Thursday, November 15, 2007

Recipe of the Week 2: Chireseye - cherry pudding

Originally posted 12 August, 2007.

We've missed the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, which was June 24th, but cherries are still in season, therefore...

From Form of Curye by Samuel Pegge, reprinting recipes from a c1390
manuscript (my copy was downloaded from Project Gutenberg it can also be found online on cooking sites such as Medieval Cookery.
Tak Chiryes at the Fest of Seitynt John the Baptist and do away the stonys grynd hem in a morter and after frot hem wel in a seve so that the Jus be wel comyn owt and do than in a pot and do ther'in feyr gres or Boter and bred of wastrel ymyid [1] and of sugur a god party and a porcioun of wyn and wan it is wel ysodyn and ydressyd in Dyschis stik ther'in clowis of Gilofr' and strew ther'on sugur.
Take cherries at the Feast of Saint John the Baptist and do away the stones grind them in a mortar and after press then well in a sieve so that the juice be well coming out and put then in a pot and put therein fair grease or butter and bread of wastrel crumbled and of sugar a good part and a portion of wine and when it is well sodden and dressed in dishes stick therein cloves of gillyflowers and strew thereon sugar.
I decided to take the two unclear words to the online Middle English Dictionary and came up with the following results using Search the MED entries ---> Boolean search. This is what I returned:

ymyid -
(a) To crumble (bread, etc.), grate; ppl. mied, grated, crumbled; (b) of teeth: to grind, gnash; ?crumble, disintegrate.

So bread crumbs, as found in many current translations, seems correct.

Gilofr' - led me to the following, the header spelling having a hacek over the initial g -
gilofre (n.) Also gelofer, -fre, -fure, golofer, -fre & geriful, geraflour, joroffle. [OF girofle, gerofle, gilofre, girofre; ult. Gr.]
(a) The spice cloves; also, a clove; ~ clove, clove (of) ~ [see clove
n. (2)]; (b) a clove-scented plant; e.g., the gillyflower or clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus) or the wood avens (Geum urbanum).

So cloves, as in the spice, seems incorrect and the gillyflower blossoms or clove pink blossoms is apparently more correct, which also makes sense when you think of the number of dishes of the time traditionally garnished with flowers.
Note that 'wastrel bread' is not the finest payndemayne white bread, but a less pure bread which might be similar to a mixed-grain or at least whole wheat bread. I have a favorite multigrain bread without that I get at the local Franz thrift store (usually off the freebie rack) which is my answer to wastrel that I used in this recipe though it has some non-period ingredients. Lady Eulalia de Ravenfeld in her gingerbread for Dragon's Mist A&S Defendership used a sourdough that gave the perfect feel of that type of bread, judged by my imperfect palate and knowledge of descriptions of period breads, that I highly recommend trying for this recipe.

Here's how I made this cherry bread pudding:

•2 pounds pitted cherries, washed and drained
•3" of Poulsbo bread (4 slices minus the entire crust I peeled off one slice and ate impetuously), reduced to crumbs in my stone mortar - I guess you could also use a food processor... :)
•2 tablespoons or so of butter (I started with one tablespoon then added when it seemed not enough and believe it was a full 2 tablespoons by the time I thought it be enow)
•1/2 cup of sugar (the recipe calls for lots of sugar, you might like less)
•3/4 cup wine, preferably sweet, color doesn't matter, I used red chablis OR unsweetened grape juice (if sweetened, halve the sugar, at least)
•more sugar for sprinkling - 1 to 2 tablespoons
•gillyflowers, washed and trimmed to 1" stem (sadly, I had none but checked, they're not toxic)

Mash the cherries to pulp. I used my trusty mortar again, then a strainer, but a blender or food processor will do the job. If no blender, my grandmother taught me to put the fruit between layers of cheesecloth and press hard with a rolling pin then put in a strainer and grind them through with a pestle or big wooden spoon, making sure you save the juice from the initial pressing as well. This is how we made grape and cherry jelly when I was a child.

Put the pulp into a heavy pot and smash the butter in with your handy spoon (you really want wood, it'll help you later), then mix in the bread crumbs and sugar and wine or juice and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Watch it, when the boil starts it'll spit some, so keeping the spoon around to stir occasionally as it heats is a good idea.

Take the temperature back down and simmer for awhile, stirring occasionally and gauging the consistency. When it thickens enough that it looks creamy and seriously clings to the spoon (anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on how much liquid you used, coarseness of the bread, and the relative humidity in the kitchen) it's time to portion. I like putting it into individual dessert dishes in little mounds but it can go into a large serving dish as well. Sprinkle with remaining sugar.

If serving immediately, garnish immediately. If not, refrigerate for at least half an hour before sticking the flowers into it or they'll end up wilting. The pudding plus flowers will survive in the fridge for about 24 hours (I had cornflowers to test the 'how do the flowers fare with this?' factor - the blue on red was gorgeous).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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