A friend of mine is providing some treats for a meeting at an SCA event and asked me to contribute. Ever since I did the Sugar Paste work I’ve been wanting to try some of the more advanced versions. One of the ones I’ve thought was interesting was the “White Ginger Bread” recipe in A
Book of Cookrye, by A. W. in 1591. Of course this is the 16th century use of the word so it’s referring to confection, not necessarily something with bread in it.
I’ve never made marzipan before but I thought that combining marzipan, sugar paste, and ginger seemed like a great combination and a way to try something new.
This also marks the end of A&S 50 for me which I started in 2010. There was a fairly substantial break when I stopped playing in the SCA for two years but I’ve now completed it. As part of the completion I began linking all of my recipes on the new Recipes page. Also as part of this I won’t be using the category or tag A&S 50 any more; however, each new recipe will be added to my recipes page which should make them easier to find.
This month the theme of Montengarde Culinary Night is “Vegetables or German Food”. I’ve had this one sitting in my drafts for a bit, and since it’s a German cookie recipe it seems like a good time.
I came across references to St. Hildegard’s “Cookies of Joy” or “Happy Cookies” in a few places but no one had the original recipe. Instead it was a modern cookie with butter, sugar, egg, baking powder, and a lot of spices (nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon). I knew that was a far remove from what she must have been talking about in 12th century Rhineland so I looked into it a bit more.
A number of years ago I put together what I thought might be a good period fruitcake recipe. I never got around to making it, so, since we’re having a Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice theme for culinary night this week here’s an updated recipe and my finished version of it.
I originally got the idea for this from Jennifer Strobel, so again, many thanks go to her.
Qurabiya (sometimes spelled Ghorabiye) is a type of almond cookie, likely originating in Persia, which had spread to the Ottoman court by at least the 15th century. I haven’t been able to find any remaining period Qurabiya recipes, so instead this is being built on a lot of conjecture and various “traditional” and modern recipes. From what I can tell from a few different sources it was a cookie made from egg white, almond, sugar, and rosewater. Modernly different fats and oils as well as other nuts are added to the recipe. Every recipe is different and all have various flavourings. A modern version that seems quite similar to the references I’ve found is this one for Iranian Almond Cookies. The cookie spread west early and several types of cookie (such as in Greece) have names that are very similar. But what is interesting is to compare early French macarons:
After getting feedback at the Unfinished Projects at Bitter End’s Harvest Feast, I made a new attempt and entered it in the Apprentices Competition at Samhain. As I am not an apprentice I asked Mistress Maiosara to sponsor me and she graciously did. Because this post is so long, there’s also a short version.
There’s quite a history of sugar paste (modernly called gum paste), with recipes in English going back to at least 1558 when Alessio’s Secreti (1555) was translated into English. Recipes originating in English start appearing in 1567.
I’ve been putting this sugar paste post together for about three months now and have done four attempts, two successes, one mostly successful and one abject failure. I entered a version of this for commentary at the Unfinished Projects at Bitter End’s Harvest Feast, and I’ll be using that feedback to make my next attempt. I also brought the most successful version, with a functioning plate made out of sugar paste, to Culinary Night. My apologies for how long this one is but I wanted to be thorough and I plan to enter this in competition in the future.
There’s quite a history of sugar paste (modernly called gum paste), with recipes in English going back to at least 1558 when Alessio’s Secreti (1555) was translated into English. Recipes originating in English start appearing in 1567. Most of the recipes for sugar paste come out after the 1590s.