A short while ago I posted on the topic of tarts (here, and here) and several of you asked for a little more on vaunts and flampoints. I love getting special requests, and do try to accommodate them - so, here are a few more words on these old-fashioned types of tart.
First, the vaunt. The Oxford English Dictionary says this is “a kind of fruit pie” and admits that the word is of obscure origin. In the recipe given below however, the thin omelet-like sheets of egg which form part of the construction are themselves referred to as vaunts, and in at least one French-language cookery book of the era (Ouverture de Cuisine, 1604) they are called votes. Take note, OED.
The first reference to a vaunt in written English is given as occurring in 1508 in Wynkyn de Worde’s Boke of Kervynge [Book of Carving, ] and the first recipe that I know of for a vaunt appears in the Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin (1594.) The recipe includes beef marrow, which seems strange to us today for a fruit pie, but in past times fatty bone marrow was commonly included in such dishes to add richness.
To make a Vaunt
Take marrow of Beefe, as much as you can hold in both your hands, cut it as big as great dice. Then take ten Dates, cut them as big as smal dice: then take thirtie Prunes and cut the fruite from the stones, then take halfe a handfull of Corrans, washe them and picke them, then put your marrow in a cleane platter, and your Dates, Prunes, and Corrans: then take ten yolks of Egs, and put into your stuffe afore rehearsed. Then take a quartern of Sugar, and more, and beat it smal and put to your marow. Then take two spoonfuls of Synamon, and a spoonful of Sugar, and put them to your stuffe, and mingle them all together, then take eight yolkes of Egs, and four spoonfuls of Rosewater, straine them, and put a litle Sugar to it. Then take a fair frying pan, and put a litle peece of butter in it, as much as a Walnut, and set it vpon a good fire, and when it looketh almost blacke, put it out of your pan, and as fast as you can, put halfe of the yolkes of Egs, into the midst of your pan, and let it run all the bredth of your pan, and frie it faire and yellow, and when it is fryed put it in a faire dish, and put your stuffe therein, and spread it al the bottome of the dish, and then make another vaunt euen as you made the other, and set it vpon a faire borde and cut it in faire slices, of the breadth of your litle finger, as long as your Vaunt is; then lay it vpon your stuffe after the fashion of a lattice window, and then cut off the ends of them, as much as lyeth without the inward compasse of the dish. Then set the dish within the Oven or in a baking pan, and let it bake with leisure, and when it is baken ynough the marrow will come faire out of the vaunt, vnto the brim of the dish. Then draw it out, and cast theron a litle sugar, and so you may serue it in.
Now for the flampoyne or flampoint (or flaumpeyn etc.) The OED defines this as “a pie or tart ornamented with pointed pieces of pastry,” and suggests that the name comes from ‘flame point’ or flan pointé.
I give you a recipe for flaumpeyns from Forme of Cury (1390.) They are shallow tarts (an inch deep) filled with minced pork and cheese.
Take fat pork y sode. pyke hyt clene. grynde hit smale. grynd chese & do ther to with sugur and gode poudours. make a coffyn of an ynche depe & do this fars ther inne. make a thynne foyle of gode past & kerve out ther of smale poyntes. fry hem in fars. and bake hit up, & serve hyt forth.