[Sca-cooks] A Sugar Dish Question
Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Mon Oct 30 09:44:15 PST 2006
On Oct 30, 2006, at 11:01 AM, Lilinah wrote:
> Slices of Gammon
> Le Cuisinier François
> La Varenne
> p. 232
> Take some pistaches stamped by themselves, some
> powder of roses of Provins by themselves, allayed
> with the juice of lemon, and some almonds stamped
> also by themselves, and thus each by it self.
> Seethe about one pound and a half of sugar as for
> conserve; after it is sod, sever it into three
> parts, whereof you shall put and preserve the two
> upon warm cinders, and into the other you shall
> powre your roses, and after you have allayed them
> well in this sugar, powre all together into a
> double sheet of paper, which you shall fold up
> two inches high on the four sides, and tie it
> with pines on the four corners. After this, when
> this first sugar thus powred shall be half cold,
> and thus coloured, take of your almonds, mix them
> into one of the parts of sugar left on the warm
> cinders, and powre them over this implement, and
> do the like also of the pistaches. Then, when all
> is ready to be cut with the knife, beat down the
> sides of the sheet of paper, and cut this sugar
> into slices of the thickness of half a crown.
> But i wonder how this would stand slicing...
I imagine that the instruction to boil as for conserve (as opposed to
candy) is significant; to me it suggests some unspecified "candy
height" lower than that of the modern hard crack stage. You
presumably want something somewhat fudgey, or maybe at the upper end
of that range, but definitely something that can be sliced, at least
while warm. It would be speculation to suggest boiling your syrup to
the soft-to-hard-ball range, but I think in this case form is
supported by function.
> Below i've broken down the recipe (feel free to
> correct my interpretation, if i've erred)
> some crushed pistachios
> some powdered of roses of Provence
> lemon juice
> some crushed almonds
> about one pound and a half of sugar
> a double sheet of paper
> tie it with pines (sound like toothpicks to me... anyone know?)
It makes sense. Maybe it's "pynnes", which might be steel pushpins or
the equivalent of toothpicks. Clearly the goal is to keep the sticky
sugar away from pans and other surfaces where you'd have to damage
the stuff to get it off.
> Boil the sugar as for conserve.
> After it is sod, divide it into three parts, keep two warm.
> Mix the rose powder with some lemon juice.
> Into the first pour the roses and mix them well in the sugar.
> Take a double sheet of paper, fold up two inches
> high on the four sides, and tie with pines
> (toothpicks?) on the four corners.
Yes, you should have triangular overlaps, pretty much any way you
fold the paper. Pin these to themselves and/or to the sides of the
folded paper "pan". If the recipe really wants you to tie them, this
can be reinforced with thread. BTW, I'd give very serious thought to
oiling the paper first, maybe with almond oil, particularly since the
only layer that doesn't have a little oil mixed in will be the one on
the bottom. I find that a bit odd...
> Pour the roses mixed in sugar into this.
> Let the rose sugar become half cold, and thus coloured,
> Then take the almonds, mix them into one of the
> parts of sugar left on the warm cinders, and pour
> into the paper on top of the rose layer.
> Do the same with the pistachios.
> Then, when all is ready to be cut with the knife,
> take down the sides of the sheet of paper,
Don't forget to tamp down the edges where slippage and/or surface
tension might cause the stuff to creep up the sides; you'll get more
uniform slices that way...
> cut this sugar into slices of the thickness of
> half a crown.
I'm not sure how thick a mid-17th-century half-Crown is, and I'm also
curious as to what La Varenne was actually referring to, because it
could be an assumption of the translator or some specific knowledge
that La Varenne's equivalent coin or measurement would be the same...
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