Many years ago my wife and I started making turkey for SCA events, starting when someone told us that turkey wasn’t period. So of course we couldn’t let that stand and did the research. Now of course we were normally doing this for large events or for things where oven space was at a premium, or time at a minimum, so we’ve never been able to do it properly in a coffin. So I was very glad that the vote on my poll was for turkey, because this time I get to make it in a coffin.
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.
Well after making this three times in the last year I should probably post it here.
Today’s comes from “The Good Huswifes Jewell” published in 1596. As far as I can tell the Turkey came back to Spain very early after discovering the New World; and by the 1530s it was common enough in England to be anecdotaly one of the king’s favorite meals. By the 1590s it begins appearing in cookery books.
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.
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
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.
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
(The Good Huswifes Jewell)