Saturday, September 6, 2014

Medieval Gingerbread!

Pictures later.  My camera is 30 miles away right now....

For an SCA event, I made medieval gingerbread.  In order to get it as accurate as possible, I looked at the following recipes and websites:

Gyngerbrede on Medieval Cookery

From these websites, I focused on two different recipes:

Source [Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, T. Austin (ed.)]: .iiij. Gyngerbrede. Take a quart of hony, & sethe it, & skeme it clene; take Safroun, pouder Pepir, & þrow þer-on; take gratyd Brede, & make it so chargeaunt þat it wol be y-lechyd; þen take pouder Canelle, & straw þer-on y-now; þen make yt square, lyke as þou wolt leche yt; take when þou lechyst hyt, an caste Box leves a-bouyn, y-stykyd þer-on, on clowys. And 3if þou wolt haue it Red, coloure it with Saunderys y-now.

Source [Curye on Inglish, Constance B. Hieatt & Sharon Butler (eds.)]: To make gingerbrede. Take goode honye & clarefie it on þe fere, & take fayre paynemayn or wastel brede & grate it, & caste it into þe boylenge hony, & stere it well togyder faste with a sklyse þat it bren not to þe vessell. & þanne take it doun and put þerin ginger, longe pepere & saundres, & tempere it vp with þin handes; & than put hem to a flatt boyste & strawe þereon suger & pick þerin clowes rounde aboute by þe egge and in þe mydes yf it plece you &c

In the Curye on Inglish recipe, the recipe specifically mentions "long pepper" versus pepper. Long pepper, which I happened to have around thanks to my recent shopping at Pennsic, is different from regular old peppercorn. It was what was used in many pre-15th Century recipes. Because I had it around and since at least one recipe calls for it, I used this redaction:

2 cups of Panko bread crumbs, crushed
1 jar of honey
about a tablespoon of ground long pepper
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
a few strings of saffron
Cloves to put in a few of the gingerbread balls once they were "red"
Ground sandlewood (Saunderys) to make it red with extra cinnamon

I boiled the honey, skimming it to get it clarified properly. I then mixed in the cinnamon, safforn, ginger, and long pepper before adding the bread crumbs. I took it from the heat before adding the bread crumbs and quickly mixing those in. Once it was cool enough, I created round balls out of the honey/breadcrumb mixture. They didn't always want to stick together well but it tasted great to me.

I would then roll the gingerbread through a mix of 2/1 cinnamon and sandlewood. After that, I placed a clove at the top of a few of them for an added look more than taste.

The "medieval fireballs" were a hit at the event. As I was leaving with the dish, and only a couple left, I did have the baron take another one so that alone told me how good everyone else must have thought they were. :-) Pictures of the gingerbread as soon as I get my camera back!

 Alright, pictures!  This is the ground up bread crumbs.  I had to grind them up even smaller to make the bread crumbs the correct consistency.
 Seriously, this is what I used.  A true mortar and pestle.

 This is what Long Pepper looks like before it's ground to dust.
 And this is what Sandalwood looks like before I try to grind it to dust, give up, and throw it in the blender. :-)
The finished gingerbread!!!


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