[Sca-cooks] Coffyn pan?

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Wed Jan 16 05:17:50 PST 2008

On Jan 16, 2008, at 6:53 AM, Nancy Kiel wrote:

> I always assumed these types of pies were made without pans, using a  
> thick stand-alone crust (sometimes made with rye flour) that was not  
> intended to be eaten.  That way the cook could make any shape he  
> wanted, such as a fish or a lobster.  Robert May, although post  
> period (1685), has a number of pie designs throughout his cookbook  
> that would have to be made free-hand.

One problem to be dealt with is the fact that it's popular in the SCA  
to assume that free-standing pies and tarts are made with what amounts  
to a modern-ish hot-water-and-lard, or equivalent, pastry, when the  
relatively few pie crust recipes available don't really establish this  
as a given.

It'd be interesting to use malleability versus strength (the ability,  
say, to hold a filling or a liquid without leaking, breaking, or  
collapsing before, during, or after baking) as a test for various  
dough types, such as rye not-very-short-crust, wheat crust with cream,  
a hot-water dough of wheat, wheat and egg yolks, etc.

Of course, one thing to look for would be the ability to tolerate, and  
hold through baking, molded or otherwise fine detail.

Over this past weekend I had occasion to make a hot-water-and-lard  
dough (steak, mushroom, and egg, no kidneys on hand I wasn't using),  
and in spite of using AP flour, boiling liquid, lard, _and_ letting it  
rest before baking, I was surprised to note the amount of what one  
might call glutinous distortion of my design in baking.

Not that it was a big deal; it wasn't the Palace at Versailles or  
anything, just some hand-fluting and a few cutouts to mark the  
location of some marrowbones inside. But after having taken all those  
steps to prevent it from changing shape while baking, I was a little  
surprised. It'd be interesting to see which of our available pie dough  
recipes works the best, and under which conditions.


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