The Cook-A-Long is a virtual kitchen for Medieval and Renaissance Cooking enthusiasts in the SCA. Each month a period recipe will be posted in the original language (when available) and a translation. All cooks are encouraged to try their hand at redacting and preparing the monthly dish and post his/ her results to the blog. If you are interested in becoming a participant in this cook a long, or would like to submit a dish for the month please send an e-mail to valkyr8 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

To prepare a plum tart to be served vpon Twelfth Night

Bonjour, c'est Merouda. There you have it, my little 12th night feast. Food fit for a noble in my dining room. The picture's a little blurry, of course, because I was taking it by candlelight. The food was very good. The meal consists of:

Meatballs, Chicken, Armored Turnips, Artichoke hearts, Beets, Yogurt, Strawberry preserves, Raisins, Almonds, Plum tart, and washed down with a Riesling. It sounds like a lot, but I was careful to serve myself only tasting portions of most of it, as one would expect a 12th night feast to have a lot to taste. :-) And yes, I was in period-style clothing. I'm home alone tonight, all my holidays sucked at some level or another, and I wanted at least one fest my way.

The meatballs started out as Poume d'Oranges but as I found I didn't have this and didn't want that, it morphed so many ways that I couldn't list out a redaction if I wanted to. The only thing I wanted to note was that this was the first time I ever followed the instruction to boil a meatball and then bake it. Yeah. Dry. Very dry. I won't do that again, I don't care how medieval it is.

The armored turnips? I've done this dish a bunch of different times, usually following one of the many redactions on the web. I have yet to find a redaction that I really like. I'm thinking, I should like it: I like turnips. I like cheese. I like the usual array of spices. But no, nothing yet. Most of the redactions I have seen feature cheddar, so this time I tried a mix of Parmesan and Swiss, and stuck with freshly ground pepper for the spice, as I had over-salted the parboiling water. I liked this version best, but still feel like this dish just is not as good as it should be.

And the last of the dishes that I actually want to discuss is, of course, the plum tart.

Note the heraldic decoration on the pie! This is the badge of Sept Pendray. If you look at the first picture in this article, you can see a tile decorated with a colored version of the badge. Next heraldic food experiment; colored pie crust.

Delish, delish. Has passed the Miguel-san test, which surprised me a little, since he wouldn't even try Tarte of prunes, included in the entry here. This time, however, I had to chase him away, because he was ready to sail into the filling with a spoon.

I worked according to the first recipe cited in the December recipe entry. There are at least 3 egg yolks in this recipe, and that's three too many for me. Here's my redactions and my experiments!

18 or so prunes
1.5 cups red wine plus extra as needed.
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1 t oatmeal
commercially prepared pie crust without egg

Simmer the prunes in the wine upon the stove until the prunes are plump and soft. Mash the plums into the wine, then stir in sugar and cinnamon. Taste, add a little more sugar, wine, cinnamon if you think you need it--we were fine with 1/3 c sugar and 3/4 t cinnamon, and I had added wine as needed to keep the total liquid at about 1.5 cups. When you have it to your taste, turn off heat and quickly grind 1 teaspoon of oatmeal with a mortar and pestle. Add to syrup/mashed plum mixture to thicken it up a little, return to heat briefly if needed.

Regarding the crust: I searched carefully through the pie crusts at my store. All of them were made with unreasonable amounts of animal fats, so the best I could do was choose something egg-less and not the same brand I bought last time (with its fat content so high that the quiche crust tasted like grease). The receipt could be understood as enclosing the pie in a double crust, but I didn't understand it that way, I thought it could also be said to be decorated. I was also very interested in the possibility of using this recipe as a traveling dish, so I decided to use 1/2 of the top crust to make a sort of turnover. I used the remainder of the top crust to decorate the pie. The seeblatt crust, empty pie crust, and filled turnover all went into the oven at the same time, and all cooked up pretty well. I poured the filling into the baked crust, slipped the seeblatt into the middle, and It Was Finished.

I haven't eaten the seeblatt-decorated pie yet, but the turnover was just wonderful. I would say that it would be an excellent period sweet for a tourney dinner.

1 comment:

Liz said...

What a lovely spread!!! Just an FYI, if you are coming to 12th Night in Nordskogen you can bring your own food on site. Other than the onion tart, there are no eggs in the other dishes that are being served for lunch, but I know how you like to bring your own food and I wanted to make sure you knew you could.