Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Sweet Profit of Bees.

Yesterday’s post arose out of my search for a recipe for old-style gingerbread which was a variation of marchpane or marzipan. I am sure I will find what I am looking for, but during the search I was side-tracked by a new find. It is The Feminine Monarchie, Or the Historie of Bees: Shewing Their Admirable Nature, and Properties, Their Generation, and Colonies, Their Government, Loyaltie, Art, Industrie, Enemies, Warres, Magnamimitie, &c. Together with the Right Ordering of Them from Time to Time: and the Sweet Profit Arising Thereof, (1623) by Iohn Haviland.

The book contains some lovely ideas for using the sweet profit of your bees, including the following idea for ‘marmalade’ which was originally a sliceable quince preserve similar to the modern ‘fruit sticks’ made from dried fruit pulp marketed as childrens’ snacks.

Marmalade is thus made. First boile your Quinces in their skins till they be soft: then,hauing pared and strained them, mix therewith the like quantitie of clarified Honie: and boile this together till it be so thicke, that in stirring (for you must continually stirre it for feare of burning) you may see the bottom ;or, being cooled on a Trencher, it be thicke enough to slice: then take it vp and box it speedily. You may also adde a quantitie of Almonds, and Nut-kernels: also Cinamom, Ginger, Cloues and Mace, of each a like quantitie pounded small and put into the Honie with the Quinces, and in boiling to be stirred together. This is very good to comfort and strengthen the stomack. For want of Quinces you may take Wardens, Peares, or Apples, and specially the Peare-maine, Giliflower, Pipin, and Roiall.

The recipe for marchpane in the same book was not the one I was specifically seeking, but nevertheless it does sound delicious – but then, Rosewater gets me every time.

Marchpane may be made after this manner. Boile and clarifie by it selfe, so much Honie as you thinke meet: when it is cold,take to every pound of Honie the white of an Egge, and beat them together in a Bason, till they bee incorporat together and wax white, and when you haue boiled it againe two or three walmes vpon a fire of coles, continually stirring it, then put to it such quantitie of *blanched Almonds or Nut-kernels stamped, as shall make it of a iust consistence: and after a warme or two more, when it is well mixt, powre it out vpon a Table, and make vp your Marchpane. Afterward you may ice it with Rose-water and Sugar. This is good for the Consumption.
*Steepe them a night in cold water, and the peeles will come off.

Perhaps tomorrow we will see what else this interesting book has to offer. 


Anonymous said...

I find quince paste, by its Spanish name of "membrillo," for sale next to the Manchego cheese, for which it's regarded as a perfect partner. This appears to be the same as your marmalade. I doubt there is rosewater involved, however.

The Old Foodie said...

Hi bklynharuspex - I love quince paste with any cheese. I too am intrigued by the rosewater addition - I must look and see what I can find about it in "marmalade"