66 A game pie
Take beef fat, and chop it small, and rosemary, which can be fresh or dried. If you have none, take marjoram or anise or sage, as much as you would like. Chop them finely together, put cloves, pepper, ginger and salt into it, as much as you would like, pour one pint of wine on it. The game must be cooked beforehand. And make a shaped pastry the same way as for the veal pie, and let it bake, serve it warm. In this manner one can also prepare a loin roast.

Yes, another leftover pie!

I adapted this ever so slightly; larger cubes of beef, and an onion stood in for the beef fat. It’s an herb, right?

Definitely use leftover beef from a roast, or brown some cubes as I did, without dredging in flour first.

IMG_5271

2 lbs beef

1/4 lb beef fat or 1 small onion

1/2 T sage

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp ginger (I don’t use this often)

1-2 c wine

2 pie crusts, or a hot water coffyn crust, or what you will. Blind bake if you wish, it is a wet dish

Season the beef with the dry spices.

Prepare the pie crust.

Layer fat (or onion) beef, then fat, then beef

Lay the Sprinkle the wine overtop of the pie contents

Close up the top and bake.

 

 

Web. 20 Apr. 2015. <http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Sabrina_Welserin.html>.

a freshly baked pie in a pan. Covered in dried fruit in a geometric pattern, it is in a ceramic dish.

The Good Housewife’s Jewell

To make a veale pie.
Let your Veale boyle a good while, and
when it is boyled, mince it by it selfe,
and the white, by it selfe, and season it with
salt and pepper, cinamon and ginger, and
suger, and cloues and mace, and you muste
haue prunes and raisons, dates & currantes
on the top.

I used a prefab pie crust. There. I said it. I used a prefab, came in a box, frozen crust, leftover from my Mom’s thanksgiving baking, and I won’t do it again. It was a false expediency and unpleasant to work with.
That aside, the rest of the pie was pretty lovely.

We scored a nice ceramic pie pan from a clearance rack, and a breast of veal from a confused vendor, and the rest of the goods we had in stock. (I had the thought of tracking how long my staples last, but because we are feeding so few, I don’t think it would help anyone.)

The breast of veal went into a pot of water which seethed for about 30 minutes on low.
After the pink of it faded and it stopped looking raw around the bones, I allowed it to cool while I prepared the pie crust.
I opted not to blind-bake this crust, though I normally would. To blind bake, prepare a crust, place it in the pan, and bake til brown. Sometimes weights such as beans (cannot be reused for anything else) or specially made ceramic balls are needed to keep the shell from blistering or pulling away from the pan.

While this was happening, my dried fruits, which are very very dry, were soaking up some wine. I sliced the dates the long way to ensure they had no pits, as well.

I received a lovely new mortar and pestle, which made much shorter work of my whole spices than anything prior. The shape of the pestle is very aggressive. I actually achieved fully powdered whole cloves for the first time!

Then I began to prepare the meat. I boned the breast of veal as best I could, and rather than putting the meat into a grinder, I took two knives and whacked it methodically til it was fully minced. This process took about 10 minutes, mostly because I took my time and was very careful.

Unfortunately, my veal had very little fat. It’s so hard to get, and so expensive, that there was no way to source veal fat without some serious gymnastics.
I had to get some form of binder, carrier, and moistener into the dish without use of the fat which naturally would have come with a more appropriate cut, and chose egg whites. Therefore this recipe is a more distant adaptation.

1 breast of veal, about 2.5 lbs w bones
2 egg whites
1 tsp cinnamon
6 cloves
3 leaves of mace
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

½ cup gewurtztraminer (or what is on hand)
6 prunes
6 dates
1TBS raisins
1 TBS currants

1 pie crust
Heat oven to 350*
Place dried fruit in wine. Set aside.
Roll the pie crust into the pan. Cover with a dampened linen towel or plastic wrap.

Place meat in poaching vessel, almost cover with water. Simmer, turning as needed, til it no longer shows evidence of having rawness.
Remove from heat, allow to cool. (return bones to liquid to make broth after boning meat out, for another dish)
When the meat is cool, mince it or grind it.

a ball of chopped meat in a bowl. It is about the size of a grapefruit. Being parcooked, it is an unappetising color.

parcooked meat, hand minced.

Measure spices, grind or crush if needed, place in a bowl.
Add the egg whites to the same bowl, and whip until the spices are evenly incorporated.

two bowls, one of fruit in wine, one of careful, measured piles of spices in a bowl.

dried fruit soaking, spices ground and measured

Fold the eggs into the meat until evenly incorporated.

Place the meat mixture into the pie crust, and decorate with the soaked dried fruits. Feel the fruits as you go for pits.

Bake at 350* until your meat thermometer gives a 140* reading.

We had this pie with the pear dish posted last week, which was a nice match. (Good Housewife’s Jewell has an iteration called To Preserve Wardens.)
It held overnight in the fridge very well, and reheated admirably.

two slices of pie on plates to be served, the remainder of the pie in the baking pan.

The pie was aromatic and lovely.

This is an excellent picnic dish.

I got lucky! I managed to get a beautiful shoulder of mutton locally. This is a rare treat.

While mutton has a reputation for strong flavor and aroma, I find this to be misleading. The meat has a distinctive flavor, yes, as opposed to the bland meats of the supermarket, but the flavor is in fact a component of the dish, rather than an obstacle to be overcome. We don’t need to season as assertively if the foods we are working with bring plenty to the table.

I love mutton.

.  I had a shoulder, not a thigh. Thigh is the same cut as leg of lamb, minus the shank. Leg has more meat and simpler carving, and less intramuscular fat. Surface fat is where stronger flavors tend to lie, so peel off any fat that has yellowing to it, no matter what cut you may have. Shoulder is a bit of a bear, as it has all kinds of bones and things going through it, it’s the tough end of a tough animal. It takes some care to carve, but with a little patience pays off quite nicely. A major modern advantage is that a shoulder fits pots more easily. Please don’t get one of those boneless legs of lamb in a net, they are not going to offer enough in the way of flavor to be worth the cost.

Beef or veal fat is suggested as the cooking grease because sheep fat sets at a low temperature, causing objectionable texture. It’s important to peel off that surface fat. Hand it to a soapmaker if you are uncomfortable discarding it.

This translation is from http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Menagier/Menagier.html

Item MUTTON PIE in a POT. Take a thigh (of mutton), and grease or marrow of beef or veal chopped small and onions chopped small, and set to boil and cook in a well-covered pot in a small amount of meat stock or other liquid, then put to boil in it spices, and a little vinegar to sharpen it, and arrange it in a dish.

Item, if you want to salt mutton in hot weather, moisten beforehand, and sprinkle with coarse ground salt.

 

1 leg (or shoulder) of mutton (goat, lamb, venison), about 4 lbs including bone.

2-3 baseball sized onions, cut to a fine dice

1/4 lb suit, optional

a quart of good stock or broth

1 TBSP salt

1 tsp grains of paradise

1/4 stick cinnamon, or a quarter teaspoon

heads off about a dozen cloves, or about a quarter teaspoon of ground cloves

1/4 c red wine vinegar

IMG_5008

Choose a pot with a well fitting lid, that the meat will fit snugly. A slow cooker is an excellent option for this dish.

Place the meat, onions, and stock in the pot. Add suet if you feel you ought to add some fat to the dish. This will help temper the mutton flavor.  (I did not add fat)

IMG_5009

Seethe on a low flame with the lid on for approximately two hours, then add the spices to the pot. Add about half of the vinegar at this time as well.

Continue cooking for another 30-45 minutes. The meat ought to be rather tender and fully cooked to the falling-off the bone stage.
Remove the meat, reserving the cooking liquid. Taste for balance, add more vinegar and reboil, if needed.

If the sauce is too greasy, you might use a gravy separator, float a towel on top to absorb, or carefully drag an ice cube across the surface to quickly set the fat, making it easier to remove.

Allow to cool, slice, serve. with the sauce made of cooking liquid.

 

I chose my spices based on what blends are common in the book, what would taste nice together, and what I believe would play nicely with the flavors inherent in the onions and meat. You may choose your spices differently. For instance, the dish Yellow Mutton calls for saffron, ginger and verjus, while another note says that if venison is basted, it may be served with cameline, which implies to me that a poached dish should specifically not be served with cameline. Other notes in the manuscript say that in summer use saffron, but in winter use pepper.  I feel my choices to be internally consistent, and successful.

I cannot grind my cloves as finely as commercially available. I would use commercially ground cloves, or perhaps stick whole cloves into one section of onion in order to more easily remove them later.

The onions as I presented them were not chopped finely enough. I suggest making them about the size of modern gambling dice.

While this has little to do with our modern understanding of pie, lacking crust and being a very simple pot stew, it is not roasted before seething, nor after. The meat is intended to be cooked once, so it must be cooked fully.

 

 http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/Cookbooks/Menagier/Menagier.html 

to prepare an ox tongue en croute (1)

The first two recipes in Book V of the Opera are for the preparation of tongue as a pie. It’s not the dish most of us would expect to start a book on pies with, but it makes a lot of sense in context.

Cattle provide many pounds of meat, but the tongue, which is rich, tender, and profoundly beefy in flavor, is only two to four pounds of service quality food. It is considered a luxury meat in many cuisines, though it does present challenges to the preparation,

Tongue must be skinned before service. It also must be trimmed carefully, If you do not know how to do this, look for a video to guide you, or ask for assistance the first time.

It also has a reputation for being “creepy meat”, for looking too much like what it is. This alone makes pie a thoughtful presentation; even if the diners know what they are getting, they do not have to confront it visually in a way they might otherwise find challenging.

These two recipes specify ox, working cattle, but also permit cow or buffalo cow using the same instructions. The recipes are somewhat mix and match, or perhaps more, choose your own adventure. Direction is given for whole or sliced, cooked or raw (scalded), pickled (raw) or plain, and salted/pressed or not.

I opted to scald, slice, pickle, not press, then place in pastry and bake.

The tongue I had in the freezer came improperly trimmed, so I spend about two hours cleaning it. I was displeased. Skinning also took rather longer than intended. I should have allowed it to sit in the poaching water longer, but did not want to negatively affect the pickling process.

I then sliced the meat into slices which I now feel to have been too thick for the most pleasing pie, though at the end it worked out.

The pickling vinegar was very pleasing, and added a lovely layer of flavor. The instructions specified 8 hours, but it was in the brine for 12 hours. Due to the thickness of my slices, it was not problematic.

After the meat was removed from the brine, I built a crust. The book gives a lot of suggestions about what kinds of crusts to use, how to prepare them, what seasons and conditions are appropriate for what crusts, but it doesn’t give the kind of directions that I, a non-baker, can easily extrapolate into the required product.

The directions specifically state “make up a dough with unsalted cold water” which to me implies that there is such a thing in this repertoire as warm water dough, as I am accustomed to using for coffyns. The instructions go on to explain how to knead it, when to apply fat, and that the dough will work best if it remains cold.

Instructions called for sifting the flour well to remove bran. I did use a locally milled soft wheat flour, and did sift it. For every cup of sieved flour, I had a cup of bran left behind.

The book specified a free-form pie rather than one fitted to a pie pan, but frankly I was unwilling to risk the floor of my oven. I had little trust in my crust, and expected odd behaviour from the meat. I used a pie pan. My crust was too small, so I was forced to create a false wall with aluminum foil. Unfortunately, my crust was a miserable failure. Though tasty, it was by no means a good case to contain the dish. I will try a completely different approach to the crust next time.

I removed the meat from the pickling seasonings and drained it, but did not blot.

After laying the meat into the base of the crust, placing on a lovely layer of salt fat, seasoning and closing the crust, I baked it in a 400* oven, as the book said to bake it at a temperature suitable for bread. I used my nose to tell me when it was done, and was pretty on the ball with that. Unfortunately, the temperature was too high for the melting point of the fat in the meat, and did some damage.

After being quite sad to see how poorly the dish turned out, we took everthing apart after it had cooled completely, chopped it into small pieces, and sauteed it. It was absolutely delicious. My guest was concerned by the concept of eating tongue, but expressed delight in the dish. Gingerbrede made an excellent dessert.

Recipe and sub recipes;

1 whole beef tongue, prepared

Pickle brine (below)

Spice blend (below)

1 oz prosciutto trim (ask your deli for an end, if possible)

1 sturdy pasty (not pastry) crust

Spice blend:

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp cloves

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp nutmeg

(double the salt and pepper, quadruple the rest, if you prefer not to pickle)

 

Pickle brine

1/2 cup red wine vinegar (thin a little with water if it is very sharp)

1/2 cup white wine (I used a moscato)

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 TBS salt

1/4 TBS pepper

2 cloves garlic, crushed well. (use the salt as an abrasive to help break the cloves well)

2 TBS mustum ( I did not use this, as I am running out)

 

poach or parcook meat ( I should have poached longer)

skin and trim meat

slice into service escalopes (I should have sliced much thinner)

pickle if desired

prepare crust

season meat

dress with fat or prosciutto (proscuitto tasted better)

seal crust, make vent

bake at 350*

oil crust on removal from oven, or wash with saffron water, but do not egg wash.

Do a better job than I did, please. When I get it right I will post this recipe again.

 

(NOTE: There are no photographs or beauty shots of this dish because it is not attractive to look at. I did photograph the entire process, so if you need reference images please do not hesitate to contact me.)

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=GrvhZvK5pCgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Bartolomeo+Scappi%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=_4EbVKr9Do-eyASyg4DYAQ&ved=0CEQQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

p 435

 

http://books.google.com/books?id=7yZAAAAAcAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Bartolomeo+Scappi%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7IMbVNXsO8-cyASisoKYAw&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

p228

Norse Pies

Simple instructions for a complex palate!

Norse pies come in several iterations, from pike to “meat.”

 

In the Viander of Taillevent, the guidance is to use cooked meat, pine nut paste, currants, and harvest cheese chopped small with sugar and a little salt.

We had leftover chicken from the other night’s roast, and went with it. I put about a quarter cup of pine nuts into the processor and pulsed til they were a crumbly nut butter. Then I added about the same amount of raisins (still out of currants!) and pulsed again. 3 cups of chicken went in with this mix, and were pulsed until the whole thing was crumbly and fine, but not a paste.

We tasted for flavor, and agreed that the raisins were sweet enough for our taste, but the salt was lacking, and fixed that.

Using a pie machine and commercial pie dough, we cooked the pies until done, and they did not last long.

+This iteration of norse pies can be made successfully with beef, ground beef, lamb, mutton, pretty much anything with feet.

+We have been satisfied with whole pine nuts, pine nut paste, currants, raisins, cubed meat, diced meat, and anything else we have thought of.

+simple construction

+few ingredients, so few incompatibilities on a menu

+freeze well

+scale up or down well.

– pine nuts, currants, and meat are not cheap, and there are no fillers. It’s not enough of a showstopper for the cost.

 

-Unfortunately, no pics this week, the camera took a bit of a nap.

The English Housewife

Gervais Markham

edited by Michael R. Best

 

It’s a nifty book. While quite modern for my own purposes, it’s a solid bridge to understanding historic mindset for the modern person.

Containing all kinds of guides and instructions for the typical housewife, advice ranging from how to cure internal bleeding to how to dye cloth, it also has a section on cooking. The whole book is geared towards the Rennaisance equivalent of a ranch or farmstead.

 

Many seasonings and flavors considered old fashioned at the time are here, though there are some hints of dietary changes.

The recipe I worked with from this book is “Another of Liver” page 72-73.

It asks the cook to “boil a liver til it be hard as a stone,” and then to grate it on a bread-grater.

This wasn’t a shocking idea at the time, grated, cooked liver was used as a thickener in several recipes I have run into.

After the liver is cooked, cooled, cleaned and grated, it’s to be mixed with the thickest, best cream you can get, 6 egg yolks, bread crumbs, seasonings, suet, dried fruit, and “a good store of sugar.”

 

all of the ingredients in a container to be mixed and placed in a "form"

cooled, grated, and being mixed

After being put into “forms”, it’s to be boiled. I used cheesecloth and a string, and suspended it on a makeshift support to keep it off the bottom of the pot. In doing some more reading, it seems that flouring the cheesecloth would have been wise as well.

I boiled it like a Christmas pudding, and when set, followed the next set of directions.

 

a cheesecloth bag in a pot of boiling water, resting on chopsticks

makeshift forms

The recipe calls for the pudding to be boiled as “before showed”, which called for checking recipes number 32 and 33 on the previous pages.

These both called for the now-boiled pudding to be removed from the forms, and to be toasted before a fire.

Not having a spit, I toasted the pudding in a pan with a butane flame.

 

a freeform craggy mass, toasted to varying shades of brown.

after toasting

 

I like liver, but this one was challenging. It is just too sweet and too greasy to be enjoyable either as a sliced protein or a spread pate.

I ate some, but… not much of it.

The texture is  very fine, and the basic seasonings are lovely, but the huge quantity of fruit, sugar, and fat take this to a place that is we call “dessert.”

 

I have made a “to my taste” version in the past, which is more of a tarte. I use no suet, lots less sugar, and more pepper.

When made in a bain-marie in tartlets, or in small tart-shells, baked, it can come across as more of a pate variant, there is always some in the house.

 

Ratings;

+ clear window into the historic palate

– commonly unpopular main ingredient.

– Very rich, very sweet.

– very fiddly, labor intensive.

– can be adapted into something modernly palatable, but then it’s modern, and

not very helpful in sharing the historic perspective.


I would very definitely make this for a small group of 12-20, as part of a larger menu.

It is interesting, it is evocative, and it is informative.

 

 

The Art of Cooking

The First Modern Cookery Book

the Eminent Maestro Martino  of Como.

I followed the specific amount instructions even when they didn’t seem proportional to the rest of the ingredients I had to hand, and it bit me.

browned and bubbling, fresh from the oven.

Butter bomb

Squash*. Not Hubbard, not orange, and not dense. Think pattypan in texture. Immature loofa from a South American grocery works, zucchini would work. I had some from an Indian market.

a butternut squash and a similar sized and shaped green gourd lie parallel on a wooden cutting board to show similarities and differences between the two while whole

butternut in front for size comparison, conjectured historical squash from Indian market in back. While similar in size, the butternut weighs about twice what the other does.

There were two types available, I got both.

The bell-shaped one was spongy and soft, light and pleasant in flavor when tasted raw, and very slightly astringent.

The straight one was slimy when peeled, sticky where cut, somewhat more dense, and did not need to be cored to use. It was sweet and astringent as well, though slightly brighter in flavor. The difference was little enough that it might have been growing or transport conditions, not variety.

all ingredients needed for the recipe gathered together.

it looks so neat.

I shredded them as called for, and poached the vegetable in milk, which was an option mentioned in the recipe. The milk immediately curdled and separated, though in a pleasant manner consistent with fresh cheeses.

slender shreds of pale vegetable in milk showing how the squash caused the milk to curdle and form a natural cheese

it curdles, but not in a bad way.

It was slightly challenging to tell when the flesh was fully cooked, as it changed texture and color quickly, but didn’t really soften for about 10 minutes.

The recipe called for passing the vegetable through a stamine. I had to decide whether I was going to press it well, or try to pulverise it. I went with pressing, as I do not have the strength to force that density through cloth.

shredded, cooked squash in a strainer sitting atop a catch-basin, being squeezed dry

this is how I chose to press the vegetable

While that was going on, I folded the cheeses together, added way too much butter*, and the eggs.

I did use two whites as a sub for one whole egg, as I had two left from making the crust.

eggs, and cheeses in a bowl as sugar and cinnamon are poured in

it’s so pretty! It’s so much butter!

The cinnamon went in as part of the sugar, to prevent clumping. Clumps of cinnamon are the opposite of fun. Salt also went in; it’s not mentioned, but it almost never is.

The recipe specified either animal fat or butter. My own very strong preference when feeding people who are not me is that any dish which resembles a cheese dish ought to be completely ovo-lacto friendly if possible. The fact that this recipe called for a substitute for animal fat made me quite happy, but the amount it called for did not work with the quantities of cheeses and veg that I was working with. I’m not kidding, there’s an oil slick going on in my baking pan =/ Happily I used a baking tray, as I did anticipate this problem.

(The crust is explained below)

raw pie filling in raw pie crust, with parchment lining in an aluminum tin

I used parchment.

Though I have a period style pottery pie pan, I didn’t feel comfortable using it for this recipe. I went with a drop-bottom, straight sided tart pan. Because I don’t know for sure whether bain-maries were in  use at the time of this book*,  I sadly placed the pan directly on a baking sheet and put it in a 350* oven for 30 minutes, then dropped the temp to 300*.

I need to learn more about the history of bain maries, it would have helped a lot.

The crust I used is rather late period, as I wanted a tender “eating” crust for this pie.
It’s the one presented by Master Basilius Phocas at Pennsic XL, which he adapted from the Libro Novo (Banchetti) by Cristoforo Messisbugo. Not my recipe, so I did not include it here.

There’s a CD available of the book and his notes, but it’s in some obsolete format, and it took a while to extract the information.

I’m a fan of this pie crust, though it is quite sweet. I left out the saffron, it’s hard to talk myself into using it for an experiment.

As the crust called for two egg yolks, I saved the whites and subbed them for one of the whole eggs in the pie filling.

eggs, flour, sugar and butter sitting in a processor waiting to be blended into a crust

such a pleasant crust

a pie crust pressed in to a straight sided pan

q

Next time, I will make far less filling, and weigh the ingredients based on proportions for a quiche or other custard pie, the excess of butter is disheartening and unappetising.

The dairy variant instructions called for an extra cup of milk, but I could not use it. The batter was so wet, and so loose, that I would have had a puddle, not a pie.

In hour and 20 minutes, it puffed up and began to brown on top, but a stick test still came out gloppy.

An hour and 30 minutes, it was done. The house smelled great, rich and sweet and a little herbal.

It was very tempting looking before being cut, but after cooling, was grainy with curds, slightly astringent from the vegetable, and a bit greasy.

A higher proportion of vegetable and a creamier cheese are two changes I will work with next time.

Equipment used;

shredder for squash

one cookpot for the squash

strainer

catch basin

bowl for cheese/egg mixture

processor for pie crust

a few knives, a peeler, a bunch of spatulas, bowls for ingredients, and cutting boards.

 Recipe as I did it;*

2 lbs gourd, shredded fine
a quart of milk (to cook the gourd in)
a pound of farmers cheese (not recommended)
2 oz asiago cheese, grated fine
2 sticks of butter (really. Too much.)
6 oz sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp rosewater and
1 tsp sugar overtop at the end.

Ratings;

-Somewhat scarce vegetable

+but it’s inexpensive if you do find it, has minimal waste, and travels pretty well.

-Lots of dishwashing, too many appliances

+minimal pre-cooking

-Long slow cooking time, so oven-thief

-Fickle proportions.

-I would need to do a lot of work to get it to a useful balanced dish, and I don’t like the gourd enough to do so.

+ wants rather more vegetable than custard.

If you need a dairy veggie dish, this could work out. Don’t use farmer’s cheese, it gets gloppy and gritty.

All in all, not worth fighting for in our home, though I can see the value for larger scale service. A processor shredder, a large boil-pot, and a better choice of dairy products could well make this a high-value dairy dish to be served as part of lunch or dinner service. It does take a lot of oven space. Maybe if you have convections?

 

*I identified the type of squash to use by looking at paintings of the time, and matching varietal names.

*many recipes call for varying amounts of most ingredients, and only give one measurable quantity to key from. Unfortunately, this can lead to unbalanced dishes, as the proportions for success can be a mystery.

*I think they are, but I can’t find the documentation. Do you have a thought on where I need to look?

*(things left out; I cannot cook with ginger, so it’s gone.
I do not have sesame oil, and the dish was so wet I could not find a way to add the last cup of milk)