One iteration of this is the very first recipe in Daz Buch von guter spise, and variants appear throughout the book. It’s clear that sour cherries are well used and appreciated in early German cuisine.

The commonalities among the dishes called Concauelite or Konkavelite are the call for cherries, almonds, and rice flour, though there are some minor variations. I opted to make one iteration of the dish, in this case number 83.

For 83, a Concauelit, I assembled the ingredients and measured them out, only to discover that I have no rice flour. After some discussion and consideration, I made some oat flour and continued on.

almonds, cherries, a cherry pitter, a bowl of goose fat, three small bowls with salt, poudre douce, and sugar respectively, and a bowl of oat flour.

the setup.

Recipe: Konkavelite 83

Ingredients

  • ½ lb almonds
  • 2 c water
  • ½ lb sour cherries
  • ½ c sweeter red wine.
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp poudre douce (sweet spice mix. Cinnamon sugar is the simplest variant)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ c oat flour. (err on the side of less, it can wind up a little like a superball)
  • 1/4 c fat. Book calls for lard, a mild olive oil would be good. Almond oil would be delicious.

Instructions

  1. Boil almonds til the skins slip, or soak overnight. Pop off the skins, and blender with clean water til it’s liquid. Strain. Save the solids for something else. I have seen modern German varietals of this dish which retain the solids, and can’t say as that’s a bad idea, but it’s not suggested in the original source.  My yield; 1 cup.
  2. Poach cherries in wine til they pop and the house smells great. Watch for burning and sticking.
  3. I ran them through a food mill, the recipe says to squeeze in a cloth. I did not want to lose juice to a bag. If you do this, I strongly suggest pitting the cherries in advance. While the seeds add another layer of almond flavor, they are painful projectiles when flung from a food mill.  My yield; 1/2 cup
  4. Pour cherry juice into almond milk. Simmer.
  5. Add rice (or in my case, oat) flour, simmer til thickening to your preference. I went for a tapioca-like consistency.
  6. Season while still on the heat.
  7. Add the fat a teaspoon at a time, I used a tablespoon. It was starting to look slick, so I stopped.
  8. Recheck seasoning.
  9. Allow to cool, either serve warm or chill for service at a later time.

Ratings

-quite fiddly; several steps

-can be messy! Sticky dishes.

-Very scarce seasonal ingredient.

-Challenging to make larger batches

-contains some of the more common allergens (tree nuts, cherries, wine, sulfites within the wine)

+ a little goes a long way, it is dessert-like.

+ pairs very well with many other dessert options, such as wafers.

+ sour cherries freeze well, and are sometimes available as a bottled juice, therefore this might be manageable out of season.

+ excellent candidate for advance preparation

 

whole cherries cooking til they pop in red winein a small pan

nature's candy

We ate it chilled. The wine was a predominant flavor, the almonds less notable. Sweetness was minimal. It did not particularly make either of us think of a unified dessert, though we both thought it would be a lovely part or ingredient in a more elaborate composition, such as a trifle (not historically appropriate) or with wafers and “food for angels”, a dessert cheese fluff I will visit eventually.

I think I like it best as part of a cheese platter, served with the same wine as is in it.

Concauelit ready to serve warm or to chill.

I would definitely serve this to guests,  but with the awareness that it might be confusing for the palate.

13 thoughts on “Konkavelite

  1. I love your description of how to know when the cherries are ready 😀 Thinking of this in a modern context, I’m thinking black currants might substitute for cherries fairly well.

    • thanks =)
      Currants are kind of minerally, be cautious on what wine you pair with, as the acid of wine and the herbal tones of the fruit might be jarring with each other.

      It might be wiser to look at recipe (I think) 84 of the same book, which discusses preserving cherries for out of season and for travel by potting them in honey.

  2. Or, well, maybe not modern context… currants grow in Europe. But not what’s in your recipe at any rate.

  3. I really feel that this is something you should really try again with rice meal as the results will be quite different in texture and flavour…
    What you will end up with is something more of a nice rice and cherry porridge rather than a very sticky pudding (and suddenly I find myself wanting of toffee sticky pudding just for saying that lol)
    I would also possibly suggest using less wine so that it compliments rather than overpowers… if that is the case (though you didn’t say it was not unified as a whole), you won’t taste a lot of almond but you will get a unique flavour from the combination that should compliment the cherries. Don’t know how it would effect the colour but imagine the cherries add way more than wine ever could.
    Can’t suggest amounts as I go the route of pour and taste and I’m not presently home to play along *sigh* cause this sounds fun 😀

    Love your efforts, will have to poke into your site more when I get back home Been so busy with so many other things and have been missing period cookery… a bit… a lot….

    • When we had it with rice flour last harvest, it was a challenge to get the rice flour to cook through and become edible.
      The year before (only one tree, small harvests,) I used cooked rice, mashed to oblivion, and it was rather differently good than this year’s.

      The wine I used was a fairly bland one, not very acid. It worked pretty well =) Aren’t almonds and cherries together awesome?
      It seems from reading my translation that I should cook the cherries in both cherry juice and red wine, but I did not have enough cherries to manage that comfortably.

      Thank you so much for the comments and advice! I hope things clear up well enough that you can do more of what you would enjoy.

  4. Oh… addition: The way I blanch almonds have worked great for me, where I boil the water and then pour it over the almonds in a bowl (or pot) and cover it to let them sweat. After the water cools, the skins will rub off very easily… though I prefer to squeeze them off like peeling a concord, seem to go by quickly and be less messy 🙂

  5. Unless I’m missing it, you don’t give the original recipe, making it difficult for a reader to tell how accurate your version is.

    On oat flour vs rice flour … . I haven’t cooked with oat flour, but oats, which I use in oat cakes, have a noticeably sweet flavor, which might affect how the dish turns out.

    • I have opted thus far not to give the recipes for copyright reasons; I don’t own the translations I am using, and am not well enough versed in the law to know what is fair and what is not.
      I also try not to show the specifics of the brands I happen to use.
      Advice appreciated, I want to share more information rather than making things more confusing.

      Oats do have a distinctive and noticeable flavor, as does oat flour. It’s impossible to ignore. It’s not what is called for, to be certain.

      but boy was it tasty!

  6. Checking it against the Alia Alas translation of the original, a couple of comments:

    1. She has rice meal, not rice flour–I don’t know if there is a distinction in the German (“mele”). I usually think of “meal” as coarser than flour, and don’t know if “encourage with rice meal” implies thickening or something else.

    2. She has “spices” not poudre douce. I don’t know the cookbook well enough to suggest what spices are likely to be implied.

    • I don’t know quite what to think of “rice meal” either, and would assume that “encourage” might imply some vigorous action.

      I chose to use poudre douce because I keep some mixed up, and because it seemed to be spices I would choose to blend up for the dish, though the translation did simply state “spices”.

      Thank you!

  7. “2. She has “spices” not poudre douce. I don’t know the cookbook well enough to suggest what spices are likely to be implied.”

    Though I do believe that a mixture of sweet spices is not a bad idea, it is certainly the path I would take… my own take on spice mixes here: http://compendiumhistoric.blogspot.ca/2011/10/medieval-spice-description.html
    not re-reading: I would add that it is helpful to consider spices used in region/period. Cinnamon/sugar is certainly one of a few I use

  8. To overcome some copyright, I like to link to the recipes when possibly, or at least a book… I have not fully figured out the best way to do it myself….

    Oh and yes… as well I so love the cherry/almond combo, such a wonderful paring!

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