Tagged ‘W.I. A True Gentlewomans Delight’

Italian Pudding bakte

October 14th, 2013 by KM Wall

It IS Columbus Day, after all. And although there is Italian bisket to consider, and how or how not, it is different from Naples bisket…..

Coat of Arms the House of Colon (that would be Christopher Columbus)

Coat of Arms the House of Colon (that would be Christopher Columbus, his house)

As I was looking at baked goods, and baked pudding in particular, I found not one, not two, but  THREE Italian puddings.

  1. They are all baked (or bakte – say it as it is spelled….now you’re talking like Shakespeare!)
  2. They all have bread cut into a dice, like a die, the little thing you toss in games of chance.
  3. Two of the three are from the same author – John Murrell – in different cookbooks  BUT they’re not exactly the  same. No cut and paste from John Murrell. I thought there were three from John Murrell, but the New Book of Cookerie and Book 1 of Two Books of Cookerie and Carving are the same book.  Three citations, two recipes.

All three, in chronological order:

To make an Italian Pudding

Take a Penny white Loafe, pare off the crust, and cut it in square pieces like unto great Dyes, mince a pound of Beefe Suite small: take halfe a pound of Razins of the Sunne, stone them and mingle them together with, and season them with Sugar, Rosewater, and Nutmegge, wet these things in foure Egges, and stirre them very tenderly for breaking the Bread: then put it into a Dish, and pricke three or foure pieces of  Marrow, and some sliced Dates: put it into an Oven hot enough for a Chewet: if your Oven be too hot, it will burne: if too colde, it will be heavy: when it is bakte scrape on Sugar, and serve it hot at Dinner, but not at Supper.

1615. John Murrell. A Newe Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood Press: 1989. p. 22.

This is the one you’ve seen before here  in If your Oven be too hot….(Sept 15, 2013)

And now John Murrell’s second Italian Pudding:

A bakte Pudding after the Italian fashion.

Pare off the crusts from a penny white loafe, cut it in square peeces like dice, put to it halfe a pounds of dubbing suet minct small, halfe a pound of Raisins of the Sunne, the stones taken out, two ounces of Suger, five or sixe sliced Dates, a graine of Muske, five or sixe lumps of Marrow : season these with Cloves, Mace, Nutmeg, and Salt, but a very little Salt is sufficient, beate a couple of Egges, with foure or five spoonefuls of Creame, power it upon your seasoned bread, and stirre very  gentley for breaking, so as the peeces may be wet, but not so wet that you can see any moisture in them: lay a Pomewater in the bottome of the Dish, or some sort of soft Apple pared, and sliced thinne, put your Pudding also upon the Apple, and so set the Dish into an Oven, as hot as for Manchet, or small Pies, when you see it rise yellow take downe your Oven lidde to coole your Oven, it will be bakte in half an houre: if the Oven be too hot, it will be burnt, if it be too cold, it will be too heavy, when it is bakte draw it forth, and scrape on Sugar, and serve it hot to the Table.

- 1638. John Murrell. The Second Book of Cookerie. Fifth Impression. Stuart Press: 1993. p. 25.

Square pieces of bread – check. Dubbing suet?? – I’m coming up cold; Muske – this is taking it up a notch; Cream as well as eggs – makes this richer; taking down tour oven lidde to cool the oven – nice detail! This is how you control the heat in a woodfired oven. The same advice about too cold and too hot, making me think this is a real Goldilocks moment.

Once again, you are asked to stone the raisins. Thank you Sun Maid for drying seedless raisins, so we don’t have to do that anymore!

130px-Sun-Maid_1916The Pomewater is a type of apple – nice of him to mention that any soft apple will do.

A few of the many Apples in Gerard's Herbal

A few of the many apples in Gerard’s Herbal

The third Italian Pudding comes from someone else, a little later…..

To make an Italian Pudding.

Take a manchet, and cut it into square pieces like a Die, then put to it half a pound of beef suet minced small, Raisins of the Sun the stones picked out, Cloves, Mace, minced, Dates, Sugar, Marrow, Rose-water, Eggs, and Cream, mingle all these together, and put them into a dish fir for your stuffe, in less then an hour it will be baked, then scrape on Sugar, and serve it.

- 1653. W.I. A True Gentlewomans Delight. Falconwood Press: 1991. p. 45.




Yet Another Manchet Monday

September 23rd, 2013 by KM Wall

Lady of Arundels manchet.

Take a bushel of fine Wheat-flower, twenty eggs, three pound of Fresh butter, then take as much Salt and Barme, as to the ordinary Manchet, temper it together with new Milk prettie hot, then let it lie the space of half an hour to rise, so you may work it up into bread, and bake it, let not your Oven be too hot.

- 1653. A True Gentlewomans Delight. W.I, Gent. London. (Falconwood Press:1991.(trans) p. 54

Very interesting bread.

  1.  Butter, milk and eggs make this a very different sort of manchet. This really falls into the sweetbreads category.
  2. And then there’s the Arundel family. Jjust who is Lady Arundel? What’s her  backstory?
Arundel Castle in West Sussex

Arundel Castle in West Sussex

The castle goes back to 1067….as does the earldom title.

The town of Arundel

The town of Arundel – you can see the castle up on the hill

The interesting  thing about the title is that succession issues get a little mired – in the 17th century, but of course!

22nd Earl of Arundel

22nd Earl of Arundel – Henry Howard


I think this might be the husband of the Lady the recipe came from. She was Lady Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of Esme Stuart,Third Duke of Lennox. There is no image of her that I could find. They marry in 1626 and have 9 children. BTW, there is a portrait or two of Henry Howard’s  godmother:

Anne of Denmark, also married to James I and VI, King of England and Scotland, &cetera

Anne of Denmark, also married to James I and VI, King of England and Scotland, & cetera

But this is one of things were timing is EVERYTHING. Henry Howard, 22nd Earl  of Arundel dies 17 April 1652. So, has our mysterious gentleman, W. I. already moved on to the next Lady Arundel or ….

The story of these offspring would make a GREAT mini-series for Masterpiece Theater, once they run through the Downton Abbey crew. Insanity, Roman Catholic Cardinals…..Really – you can’t make this stuff up.


Lady Arundel’s Manchet has it’s own Wikipedia entry.

Which doesn’t include the recipe.

What the Wiki entry misses is how different from other period manchets this bread is. Which you already know. But also, how much this manchet is like 17th century English French Bread.


National Apple Dumpling Day

September 18th, 2013 by KM Wall

was September 17th, and apple dumpling were in my dreams. And dumplings in general.

In almost every internet blurb about dumplings or apple dumplings was

Apple dumplings are an ancient British food, described in print from the 17th Century. They were even more popular in the American colonies and Early American period because apples grew well here, dumplings can be made from dried apples as well, and vast boiling pots were the easiest form of cooking to tend and add to in the hearth cooking days.

This is a copy and paste sort of way of tossing some ‘history’ in without doing much heavy lifting. Sigh. and blah blah blah.

Now, since 17th food stuff in print is my bread and butter, as it were,  I know that dumpling recipes are few and far between. There are a few more  dumpling references, indicating that dumplings are the sort of thing that isn’t  likely to find it’s way into a book of cookery, like Capon in the French Fashion or Oxfordshire cakes , because dumplings  are, like their lowly sounding name, common and ordinary fare for the common and ordinary sort.  But there are some references and recipes…..

Very modern (and lovely) apple dumplings - worth having a their own day!

Very modern (and lovely) apple dumplings – worth having a their own day!

I would like to say right here, right now, that I haven’t properly researched dumplings – this is rather random information that a day of looking at apple dumpling images has led me to.

This is the earliest 17th century recipe for dumplings that I found (I haven’t referenced the earlier material). It was in the same section as paste for pies.

To make Paste for Dumplins.

Season your flower with Pepper, Salt, and Yest, let your water be more then warm, then make them up like Manchets, but them be somewhat little, then put them into your water when it boyleth, and let them boil an hour, then butter them.

1653. W. I.  A True Gentlewomans Delight. Falconwood Press: 1991. p. 43.

Essentially, it sounds like a plain dumplings that would be great with chicken….. . Easy, filling, and but no apples.

Chicken and dumplings - or dumplins.....

Chicken and dumplings – or dumplins…..

But, wait, there’s another dumpling recipe, and  it’s a little fancier…..


To make a Dumplin.

Take a pint of Cream and boyl it with a blade of Mace;  then take twelve spoonfuls of grated bread, five spoonfuls of flower;  then take six yolks of Eggs and five whites;  beat them very well with two spoonfuls of Rosewater and as much fair water, season it with sugar, Nutmeg and salt, mingle them altogether with the Cream, tye it in a cloth, and when your water boyles, put it in and boyl it one hour and half, and when it is enough, serve it in with Rosewater, butter and sugar.

1664. Hannah Wolley. The Cooks Guide. p. 34-5.

Still no apples, but this is richer, nicer, sweeter…..and it’s a dumplin in tied up in a cloth. Dumplin is a word we shouldn’t have shucked.

So what’s the difference between this dumplin and a bag pudding?


To boil a Pudding which is uncommonly good.

Take a pond and [a] half of Wheat-flour, three-quarter pond of Currants washed clean, a half pond Kidney-suet, cut it very small, 3 Eggs, on and half Nutmegs, grated fine, a little Salt, mix it with a little sweet Milk so dry that one kneads it like a Bread and tie it in a clean cloth rather close and throw it into a pot with boiling water and let it boil for two hours, then it is done.

Peter Rose, trans. The Sensible Cook. p.79.

This pudding IS uncommonly good. Because The Sensible Cook is a translation of a Dutch cookbook, among our Pilgrim selves we sometimes refer to this a a Dutch Pudding.  But the difference between the dumplin and the bag pudding……too close to call.

If you’d like to see this pudding up close and in person, join us this Saturday afternoon. This pudding is one of the dishes scheduled to be on the table for the Bride-ale feasting.  I should have photos after that to share.

But apples, where are the apples?


Another apple dumpling

Another apple dumpling


To make Apple pufs.

Take a Pomewater or any other Apple that is not hard, or harsh in taste: mince it small with a dozen or twenty Razins of the Sunne: wet the Apples in two Egges, beat them all together with the back of a Knife or Spoone. Season them with Nutmeg, Rosewater, Sugar, and Ginger: drop them into a Frying-pan with a Spoone, fry them like Egges, wring iuyce of an Orenge, or Lemmon, and serve them.

1615. John Murrell. A New Booke of Cookerie. Falconwood press: 1989. p. 21.

Not a dumpling, but very good and easy…..rosewater is a great enhancer of apple flavor, and the squeeze of lemon or orange juice (iuyce)  – genius.


Apple Dumplng Gang- the Movie

Apple Dumpling Gang- the Movie – looking for apple dumplings throughout history????



Eat Your Veggies ….in a PIE

August 29th, 2013 by KM Wall

Prithhee, mayhaps it be somewhat early for skirworts; they’re usually come round Michaelmas…. .

Sorry, I caught up in a little too much 17th century Englishspeak:

  • Skirwort. Skirret, skerwort, Skirret etc  are a root vegetable not  uncommon in early modern  English gardens and fairly uncommon in modern ones. (spellcheck wants to correct skirrets  to skirts; should you see skirts in the text, think skirret and tell me)
  • John Winthrop Junior brought seeds to grow them to the  Massachusetts  Bay Colony:  3 oz skerwort seed 3d. per oz
  • Skirrets are sometimes confused by modern writers with parsnips;  parsnips are often combined or used interchangeably with skirrets in the early modern period. Parsnips and skirrets are not the same thing.
  • The little cluster of rooty bits is the part you eat. For size, they’ve been compared to fingers. The neat thing is that you take the larger parts, and leave the rest to keep growing. And they will.
    from John Gerard  The Herbal

    from John Gerard The Herbal

    Skirrets a little larger then fingers - good loose soil and well separated when smaller

    Skirrets a little larger then fingers – good loose soil and well separated when smaller


    Parsnips - similar, but not the same with skirrets

    Parsnips – similar, but not the same as skirrets


  •  Michaelmas is the 29th of September, a quarter day on the Englsih calender and the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel.
    Guido Reni - 1636 - Saint Michael weighing souls - by the 18th century, many Protestant inages have him slaying evil in the form of a dragon.

    Guido Reni – 1636 – Saint Michael weighing souls – by the 18th century, many Protestant images have him slaying evil in the form of a dragon.

    A Skerret Pie.

    Take a quarter of a peck of Skerrets blanched, and sliced, season them with three Nutmegs, and an ounce of Cinnamon, and three ounces of Sugar, and ten quartered Dates, and the Marrow of three bones, rouled in yolks of Eggs, and one quarter of a pound of Ringo roots, and preserved Lettice, a sliced Lemon, four blades of Mace, three or four branches of preserved Barberries,  and a half a pound of Butter, then let it stand one hour in the oven, then put a caudle made of white Wine, Verjuyce, Butter, and Sugar, put into the pye when it comes out of the oven.

    1653. W.I. A True Gentlewomans delight. Falconwood Press. p. 57.

    Ringo root is preserved eringo root

    One flowering form of the Eringo or seas holly family

    One flowering form of the Eringo or seas holly family


    Ringo Starr - not to be confused with Ringo root - one is good IN a pie; one is good company WITH a pie

    Ringo Starr – not to be confused with Ringo root – one is good IN a pie; one is good company WITH a pie

Apple of thine (p)eye

August 12th, 2013 by KM Wall

Proverbs 7:2   Keep my commandments, and thou shalt live, and mine instruction, as the apple of thine eyes.

Apples. Apple pies. Pippin Pies. Codling pies. Tarts likewise. Hard to talk about English pies without apples.

Hard to imagine New England without them. And yet, that is exactly the landscape the Pilgrims entered in 1620. Within 20 years English colonist changed that landscapes. Consider that apples grow on trees which don’t quite  grow as easily as radishes…..

Apple trees so plentiful that a few generations down the road, a local born lad puts a mushpot on his head and goes west to plant more apples.

Johnny Appleseed 1862

Johnny Appleseed 1862

And has a song about apples and apple trees…

Jesus Christ and the Apple Tree

Jesus Christ and the Apple Tree

Back in England, a couple of generations later, Four Fab lads from Myles Standish’s old stomping grounds get together, sing a little, shake it up, baby,  all together now with Apple….

Apple Corps logo

Apple Corps logo


And yet, didn’t all the trouble in the world start because of an apple?

Duer (1507) Adam and Eve

Duer (1507) Adam and Eve


To fry Applepies.

Take Apples and pare them, and chop them very small, beat in a little Cinnamon, a little Ginger, and some Sugar, a little Rosewater, take your paste, roul it thin, and make them up as big Pasties as you please, to hold a spoonful or a little lesse of your Apples; and so stir them with Butter not to hastily least they be burned.

- 1653. W. I. A True Gentlewomans Delight.

Fried apple pies from North Carolina -the more things change.....

Fried apple pies from North Carolina -the more things change…..

Curd Fritters

May 26th, 2013 by KM Wall

No running down to the corner store for a quart of milk in 1627 Plimoth (or most other places in the world, then).  If you want milk, first you must milk the cow.Use the milk to make curds and then make some curd fritters. There is one red cow in  Plimoth Colony, according to the Division of Cattle of 22 May 1627.


Woman milking a cow - Pirosmani - not 17th century

Woman milking a cow – Pirosmani – not 17th century, but a clear view of the milking action


Millet - Woman Milking a cow (another red one)

Millet – Woman Milking a cow (another red one, also not 17th century)

Karel Dujardin - Woman milking a Red Cow - French and 17th century

Karel Dujardin – Woman milking a Red Cow – French and 17th century- nice goats, too



To make Curde Frittors 

Take the yolks of ten Egs, and breake them in a pan, & put to them one handful Curds and one handful of fine flower, and straine them all together, and make a batter, and if it be not thicke ynough, put more Curdes in it, and salt to it.  Then set it on the fyre in a frying pan, with such stuffe as ye will frie them with, and when it is hot, with a ladle take part of your batter, and put of it into the panne, and let it run as smal as you can, and stir then with a sticke, and turne them with a scummer, & when they be fair and yellow fryed, take them out, and cast Sugar upon them, and serve them foorth.

-1594.The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin.pp.47-8.

To make Curd-Cakes.

Take a pint of Curds, four Eggs, take out two of the whites, put in some Sugar, a little Nutmeg, and a little flour, stir them well together, and drop them in and fry them with a little Butter.

                   -1653. W.I. A True gentlewomans delight.(Falconwood Press: 1991) p. 8.

Sop Stories

April 29th, 2013 by KM Wall

That’s sop, as in bigger then a sippet,  stories. No tears here.Unless they are tears of joy, of the re-discovery of what’s been lost.

Sops of sorrel are very good. The real question is – how did we lose them?

Today story – sops and chickens and sorrel. Two recipes, both English. One hundred and eight years apart. Both use sorrel sops and chicken. Boiled chicken by the by, which is a lovely thing to do to a chicken that we don’t do enough these days.

Remember Henri of Navarre? Stories of him?

Si Dieu me prête vie, je ferai qu’il n’y aura point de laboureur en mon royaume qui n’ait les moyens d’avoir le dimanche une poule dans son pot!

(If God keeps me, I will make sure that no peasant in my realm will lack the means to have a chicken in the pot on Sunday!)

Henri IV of France - also know as 'the Green Gallent"

Henri IV of France – also know as ‘le vert galant’  – The Green Gallant – Nice suit

He’s also the father of Henrietta Maria, the Queen Consort of Charles I of England, who is the king in 1627 (among other years).


Is there a chicken in that pot? We can only hope…


Chekins upon Soppes

Take sorel sauce a good quantitie and put in Cinomone and Suger, and let it boyle and powre it upon the soppes, and then laye on the chekins.

(1545?) A proper Newe Booke of Cokerye. Stuart Press: 1995. ed.p.7.



To boil Chickens, and Sorrel Sops.

Trusse your Chickens, and boil them in water and salt very tender, then take a good handful of Sorrel, and beat it stalks and all, then strain it, and take a Manchet,[1] and cut it in Sippets[2], and dry them before the fire, then put your green broth upon the coals, season it with Sugar, and grated Nutmeg, and let it stand untill it be hot, then put your sippets into a dish, put your Chickens upon them, and pour your sauce upon it, and serve it.

– 1653, WI, True Gentlewomans Delight, p. 39.

[1]Manchet is fine white bread.

[2]A sippet is a small sop.


Cranberry Tart

November 14th, 2012 by KM Wall

“…as why are Strawberries sweet and Cranberries sowre, there is no reason but the wonderfull worke of God that made them so…(John Eliot, 1647)


Fen grapes, marish worts, mosse-berries, moore-berries, fenberries, bearberries, cramberries…..how can one little bouncing berry have so many aliases? Whatever they’ve been called, cranberries, especially in sauce form, have long been part of the traditional Thanksgiving table.

But sauce isn’t the only thing they’re good for. John Josslyn in 1672 suggests: “Some make Tarts with them as with Goose Berries.” So take your favorite gooseberry tart recipe…..right, we’re not making many gooseberry tarts these days. Since that’s the case, try this one:

To make Gooseberrie Tarts.

Take a pint of Gooseberries, and put them into a quarter of a pound of Sugar, and two spoonfuls of water, and put them on the fire, and stir them as you did the former. ‘

- I., W. A True Gentlewomans Delight. London:1653. Falconwood Press, Albany NY: 1991. p. 19.


How many berries in a pint? A Pint’s a Pound the World Around. Cooking berries in a little water with an equal amount of sugar reminds me of the recipe on the back of the cranberry bag for cranberry sauce. It seems now we’re using cranberries like gooseberries!

Cranberry tarts and cranberry pies were a part of the New England  table  through the 20 th century. They are a very refreshing way to end a big turkey dinner. So this year, skip the sauce and make your cranberry TART.


Cranberry Tart



“…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.  pp 130-1)

[1] pastry

[2] roll



2 cups all purpose FLOUR

6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) BUTTER

½ teaspoon SALT

1 teaspoons SUGAR

6 tablespoon cold WATER


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, 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. This makes enough for TWO pastry shells or a top AND bottom crust for a pie. If you’re making one tart, you can freeze the other half of the pastry for up to two months.  Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using.



12 oz CRANBERRIES (1 bag) – pick out sticks and leaves


1 or 2 Tablespoons WATER

Put water, sugar and picked over cranberries in saucepan. Put them on medium high heat. Stir frequently. When the berries are mostly popped and the sauce is thick remove from heat. (If this sounds almost exactly like the recipe for the sauce on the back of the cranberry bag, that’s because so far it is!) Let cool.


Roll out half the pastry to line a 9” pie pan. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and bake in a 375 oven for 7-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool slightly.

Scraped cranberry into baked pie shell and smooth over the top. Bake in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Cool completely before serving. Makes on 9” tart.

Pie Baker on the GO - c. 1465-75

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