Thursday, January 28, 2016

Historical Food Fortnightly 2: Culinary Vices

The Challenge:  2. Culinary Vices (January 15 - January 28) Some foods are really, really naughty. Globs of butter, lashings of sugar and syrup, decadent chocolate and wine. Bring out your naughty, indecorous side with foods associated with all the bad things, in the best ways.

The Recipe: (where did you find it, link to it if possible)  A Book of Cookery, 1591

To to make Bennets.

Put butter and water over the fier in a faire pain, and when it boyleth put therto fine Flower and Salte, and so let them boyle, but stir them well for brenning, and when it is wel thick, put it into an earthen pan, then break Egs into it and boyle them so togither, than boyle a good quantitye of Butter clarified over the fire, and with a spoone put in your other stuffe and so frye them till they be browne, and that doone, serve them foorth with Sugar on them.

The Date/Year and Region:  
1591, England

How Did You Make It: (a brief synopsis of the process of creation)

I realized this sounded and looked very, very familiar.  Sugar?  Eggs? Puffy pastry slathered in butter?  Beignets!!!!  I used this recipe for the measurements since it's made in a very similar way.  However, I followed the directions of the original 16th C recipe (only adding sugar to the dough that isn't included in the original).  

I put a stick of butter (sweat cream, salt) into a pot with 1 cup water.  I boiled that up and added 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 cup of flour, and a few dashes of sea salt.   Once that was mixed, I took it to another burner so I could put the frying pan on the one I had been using.  I then added four eggs to the mix and put another stick of butter in the frying pan.

Side note:  For those that are long time readers and are thinking "Wait, isn't she allergic to dairy?  What's with this butter?" Yes, I was.  As of this past weekend, I've been eating dairy again.  What happened?  Even I'm not sure but there are two very good possibilities.  One, I really had a secondary lactose intolerance which means the gut itself is damaged - typically due to an illness- and it just takes time to heal back.  Two, and the far more likely knowing me, my vitamin D deficiency caused it.  Normal range is 20 to 50 for Vitamin D.  12 is considered low and when your doctor starts you on pills.  I was at 8.   It may have also been a combo of the two.  I really don't know.  All I do know is I've been gobbing down things like cheeze it's, cheddar cheese, and now butter like there is no tomorrow.  Tomorrow at work we are going out to eat and I plan on ordering everything smothered in dairy.   Mashy taters for the win!

Anyway, I stirred in the eggs to the dough and then made poorly constructed dough balls.  I threw these in the frying pan filled with butter.  After about three minutes, I'd turn them over.  After about six minutes, they'd go to the plate and get covered in organic powdered sugar.  

Time to Complete:  About 15 minutes.  
Total Cost:  I think the butter was $3?   Everything else I had on hand.

How Successful Was It?: (How did it taste? How did it look? Did it turn out like you thought it would?)  I ate Lydia pretty quickly...followed by Mrs. Bennet.  I also ate Mary and Catherine.  Yes, I named them after all the Bennets because they are Bennets.  Plus, with Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies coming out, can you think of a better food than eating Bennets in celebration?

So yes, it was good.  Very, very good.  They didn't quite puff up as much as I thought they would.  I might have had the butter too hot as the insides were still a bit doughy.   Still, they tasted like good ole fashion beignets.  I might make the rest of the dough (I put half in the freezer) for Mardi Gras.  What's more Mardi Gras than beignets?

How Accurate Is It?: (fess up to your modifications and make-dos here)  I added sugar to the dough and cooked it all on a modern stove top.  Other than that, it's pretty accurate.  And two sticks of butter, four eggs, and way too many calories to count is very much a vice.  :-D


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