Recipe Wednesday: Medieval Food Porn

One of the skills I’ve been trying to practice has been photographing food.  So since I’ll be at the SCA’s Known World Cooks and Bards event this weekend, and since a good friend of mine is cooking the feast, I hope to get some good shots of the dishes to add to my album of food porn.  I’ll be posting those next week.

(For those not familiar, the Society for Creative Anachronism is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the study and re-creation of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.)

But I won’t have those pictures until next week.  In the meantime, I thought I’d post a few shots from a Pas d’Armes a few years ago:

Readstan Pas d'Armes 2006

This was our little picnic lunch. In front, L-to-R, we have Mushroom Cheese Tarts, braised asparagus, cheese, and Daryoles.  Next row back, looks like roasted chicken, apples, more cheeses, and dried apricots.  Behind that, some nuts and some Excellent Small Cakes.  Oh, and some bread in the back.

Note that we’ve done our best to make the dishes, plates, pitchers, etc. look as authentic as possible.  I think it looks pretty good.

Readstan Pas d'Armes 2006

Here’s a close-up of the Daryoles.  These are yummy custard tarts that come from a late fourteenth-century English cookbook:

Daryoles

Take creme of cowe mylke, oÞer of almaundes; do Þerto ayren with sugur, safroun and salt.  Medle it yfere.  Do it in a coffyn of ii ynche depe; bake it wel and serue it forth.
–Forme of Curye 191 (in Pleyn Delit)

(Or in translation:  Take cream of cow milk, or of almonds; do thereto eggs with sugar, saffron, and salt.  Mix it over fire.  Put it in a coffin [pie crust] two inches deep.  Bake it well and serve it forth.)

Pastry to make 10-20 (depending on size) tart shells, or one pie crust (if baking as a whole pie)
5 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups light cream, milk, or half-and-half (but I recommend cream)
pinch ground saffron
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Beat eggs and sugar together, then beat in cream, saffron, salt, and cinnamon (if used).  Stir over low heat, being careful not to let the mixture boil, until it begins to thicken; then pour into prepared pastry shells.  Bake in a 400 degree oven about 20 minutes.

Notes:  Something about the combination of flavors makes this custard taste as though it were sweetened with honey rather than sugar, which is why I like to add a little cinnamon, even though the original recipe doesn’t call for it.  It will take a long time for the custard to thicken properly; be patient and keep stirring.  I find that heavy cream yields the best results.

Readstan Pas d'Armes 2006

And here’s another shot showing the other end of the table, where we can see that we also served sausages and wafers that day.

So I’ll be back next week with some fresh food porn–and a few recipes–for you.  Enjoy!

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About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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