This recipe comes from a Spanish/Catalan manuscript written by Diego Granado called Libro del Arte de Cozina (1). I received this text in 2010 and I can not remember who gave it to me. She sent it in an email because I was researching Spanish dishes for a period feast I was planning. I do know that it was translated by Robin Carroll-Mann.
Unfortunately I do not have the original text. This manuscript is housed in a museum or library in Spain. I met the lady who had an electronic version that she received from the translator and she was generous enough to send me a email containing several spanish cooking treatises.
Torta de Zanahoria (Carrot-Cheese Pie)
Wash and scrape the carrots, and remove them from the water and cook them in good meat broth, and being cooked remove them and chop them small with the knife, adding to them mint and marjoram, and for each two pounds of chopped carrots [use] a pound of Tronchon cheese and a pound and a half of buttery Pinto cheese, and six ounces of fresh cheese, and one ounce of ground pepper, one ounce of cinnamon, two ounces of candied orange peel cut small, one pound of sugar, eight eggs, three ounces of cow’s butter, and from this composition make a torta with puff pastry* above and below, and the tortillon [pie pan?] with puff pastry all around, and make it cook in the oven, making the crust of sugar, cinnamon, and rosewater. In this manner you can make tortas of all sorts of roots, such as that of parsley, having taken the core out of them.
Note: since I live in the middle of southern podunk nowhere and the nearest grocery stores that aren’t Walmart or Kroger are over 30 minutes from my home, I have substituted cheeses that are available where I live for the spanish cheeses named in this recipe.
My husband Ben is the one who developed the following recipe. He has become my go-to guy for anything involving a dough or paste. He has a natural feel for it and loves doing it!
He redacted this recipe while working on a class he was teaching; A Survey of 16th Century Pie Crusts. I must admit that this “rough puff” pastry dough is my favorite so far. It is very delicate and seems to just melt in your mouth!
The translator of this manuscript, Robin Carroll-Mann, tells us that
“The word used here for pastry, “ojaldre” (“hojaladre” in the modern spelling) means puff pastry according to my modern Spanish dictionary, and the etymology of the word (from hoja, “leaf”) would seem to indicate that it is the period meaning as well.”
Since the Spanish treatise does not have a puff pastry so we are using, once again, a recipe from Scappi, Book V recipe 48.
Translation of Dough Recipe (2)
“…then have some doughmade of fine flour and the same amount, by weight of butter, and salt, cold water and rosewater….”
- 115 grams Butter
- 115 grams of Flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 drops of Rosewater (optional)
- 2-4 tbsp. water IF needed
Mix salt into the flour. Cut butter into half inch cubes and work into flour with your fingertips. If butter becomes too soft from the heat of your hands put the dough mixture into the fridge for 20-30 minutes until it firms up.
Continue working the butter in using a pastry cutter or two knives until the dough resembles course meal.
Add the rosewater and enough of the cold water to make in come together into a soft pliable dough. Let the dough rest in the fridge for twenty mintues being using.
Roll the out into a circle large enough to cover you pie, leaving enough dough to form a decorative edge.
- 1lb Carrots
- 9oz Ricotta Cheese
- 6oz Mozzarella
- 3 oz. Mascarpone
- 2 tsp Pepper
- 3 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Grated Orange Peel
- 2 tbsp Juice of the Orange
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 3 tbsp. Butter
Peel and chop the carrots. Place carrots into a pan of boiling salted water and cook until very tender and soft. Place in a food processor and add the remainder of ingredients and mix until smooth and uniform.
Preheat oven to 350º. Have the pastry made and roll out to fit the pie pan. I flute the edges to make the pie look prettier. Place filling in pie pan. Optional: Mix a little cinnamon and sugar with rosewater and brush on top.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until crust is golden and center is set.
NOTE: Use your best guess at the timing. I usually make small single serving size carrot tortes which take anywhere from 15-20 minutes to cook. Please be watchful.
1) Granado, Diego. Libro del Arte de Cozina. 1599. Translated by Robin Carroll-Mann. Print.
2) Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570). Trans. Terrence Scully. Toronto, Canada. University of Toronto Press. 2008. Print.