Apple Tart

One of my more popular recipes is the Apple Tart, redacted from Forme of Curye.

 Apple Tart – Forme of Curye

Tak gode Applys and gode Spycis and Figys and reysons and Perys and wan they are wel ybrayed colourd with Safron wel and do yt in a cofyn and yt forth to bake wel.

 

Redaction

Ingredients

Tarts

  • 3 large Granny Smith Apples
  • 2 pears
  • handful of currants
  • handful of raisins
  • 4 dried figs
  • tea spoon of cinnamon
  • 2 pinches ginger

Shortcrust recipe for food processor from Taste.com.au

Tools

  • 1 food processor
  • Muffin/tart pans
  • oven
  • knife

 

I needed to make 3x this recipe.

Method

Make the shortcrust recipe ahead of time and put in fridge.

Peel apples and pears and quarter them. Quarter the figs. Put it all (plus raisins and currants) in a food processor and whizz until blended. Add cinnamon and ginger and stir.

Take shortcrust out, roll it out and make tart cases out of them into the tart pan. Spoon out mixture into tart cases (Adding two beaten eggs into the mixture and stirring it in well will make the mixture hold together better when it comes out. But I often use this as a vegetarian option and in tart form it doesn’t need the eggs so I leave it out) and put in the oven for about 30 minutes on 180 degrees Celsius until the pastry is cooked.

Things that you might not know to ask me but you should

Granny smith apples? Seriously?

Yup. They are often the cheapest apple for the size. I actually found that any apple would do although different apples do change the taste slightly. I would try to either aim for a large apple or two smaller apples. I don’t know what the most accurate apple would be. I would just use whatever apple you like the most.

What kind of pears?

Corella pears are supposed to be the closest approximation to medieval pears. They are firm and on the small side. Again, any pear will do. (Ratio is about 2:1 apple to pear)

 

The recipe doesn’t say anything about currants…..

No it does not! However, I make this dish, for the most part, alongside a bunch of other dishes and some of those dishes do call for currants. And then I have currants left over. And that made me sad, so I added them to the pie. I think they work pretty well.

Can I use fresh figs?

Probably. See “because they are the cheapest option” for why I use dried though. (You can rehyrdate dried figs by putting them in boiling water for a minute or two. I generally don’t bother. They go in a food processor and then go whizz.)

Why a food processor?

Laziness mostly. wel ybrayed means ground, according to people who actually know this kind of thing and I did NOT have the patience to grind apples, pears and figs in a mortar and pestle. So into the food processor they go. You get this kind of brown mush once the apple and pears start to oxidase.

I don’t see the saffron in the recipe mentioned

No, it’s not. I have made several variations of Apple tarts over the years and what I found was that I wasn’t seeing the colour that they talk about, nor was the delicate taste of saffron coming through in the fruit. (I used up to 12 strands) So I chose, rather than to grind more saffron in a mortar and pestle with water until the colour and taste did come through, to just forgo it. Since I wasn’t seeing the taste or colour anyway, it didn’t seem to matter much. I would guess this is due to using modern apples and pears which possible have more taste and oxidase faster than 14th century English ones did.

Why tarts?

So, once upon a time, I made fruit pies as pies. In a big 6″ tin, pastry went down, mixture on top, into the oven. But, it’s a very wet mix. Possibly a result of the food processor. Anyway, I would precook these pies a couple days before and bring them to the event and the puff or shortcrust pastry would get soggy at the bottom. They would be hard to eat, since they basically had to be spooned into a bowl and then eaten with a spoon. So I switched to shortcrust and to tarts. And that has worked very well from the perspective that now they all get eaten as people can pick them up and eat them with their fingers and without a bowl.

Why cinnamon and ginger?

They are commonly used spices in 14th century England and go well with fruit.

 

 

 

  • 0

Wafers

We’re excited about wafers.

Our skilled blacksmith Richard, of Keystone Forge, made us a wafer iron based on an extant one and at Rowany Festival, we tried it out.

 

I had previously looked up wafer receipes before (Le Menagier de Paris lists 4, 2 without cheese) but we ended up trying it with The Medieval Kitchen’s version The Medieval Kitchen.

The Medieval Kitchen’s version is a basic one – flour, sugar and chilled water. (I looked this up, apparently it’s to stop the fat from melting? Must learn more)

So first step, heating the iron. We (Richard) started a fire and then held the iron over the flames. I estimated we held it over the flames for about 3 minutes, flipping the irons over after 2.

We really should have had oil, but we had butter. So we opened the irons and spread the butter with a spoon. The irons were hot enough that the butter immediately began to sizzle. The irons then went back into the fire.

 

The mix was then added to the irons. First thing that went wrong. I did not add enough of the batter to the irons in the first go and had to scoop more in. This caused the irons to get colder. The result was a kind of rubbery not golden brown and it wouldn’t get golden brown.

 

Second batch, we used a little less butter, with just the bottom waffle pattern being greased, used a ladle to scoop as much in as possible as fast as possible and bamn. Waffle turned out to be a little more golden. The pattern didn’t come out as well but there wasn’t enough butter to fill the irons.

 

Tips we were given by Mistress Rowan

  • Brush oil on quickly and pour batter in while irons are still hot.
  • Have a rest for the iron to sit on as you want to be able to reproduce the results.
  • Sugar burns easily so for learning, a receipe without sugar is best.

 

Le Menagier de Paris Translation by Janet Hinson

Waffles[127] are made in four ways. In the first, beat eggs in a bowl, then salt and wine, and add flour, and moisten the one with the other, and then put in two irons little by little, each time using as much batter as a slice of cheese is wide, and clap between two irons, and cook one side and then the other; and if the iron does not easily release the batter, anoint with a little cloth soaked in oil or fat. – The second way is like the first, but add cheese, that is, spread the batter as though making a tart or pie, then put slices of cheese in the middle, and cover the edges (with batter: JH); thus the cheese stays within the batter and thus you put it between two irons. – The third method, is for dropped waffles, called dropped only because the batter is thinner like clear soup, made as above; and throw in with it fine cheese grated; and mix it all together. – The fourth method is with flour mixed with water, salt and wine, without eggs or cheese.

Item, waffles can be used when one speaks of the “large sticks” which are made of flour mixed with eggs and powdered ginger beaten together, and made as big as and shaped like sausages; cook between two irons.

 

Wafers are also extensively mentioned throughout the translation in the menu and quantities listed. Are they different? I’m not sure.

 

Pictures to come later.

 

  • 0

Richard makes a fire

Recently we had a Skills Day in which various members shared their skills and talents with others. One of the workshops was about Cooking Over a Campfire.  Here, Richard shows how to start a fire in a period manner with flint, steel and a charcloth.

  • 0