Almond Sweetmeats: http://www.geocities.com/karen_larsdatter/manual.htm#mem2
Royal Paste: http://www.geocities.com/karen_larsdatter/manual.htm#pasta%20real

Markham's The English Housewife See the Banqueting and Made Dishes section:
See highlights on the left of text for recipes for: Quince Paste, Quince Cakes, Gingerbread, Jumballs, Bisket Bread, Cinnamon Sticks, Sugar Plate, Spice Cakes, Banbury cakes, Marchpane, etc.

Ein Buch von Guter Spise: See # 74 Almond Cakes

Cristoforo Messisbugo: "Fritters" with elderberry flowers, for six persons

Hugh Plat: Apple and Beer Fritters
(Site Excerpt) 59. To make Leach Seeth a pint of Creame, and in the seething put in some dissolved Isinglasse, stirring it till it be very thicke, then take a handful of blanched Almonds, beat them and put them in a dish with your Creame, seasoning them with sugar, and after slice it and dish it.

Gode Cookery: Bryndons
(Site excerpt, modern recipe follows) .xlix. Bryndons. Take Wyn, & putte in a potte, an clarifyd hony, an Saunderys, pepir, Safroun, Clowes, Maces, & Quybibys, & mynced Datys, Pynys and Roysonys of Corauns, & a lytil Vynegre, & sethe it on e fyre; an sethe fygys in Wyne, & grynde hem, & draw hem orw a straynoure, & caste er-to, an lete hem boyle alle to-gederys; an take fayre flowre, Safroun, Sugre, & Fayre Water, and make er-of cakys, and let hem be inne Inow; an kyte hem y lyke lechyngys, an caste hem in fayre Oyle, and fry hem a lytil whyle; anne take hem owt of e panne, an caste in-to a vesselle with e Syrippe, & so serue hem forth, e bryndonys an e Sirippe, in a dysshe; & let e Sirippe be rennyng, & not to styf.

Kateryn de Devlyn: Crysps/Wafers
(Site excerpt--modern recipe follows) Cryfpes (FC 162) Take flo of pandemayn and medle it with white grece ou the fyr in a chawfo and do the bato pto queynthch purgli py fyngos. or thurgh a fkymo and let it a litul quayle a litell fo p p be hool pinne. And if p wilt colo it wip alkenet yfondyt. take he up caft pinne fug, and sue he forth. Also see Payn Rangoun : http://www.kateryndedevelyn.org/eng1men3.htm

Barad--from al-Baghdadi 211/13 (fried dough in honey)
(Site Excerpt--modern recipe follows) Take best white flour, made into a dough, and leave to rise. Put a basin on the fire, with some sesame-oil. When boiling, take in a reticulated ladle some of the dough, and shake it into the oil, so that as each drop of the dough falls in, it sets. As each piece is cooked, remove with another ladle to drain off the oil. Take honey as required, mix with rose water, and put over the fire to boil to a consistency: then take off, and while still in the basin, whip until white. Throw in the barad, and place out on a soft-oiled surface, pressing in the shape of the mould. Then cut into pieces, and serve.

Waffres (Gode Cokkery, which also has many more suitable recipes for small sweets and cookie-type things)
(Site Excerpt---modern recipe follows) ORIGINAL RECEIPT: .xxiiij. Waffres. Take e Wombe of A luce, & see here wyl, & do it on a morter, & tender cheese er-to, grynde hem y-fere; an take flowre an whyte of Eyroun & bete to-gedere, en take Sugre an pouder of Gyngere, & do al to-gerderys, & loke at in Eyroun ben hote, & ley er-on of in paste, & an make in waffrys, & serue yn. - Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books

House on the Hill (Replicas of Historic cookie molds, many of which are historical to our era of study. I reccomed this source, they are terrific)
(Site Excerpt) Long ago and far away...For over a thousand years in faraway Europe, presses (or molds) have been used to imprint "picture cookies" which gratified both body and soul.The seductive appeal of the presses lies in their singular enfolding of history, art, anthropology and celebration into an edible form. They were used as betrothel tokens between lovers; to celebrate nuptuals and births and daily life; to honor the renowned and the ordinary; they were expressions of piety, tellers of tales, teachers of religion and literacy, and were humorous or bawdy observers of the human condition. They were editorials, recordings of war and conflict, political hand-outs, and an appreciative noting of nature and nature's bounty. In short, edible snapshots from our past.

Historic Impressions-- A Retailer of historic cookie molds Butter Stamps and Cookie Molds
(Site Excerpt) Butter molds were carved since at least the 17th century as a decorative and identifying way to mold butter. Beautiful and ornate examples are abundant in the Germanic countries, especially, where wood carving was a popular folk art. The molds were carved originally by farmers for their own use, sometimes including their initials and heraldic symbols, but mainly depicting the simple pastoral world around them, farm animals, birds and other wild creatures and flowers and fruit both realistic and stylized. Immigrants brought their carving arts with them and the tradition continued in this country until the need for these molds was so great that in the 19th century, woodenware factories began producing them with lathes and other laborsaving tools. Their original cost of five or ten cents a piece has sky rocketed - antique butter molds, many times without the cylindrical housing through which the decorative stamp was pushed, sell for $300-$400 if the design is desirable and the piece is in good shape.

And... added to the list:

After publishing the Cookies Links List earlier in the week, I received the following link from a reader in the UK that was too good to keep to myself. She maintains that the last recipe is sinfully decadant and will be guaranteed to be a big hit (looks great to me :) so long as you can prevent your housemates from tearing into them first. I really like the idea of this sort of tourney prise. It seems much more historical to me, besides which the idea of the Laurels providing somehtign they have hand-made for a huge tourney is awfully nice and demonstrates significant Peace-on-Earth between the High Orders :)

Anyway, enjoy the Link, and happy baking!


Cookies made for a Prize Basket by Mistress Kiriel for a Tournament in the UK
(Site Excerpt, first recipe. Modern redaction follows) A Basket of Biscuits: Fine Cakes, Gingerbread, Jumbals, Bizcochos, Finer Jumbals. Fine Cakes (The Widowes Treasure, 1639)Take a quantity of fine wheate Flower, and put it in an earthen pot. Stop it close and set it in an Oven, and bake it as long as you would a pasty of Venison, and when it baked it will be full of clods.Then searce your flower through a fine sercer. Then take clouted Creame or sweet butter, but Creame is best: then take sugar, cloves, mace, saffron and yolks of eggs, so much as wil seeme to season your flower. Then put these things into the Creame, temper all together. Then put thereto your flower. So make your cakes. The paste will be very short; therefore make them very little. Lay paper under them.