[Sca-cooks] Pie dough - the elusive footnote

David Friedman ddfr at daviddfriedman.com
Sat Feb 13 14:57:22 PST 2010

Looking at the poem (English translation), the relevant part appears to be:

Roll out the dough.
Whereupon you should purchase
A bit of fat bacon, not at all rancid,
That you will carve as dice:
So it will be sprinkled on the dough.

The dough is being rolled out before the bacon enters the recipe, so 
it doesn't look as though it can be cut into the dough. More as 
though it's an ingredient at the bottom of the filling.

When we do Icelandic chicken, the dough wrapping it is straight flour 
and water, but the contents provide both bacon fat and chicken fat 
which soaks into the pastry when it's baked, especially underneath, 
and makes it yummy. This could well be something similar.

Later we have:

If you wish that the pastry should taste of it,
Make the dough with eggs;
The crust, coarse as peas,
Made of flour of pure wheat,

If the bacon fat was supposed to go into the dough, one would expect 
some similar comment about it.

So I don't think this can be taken as evidence for a short crust in 
the 14th century.

You do get explicit references in the 16th century--I don't remember 
seeing any earlier, which doesn't mean they are not there.

Note also that in Islamic cookbooks back to the 10th century, you get 
pastry things--in particular khuskhananaj--with crust of flour and 
sesame oil (and water and sourdough).

On the other hand, Platina's Canisiones, which are similar, have a 
pastry "made of meal with sugar and rosewater"--no mention of any oil.

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