White Ginger Bread

50.

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

I made a mini version at the same time to taste test before I send the large version to the meeting.

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.

End result is delicious. A great combination of the sugar paste with marzipan and just enough ginger to offset the rosewater.

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.

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St. Hildegard Cookies

49.

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.

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Minced Meat Pie

48.

This month the Montengarde Culinary Group is hosting a winter feast themed night. Since I’ve been wanting to do a hand raised pie for a while I figured this was a good occasion.

With that in mind I thought I’d do a minced meat pie. Yep, with actual meat. Though in the 16th century they’d just call it a Pye of Beefe. So I’m looking at six recipes from England in the 1590s.

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Qurabiya

46.

It's easiest to roll it in your hands to make the balls
Her Ladyship Kayleigh rolling the cookies

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:

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Sugar Paste

45.

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.

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Sourdough Fritters

44.

I made a fast recreation because I wanted to make fried bread and had the ingredients, they were underwhelming. But not every recreation is successful.

From Libro B from “Due Libri di Cucina” we get a few fritter recipe, but the simplest one is this:

LVII
Chi voI e fare frictelle levetate, tolli lu leveto del pane overo formento, se non petisci avere suco de bono herbolato, et frigile in olio tanto che non vaga tucto socto.

He who wants to make leavened fritters, take the leaven of the bread or else corn, if you cannot have juice of good herbs, and fry them in oil so much that they do not go all beneath.

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Sugar Paste

42. 43.

The final presentation

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.

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