[Sca-cooks] period fruit pastes

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Thu Oct 12 16:04:36 PDT 2006

Urtatim commented:

<<< Well, i'm going to be rather busy making stuff for the banqueting
table for the West Kingdom Twelfth Night Duchesses Masked Rose Ball.
I've been snuggling up in bed with Spurling's version of Fettiplace,
Digby's Closet Unlock'd, and the Martha Washington cookbook.>>>

Ouch. Hope these are paperbacks. Those hardbacks have sharp  
corners.  :-)

<<< --- Aside ---
(minor rant)
I asked a local SCA herbalists guild - 12th Night is in their
Principality this year - if any members would be willing to make
something and donate it to the ball.

I keep being told, "Here's something *you* could buy." I mean, i've
explained to them that this ball is for everyone not just duchesses
(the duchesses just do PR), that there is no budget for anything we
do, that anything i make is coming out of my own pocket. >>>

A find this a bit unusual. Perhaps the guild feels they are being  
taken advantage of or perhaps they've gotten too many requests in the  
past year. One compromise might be to buy the materials and let them  
donate the labor. Maybe they feel they aren't getting the visibility  
they think they should get. I'd think for the latter alone, they'd  
want to do something.

Our baronial herb guild recently offered to provide rose and/or  
orange butter for the headtable at our upcoming Candlemas feast. Not  
the rose oil mixed in with store-bought butter, but doing it the  
period way of mixing the essence in with the cream and then turning  
that into butter. You should've seen the baron's eyes light up when  
that was proposed!

<<< Or else i get one person telling me how terrible it would be to put
any herbs or flowers around as decorations because there are so many
people with allergies or illnesses. Now i'm not insensitive - i've
got some minor allergies myself, and occasional asthma - but this one
person who posts more than anyone else is such a complete killjoy. >>>

We've discussed this very idea on this list. I can't remember that  
any particular consensus was reached, though. I'd hate to give up  
this atmosphere that most would benefit from for one, particularly a  
loud and whiney, individual. I'd treat it like any of the situations  
where you were cooking something having an ingredient that someone  
might be allergic to. If they come to you ahead of time, see what you  
can do. However, so far this just sounds theoretical.  No one with a  
known condition has come forward and said they would have a problem.  
If they do, is it possible to omit that one herb or put it only in  
one area of the hall and let the affected person know of this?

<<< (rant off)
--- End Aside ---

So, first, i was wondering... would it be really terrible to purchase
some fruit jams, then cook them down more to make fruit pastes? I
just don't think i'm going to have the time or the room to make a
butt load from fresh fruits? Or will the resulting product be so
vastly inferior that the attendees will notice?  >>>

Check the recipes in the file I posted at the beginning of this  
thread. I suspect that starting with the commercial jellies might not  
really save you much time or effort. Using a slow-cooker should make  
the work easier, even if it takes a while. You may be able to find  
quince paste commercially, although I don't know about other fruits.  
Considering the cost of quinces, it is going to be hard to make  
quince paste from fresh quinces any cheaper.

<<< Next, if this is not a complete travesty, and i go along with this
idea, do people think i will need to add more sugar to the fruit
preserves to get a good result?>>>

Commercial fruit jams are likely to have added pectin from other  
sources and maybe other thickeners. You may not need to add much more  
sugar, but then I don't know how close the result will mimic a period  
fruit paste, either.

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas           
StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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