Monday, September 27, 2010

An Amazing Pasty.

This day in 1573 was the birthday of Theodore Turquet de Mayerne, the Swiss-born physician to four kings – Henry IV of France, and James I, Charles I, and Charles II of England. Mayerne left France, where his religion (he was Protestant) and his style of medicine (he did not strictly adhere to the Galenic principles which underpinned medical practice of the time, but promoted ‘chemical remedies’ and empirical methods) put him at odds with his contemporaries. Mayerne is a subject of interest for this blog because he was also a gourmet - or perhaps a glutton, for he became so fat in his age that he could no longer call on his patients, they had to come to him.

Mayerne’s interest in chemical remedies and extended to an interest in cookery, and in 1658 he published a fascinating cookery book with the intriguing title of Archimagirus Anglo-Gallicus, or, Excellent & Approved Receipts and Experiments in Cookery. We have featured one of the recipes from his book in a previous post – his famous London Pie. Today I want to give you another of his ‘pies’.

This recipe for a Pasty Royal is long, but it is a wonderful read: a pasty based on a whole leg of mutton, but which includes only one clove of garlic that is removed at the end of cooking; a pasty that takes twenty four hours to cook, and is removed from the oven a number of times during that period, so that various additions can be made to it; a pasty that – in the days well before refrigeration – the author assures can be reheated multiple times, should it not be eaten all at one meal (I don’t recommend you try this yourself!)

The Pasty Royal.
Take a legg of Mutton, strip the skin off from it, take out the bones nd the sinnues, after which beat the flesh to mortifie it and then cause it to be well chopt, and as you chop it, you must season it with salt spices.
Now your meat being thus well chopped, you must make up your paste of Rye-crust, and give it at least two inches in thickness proportionably according to the bignesse of your pasty, and raise the paste therof high enough.
You must line the bottomand sides thereof with fat Bacon in slices, and in the bottome you must also place a good handful of Ox suet which is small minced and thereunto add your meat after it shall have been well minced; and in case Chestnuts be in season, you may add thereunto a reasonable proportion after they shal have been first half roasted.
When your meat shall be thus in your pastie you must add thereunto one handful of Beef suet well minced, and about half a pound of Beef marrow cut into small pieces about the bigness of a walnut; All which composition you must cover or overspred with some slices of fat Bacon.
Finally, you shall cover this Pasty with Rye-crust at least a fingers breadth thick, and you must make a hole in the said lidd.
Such a like Pasty as this must be at least twenty or four and twenty hours in the oven, which said oven you must all the while keep shut, to the end that it may yield a sufficient heat whereby the said Pasty must be thorowly baked, which said pasty you must oftentimes take out of the said Oven to supply it with broth or gravie as often as shall be wanting.
To which purpose, take the bones and the skin and sinews which ye have cut away from the said legg of Mutton, bruise them indifferently, and afterwards boyl them together with the said skin and sinews for the space of one houre and a half in water without salt, and when as the said liquour and broath shall be concocted in such a manner as that there shall be but a pint left, you shall make use of it in the following manner, viz.
After your Royal-Pasty shall have been about the space of four hours in the Oven, you must draw it, and you must poure thereinto with a funnel about the quantity of a quarter of a pint of the said liquor or broath being well heated, after which you shall again put your pasty in the Oven, and within two or three houres you shall draw it and you shall see whether or no it doth want any sauce or liquor, in case whereof you shall add more sauce unto it: and in this manner you shall draw your said pasty at several times until it hath continued in the Oven for the space of fifteen or sixteen houres; when as you shall again draw it forth of the Oven and shall take of its lidd, for to embellish your pasty with the yolks of egs hard boyled cut in quarters; you may also add thereunto Mucerons, the gills and combs of Cocks and other like sweet breads; you may also thereunto add a small clove of Garlick and a drop or two of vinegar, for to make the sauce more pleasing and tart: observe also that your Lambstones and sweet-breads must be seasoned with your sweet spices.
After which you must return the said pasty into the Oven again, and you shall let it remain there till it be thoroughly baked at least three hours afterwards and you must have a care to maintain the fire in the said Oven, in such a manner that there may be sufficient heat to bake the said pasty without burning it.
When the like pasty is thoroughly baked, you shall take out the clove of Garlick which you did put into it before you doe serve it up to the Table, and after that you shall fasten on the lidd of your pasty again, so that your pasty may be brought whole to the Table: and if it be so that the said pye be not eaten up at one meal, you may cause it to be heated again in the Oven, until such time as it is quite expended.

Quotation for the Day.

"We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie."
David Mamet,  Boston Marriage.


SharleneT said...

Okay, that was exhausting! Not sure I could be that devoted to a meal -- pasty, or not! Certainly do appreciate all your efforts, though... Come visit when you can...

J.W. said...

So, the basic concept of this particular recipe is mutton, bacon, chestnuts, and marrow in a rye-based crust? Is that right? Sounds really good, actually. I enjoy the fact that you pick recipes that could, with the proper motivation, be adapted to modern culinary practices!

Foose said...

Lambstones? Would these be ... lamb testicles?

The Old Foodie said...

Sharlene - I got exhausted reading the recipe!
Jesse - the basic concept is as you say - a very large pie/pasty in a pastry 'coffin.'
Foose: lambs' testicles - correct!