[Sca-cooks] Period Recipe Fail.

Susan Fox selene at earthlink.net
Wed Feb 29 20:16:28 PST 2012

Chronicled for future edification.

Recipe:  NUHUD AL-ADHRA [Virgin's breasts]
found in KITAB WASF AL-AT 'IMA AL-MU 'TADA, The Description of Familiar 
translated by Charles Perry

"Knead sugar, almonds, samid [semolina] and clarified butter, equal 
parts, and make them like breasts, and arrange them in a brass tray.Put 
into a bread oven until done, and take it out.It comes out excellently."

So that's what I did.  Almonds ground in food processor, conventional 
table sugar, fine semolina and ghee.

Two shape versions:  one in small balls in muffin tins, the other 
free-standing ovoids on a flat baking pan.

Everything collapsed.  The ones in the muffin pans crawled up the sides 
and over the edges.  If these were in individual pie tins they might 
have made an interesting crust for a fruit tart.  The ones in the flat 
pan just flattened out.  Somebody is going to get a tasty if 
non-cohering baked treat in his lunchbox for a few days, anyway.

Two things I'm considering here. Firstly "semolina" might have been too 
coarse, or maybe a better translation might be flour. I'm not sure that 
would help, this mix has much too high a proportion of butter to flour 
and almonds.  Compare with my usual shortbread formula:   2 parts 
butter, 1 part sugar, 3 parts plain white flour, 1 part rice flour.

Secondly the "brass tray".  I recall having seen specific brass trays 
with round depressions for serving of condiments or sweetmeats.  Could 
this be the kind of tray they meant?

Your comments, questions and alternate redactions are invited.

Selene Colfox

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