This recipe I discovered when I was searching for an appetizer dish for a first course in a luncheon feast I was planning. They are the medieval equivalent of chips and are serve with Prenade, a dipping sauce made mostly of dried fruit.
MEDIEVAL CHIPS AND DIP! WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT!
The original recipe is in “Take a Thousand Eggs or More” volume 1 (1). It is contained within the Harleian Manuscript written in c.1450 and is housed in Oxford University. The recipes are from Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, edited by Thomas Austin, published for the Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, first published in 1888 and reprinted in 1964 by Vivian Ridler.
“134 Take floure, water, saffron, sugur, and salt, and make fyne paast þer-of, and faire thyn kakes; and kutte hem like losenges, and fry hem in fyne oile, and serue hem forthe hote in a dissh in lenten tyme”
134 Take flour, water, saffron, sugar, and salt and make fine paste there-of, and faire thin cakes; and cut them like lozenges (diamonds), and fry them in fine oil and serve them forth hot in a dish in lenten time.
A Noble Book of Cookery (3)
“To make lossenges fried in lent make a paiste of pured flour knodden with faire water sugur saffron and salt then mak a thyn foil in lossenges the bred of your hond or lese and fry them in oil and serue them iij or iiij in a dyshe”
To make lozenges fried in lent. Make a paste of pure flour sodden with faire water, sugar, saffron, and salt. Then make a thin sheet of diamonds the breadth of your hand or less and fry them in oil and serve them 3 or 4 to a dish.
- 1 cup FLour
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp boiling water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-2 threads saffron
Infuse the saffron in the boiling water. Mix together the dry ingredients. Add saffron mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until blended. When it is cool enough to handle, knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Cover and let the dough rest about 10 minutes.
Roll the dough as thin as possible and baste with a very small amout of oil so the do not stick to each other as you continue working the dough. After oiling the sheet of dough cut into diamond shaped pieces and place aside until all the dough is rolled and cut into diamonds.
Heat oil in deep frying pan. When hot but not too hot (no more than 350º) fry the pieces until puffed and golden, approximately 2 minutes. Flip and fry on the other side. Take them out and drain on paper towels.
Optional: Immediately after being taken out of the oil you can salt them. This makes them a little more modern and they still taste good with the prenade.
These are delicious! They go fast at parties so be sure you make enough!
- Renfrow, Cindy. Take a Thousand Eggs of More: a Collection of 15th Century Recipes. 1998.
- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books — Harleian MS279 (1430) & Harleian MS4016 (1450). London, Oxford Universty Press, 1888. Rpt Vivian Ridler, Printer to the University, 1964. Original serie no.91
- Napier, Mrs. ALexander, ed. A Noble Book off Cookry for a Prynce Houssolde or Eny Other Estately Houssolde. c. 1467. Reprinted verbatim from a rare MS in the Holkham Collection. Elliot Stock. London, 1882.