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.

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.