Tagged ‘Clara Peters’

Can she make a cherry pie, Billy Boy?

August 13th, 2013 by KM Wall

Part the First:

On August 14 th in 1623 William Bradford married Alice Carpenter Southworth. Which means we actually have some documentation about what was being eaten on a specific day 390 years ago.

In a letter written by Emmanuel Altham to his brother Sir Edward Altham in September, 1623:

“Upon the occasion of the Governor’s marriage, since I came, Massasoit was sent for to the wedding, where came with him his wife, the queen, although he hath five wives. With him came four other kings and about six score men with their bows and arrows – where, when they came to our town, we saluted them with the shooting off of many muskets and training our men. And so all the bows and arrows was brought into the Governor’s house, and he brought the Governor three or four bucks and a turkey. And so we had very good pastime in seeing them dance, which is in such manner, with such a noise that you would wonder…
“And now to say somewhat of the great cheer we had at the Governor’s marriage. We had about twelve pasty venisons, besides others, pieces of roasted venison and other such good cheer in such quantity that I could wish you some of our share.

“For here we have the best grapes that ever you say – and the biggest, and divers sorts of plums and nuts which our business will not suffer us to look for.”

Sidney V. James, Jr., editor, Three Visitors to Early Plymouth, p. 29-30.

Note 1) Venison and TURKEY for the wedding of the Governor.

Note 2) Venison pasty is a great big venison pie.

To bake Red Deer.

abstract shapepot

Take a side of red deer, bone it and season it, then take out the back sinew and the skin, and lard the fillets or  back with great lard as big as your middle finger; being first seasoned with nutmeg, and pepper; then take four ounces of pepper, four ounces of nutmeg, and six ounces of salt, mix them well together, and season the side of venison; being well slashed with a knife in the inside for to make the seasoning enter; being seasoned, and a pie made according to these forms, put in some butter in the bottom of the pye, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, and a bay-leaf or two, lay on the flesh, season it, and coat it deep, then put on a few cloves, and good store of butter, close it up and bake it the space of eight or nine hours, but first baste the pie with six or seven eggs, beaten well together; being baked and cold fill it up with good sweet clarified butter.

Take for a side or half hanch of red deer, half a bushel of rye meal, being coursly searsed, and make it up very stiff with boiling water only.

If you bake it to eat hot, give it but half the seasoning, and liquor it with claret-wine, and good butter.

Robert May, The Accomplist Cook

The Alternate title to this section : The Bucks stopped here.

Part the second:

 The Cherry pie song, beside asking great questions of a Billy Boy, is from the early 20th century, so while a great folk song, wasn’t sung in 1623 or 1627 or any other year that  Billy, I mean WILLIAM  Bradford was alive. And if it weren’t for the cherry trees fruiting like crazy in the 1627 Village, perhaps I wouldn’t  be so cherry zonked.


This is the sort of cherry tree we have – a wild, or bird cherry

These two little dutch girls have baskets of the the cherries more common in Europe and to us1629.

These two little dutch girls have baskets of the the cherries more common in Europe and to us1629.


 A Cherry Pye.

Bruise a pound of Cherries, and stamp them, and boyle the sirrup with Sugar. Then take the stones out of two pound: bake then in a set Coffin: Ice them, and serve them hot to the boord.

- 1630. John Murrell. A New Book of Cookerie. Stuart Press: 1993. as Murrell’s Two Books of Cookery & Carving, Vol. 1, p. 17.

Clara Peters Still Life with Cheeses (and might I add, cherries?)

Clara Peters Still Life with Cheeses, Artichokes, and Cherries. c. 1625


Louise Moillon Cherries and melon 1633

Louise Moillon Cherries and melon 1633




A Apple Pie

November 4th, 2012 by KM Wall

Clara Peters - Apples, Pears, Squirrel


“…yn take a quart of fine flower, & put ye rest of ye butter to it in little bits, with 4 or 5 spoonfulls of faire water, make ye paste of it & when it is well mingled beat it on a table & soe roule (2) it out.”
- Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery. Karen Hess, ed. pp130-1

Take pippins of the fairest, and pare them, and then divide them just in the halves, and take out the cores clean: then, having rolled out the coffin (4) flat, and raised up a small verge of an inch or more high, lay in the pippins with the hollow side downward, as close to one another as may be: then lay here and there a clove, and here and there a whole stick of cinnamon, and a little bit of butter; then cover all clean over with sugar, and so cover the coffin, and bake it according to the manner of tarts; and, when it is baked, then draw it out, and, having boiled butter and rose-water together, anoint all the lid over therewith, and then scrape or strew on it a good store of sugar, and so set it in the oven again, and after serve it up.

[1] pastry; [2] roll; [3] A little apple; [4] the pastry case of the pie
- Markham, Gervase. The English Housewife.(1615/1623) Michael Best, ed. McGill-Queen’s Press: Montreal. 1986.


2 cups all purpose FLOUR
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) BUTTER
½ teaspoon SALT
1 teaspoons SUGAR
6 tablespoon cold WATER

The high butter content in this pastry is going to make it rich and flavorful, and lets you handle it a much more then 21st century  pie crust. This is fearless pie pastry! You really can’t handle it too much. It will be so meltingly tender instead of merely flaky.

Mix flour with salt and sugar. Work butter in until it’s crumbly. Add water and mix and mash until it holds together. Add a little more it it’s not holding together, but not too much. When it forms into a great big ball, divide into two parts, one larger then the other – one one-third and the other two-thirds.

Shape into 2 disks, cover with plastic wrap or put into a plastic bag so it doesn’t dry out and let it sit in the fridge for at least 10 minutes and up to overnight.

Meanwhile, make up the filling:


1 POUND APPLES (about 3 medium size one)
1 tablespoon SUGAR
½ – 1 ½ teaspoon CINNAMON
1 teaspoon BUTTER
1 teaspoon butter, melted and 1 teaspoon sugar for the topping
Cut the apples into quarter, peel and core.

Sprinkle a dusting of flour on your work surface. Take the pastry out of the fridge and remove the larger disk from it’s wrapping. This is going to be the bottom of your pie. Put some flour on your hands  and dust your rolling pin. Swack the pastry disk with your rolling pin a few times. Roll it out to be and inch or two larger then your pie plate. Roll the pastry unto your rolling pin and transfer it to the pie plate. The high butter content in this pastry is going to make it rich and flavorful; it will be so meltingly tender

Put your cut apples in, round bumpy sided up. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and dot with the butter. This is a flattest tart style pie, not one of the sky high variety.

Remove the smaller pastry disk from it’s plastic, put on your floured surface and swack and roll some more for the upper crust, or lid. Remember, the flour keeps things from sticking, so you should only need a dusting! Cut slits in the pastry, roll around your pin and transfer to the top of the apples.

Roll the edges of the bottom crust to meet the top crust and crimp and seal all around. The edges can be resting inside the pan, right on top of the apples.

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes – it’ll smell great and be a lovely golden color. Take out of the oven, brush on the melted butter, sprinkle with rest of the sugar and put back into the oven. SHUT THE OVEN OFF. Leave the pie in the warm oven for at least 10 minutes or through supper so you can eat it warm for dessert.

OR make the pie up, pastry and apples and spice and wrap tightly in a foil and then plastic. Freeze for up two months.

Heat your oven to 475.
Unwrap the pie. Put the frozen pie in the hot oven. Bake for 20 minutes and then lower the heat to 350 for another thirty minutes. Again, don’t the timer rule you – use your senses! Does it smell done, is the pastry golden brown, not pale? (Of course, if your oven’s hotter, take it out sooner) Then brush the top with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and put back into the shut off but still warm oven…

Apple Pie is good alone (Apple Pie is GREAT alone) and good for breakfast but also good with ice cream or whipped cream or sharp cheddar or…what do you like with apple pie?


Pieter de Hooch - A Woman Peeling Apples

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