[Sca-cooks] Pancakes and Fruitcakes was Happy Shrove/Fat Tuesday
jenn.strobel at gmail.com
jenn.strobel at gmail.com
Tue Feb 24 08:58:50 PST 2009
A few years ago, I'd done some research into fruitcake and what I found was
that there were a few things that could be interpreted as fruitcake. The
fruitcake that we're all familiar with was essentially a Victorian
creation, there's not really a straight line from a cake that was
documented during the middle ages or renaissance. The complete fruitcake
documentation is located at
http://www.medievalcooking.org/aestelfruitcake.doc if you want to jump
straight to to long play extended remix of the information below.
My understanding of cake during our period of study is that it wasn't what
we'd understand as cake now, which involves artificial leveners in order to
get the volume and crumb. "Cake" would have been something that we'd
associate closest with a "cookie", smallish and not very risen. When I did
my research, I was looking for something that was more like modern cake
than medieval cake, so now you have the bias of my research.
From Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book:
Take a peck of flower, and fower pound of currance, one ounce of Cinamon,
half an ounce of ginger, two nutmegs, of cloves and mace two peniworth, of
butter one pound, mingle your spice and flower & fruit together, put as
much barme as eill make it light, then take good Ale & put your butter on
it, all saving a little, which you must put in the milk, & let the milk
boyle with the butter, then make a posset with it, & temper the Cake with
the posset drink & curd & all together, & put some sugar in & so bake it.
This is more of a currant spice bread that is really delicious, but isn't
From the Libro Novo:
Take three pounds of candied citron cut very finely, five pounds skimmed
honey, five eights of an ounce of pepper, one scruple of saffron, three
quarters of an ounce of cinnamon, three grains of musk, and enough flour
that it will hold all these together. Make the Mostazzoli large or small as
you would like them to be. You will bake them as you would pampapati.
Mistress Rachaol MakCreith found a reference to pampapati in Waverly
Root’s "The Food of Italy", sent it to me, and I ran with the information.
The reference is: “The Christmas-New Years holidays are marked by the
appearance in pastry-shop windows of pampepato di ciccolato, a very old
Ferrarese sweet. It is a cake made of flour, cocoa, milk, honey (sugar if
honey is not at hand), pepper, spices, almonds, and lemon peel with
chocolate frosting powdered with sugar and tiny candies. It is of ancient
lineage. Duke Borso d’Este served pampapati at a banquet on November 11,
1465, making them exceptionally appetizing by inserting a gold piece in
Even in my own creation of a pampapato recipe includes baking soda,
something that our medieval counterparts would not have had access to. What
I need to do is go back, not use any levener whatsoever in one batch and
use baking ammonia (which would be more appropriate for our period of study
as far as chemical leveners go).
If anyone else has done any research on fruitcake, or has points that I
missed/failed to get/totally screwed up, please contact me. This particular
subject is (obviously) one near and dear to my heart, but I haven't had the
time to revisit what I did lo those many years ago. New and better
information is always welcome.
Thank you to all who got this far in reading.
Odriana vander Brugghe
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