Coffins Redux

Updated April 4, 2017.

I was inspired to look back at some of my coffin work by a question from Don Caiaphas. Wow, has it been six years since I did this at Tir Righ A&S? Ok, I think it’s time to go back to this, especially since I have a bunch of research that I did in 2013 on it and never got around to writing up.

Coffins, as discussed in my previous work, are a pastry case which has a bottom, sides and a top (with exceptions where referred to in the recipe) which is able to hold its shape without supports in the oven and can be filled with other items.

The earliest I’ve found a coffin recipe is in Fourme of Curye from 1390 and the recipes continue throughout the SCA time period all the way to the 17th century, though they change in composition.

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Caws Pobi

cooking down the cheese

38.

You can call it caws pobi, cause boby, or even Welsh rarebit or Welsh rabbit. It’s the same thing. It’s the food spoken of in 1542 by Andrew Boorde: “I am a Welshman, I do love cause boby, good roasted cheese.” (Fyrst Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge, 1542). There are earlier references to it, but by the 15th and 16th century it was essentially the Welsh national dish (First catch your peacock: The classic guide to Welsh food, B. Freeman, 1996, p. 31). It even shows up on a list of dishes presented in the late 15th century at Pembroke Castle by the Earl Marshal (likely Henry Tudor before becoming king):

Ballock broth, Caudle ferry, Lampreys en galentine, Oysters in civey, Eels in sorré, Baked Trout
Brawn with mustard, Numbles of a hart, Pigs y-farsed, Cockentryce
Goose in hogepotte Venison en frumenty, Hens in brewet, Squirrels roasted
Haggis of sheep, Pudding de capon-neck, Garbage, Trype de mouton, Blaundesorye, Caboges, Buttered worts
Apple muse, Gingerbread, Tart de fruit, Quinces in comfit
Essex cheese, Stilton cheese, Causs boby

(Mediaeval Pageant, J.R. Reinhard, 1939, p. 42)[emphasis mine]

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Baked Venison: Fresh and Preserved

9.

10.

This was done for the Barony of Lions Gate A&S Defenders competition in February 2010.  The competition was that your entry had to be related to your persona, and you needed one page of documentation to show that.  I made Baked Venison and Cameline Sauce.  I made two kinds of Baked Venison, one with salted venison and one with fresh.  I served them with a cameline sauce.  Here are the highlights of my entry:

Source

Venison

When looking for a baked venison, or venison pie, recipe I found seven different recipes, sometimes from the same cookbook, spanning from 1393 till 1596.  I have arranged them in order with my commentary here.

DEER VENISON. As this meat is tougher than fawn or goat, it must be parboiled and larded all along it: and in cooking, it must be put in plenty of wine, and when partly cooked, ground mace added; and it must be eaten with cameline. – Item, in pastry, let it be parboiled, larded along its length, and eaten cold with cameline. (Pichon)

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Tart of Prunes

3.
This was done for the A&S competition at Lionsdale Champions in June 2009.  The competition was “Rhymes with June”.  My lady Kayleigh deLeis and I did this together.  We won the competition.

Recipe

Original source

The recipe we chose was from A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye which was published in 1557 in England.  It is for a dessert tart made with prunes.  We found a second source in The Good Huswifes Jewell, published in 1596 in England which we used to add a bit of spice to our adaptation.

To make short paest for tarte.
Take fyne floure and a cursey of
fayre water and a dysche of swete butter and
a lyttel saffron, and the yolckes of two egges
and make it thynne and as tender as ye
maye.

To make a tarte of Prunes.
Take prunes and set them upon a chafer
wyth a little red wyne and putte therto a
manshet and let them boyle together, then
drawe them thorowe a streyner with the
yolkes of foure egges and season it up wyth
suger and so bake it.
(Frere)

To make Tarte of Prunes.
Put your prunes into a pot, and put in
red wine or claret wine and a little faire,
water, and stirre them now and then, and
when they be boyled enough, put them into
a bowle, and straine them with sugar, synamon
and ginger.
(The Good Huswifes Jewell)

Modern Translation