Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Little More About Tarts

The whole pie-tart debate which was the topic of yesterday’s story was not likely to have been an issue for our medieval ancestors. Their culinary language was rich with words to describe pastry dishes with fillings - which is clearly a reflection of the range of offerings at the tables of the wealthy at the time.

Here are some of the medieval variations on a tart theme, as far as I have been able to summarise them!

A florendine (several spellings) was a covered pie (or tart!).
A vaunt was a fruit pie – but in the medieval tradition was enriched with bone marrow.
A flampoyne (various spellings) was a ‘tart’ ornamented with pointed pieces of pastry. The name perhaps comes from ‘flame point’ or flan pointé.
A herbelade was filled with minced pork and herbs.
A talmouse was a sort of cheesecake, often made in a triangular shape.
A flaune, or flawn is obviously linguistically related to the modern ‘flan’, and was an open tart, like a custard-pie or cheesecake.

I give you a nice fifteenth century recipe for a tart filled with minced or finely-chopped pork, fruit and spices reminiscent of a genuine mincemeat pie. It is cooked in a pastry shell which has been partially pre-cooked in the oven.

Take Buttes of Porke, and smyte hem in pecys, and sette it ouer the fyre; and sethe hem in fayre Watere; and whan it is y-sothe y-now, ley it on a fayre bord, and pyke owt alle the bonys, and hew it smal, and put it in a fayre bolle; than take ysope, Sawge, Percely a gode quantite, and hew it smal, and putte it in a fayre vesselle; than take a lytel of the brothe, that the porke was sothin in, and draw thorw a straynoure, and caste to the Erbys, and gif it a boyle; thenne take owt the Erbys with a Skymoure fro the brothe, and caste hem to the porke in the bolle; than mynce Datys smal, and caste hem ther-to, and Roysonys of Coraunce, and pynes, and drawe thorw a straynoure yolkes of Eyroun ther-to, and Sugre, and pouder Gyngere, and Salt, and coloure it a lytel with Safroune; and toyle yt with thin hond al thes to-gederys; than make fayre round cofyns, and harde hem a lytel in the ovyn; than take hem owt, and with a dysshe in thin hond, fylle hem fulle of the Stuffe; than sette hem ther-in a-gen; and lat hem bake y-now, and serue forth.

Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books.: Harleian Ms. 279 (Ab. 1430), & Harl. Ms. 4016 (Ab. 1450), With Extracts From Ashmole Ms. 1439, Laud Ms. 553, & Douce Ms. 55.: Edited By Thomas Austin.

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