[Sca-cooks] A Sugar Dish Question

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Tue Oct 31 18:23:27 PST 2006

Adamantius wrote:
>On Oct 30, 2006, at 11:01 AM, Lilinah wrote:
>>  Slices of Gammon
>  > Le Cuisinier Francois
>  > 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.

I am sugar clueless. I don't care a great deal for sweets, so i've 
made very few in the recent past - just for feasts i've cooked. And 
i've never made jams or preserves. And i don't think i've made fudge 
since i was in high school... Lately i've been making beverage syrups 
(and i goofed and cooked the last one a little too long - it's still 
syrup, but rather, mmm, dense). So this sugar candy stuff is all new 
to me.

Would this benefit by the addition of pectin?


Thanks for the various suggestions.

>  > and
>>  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...

It's the 17th C. English translation and i don't know if it was 
accurate here - but it seems that it would be rather thin, in any 

See, with a meat or vegetable or fruit dish, i can test cook a couple 
servings. But with sweets, i don't want to be making quantities of 
the stuff that i'll just be tossing out - especially if it uses 
expensive items like pistachios...

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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