Sunday, 24 May 2015

Experimental biscuitry

I am at the tail end of preparing for the event of cookery and I've just one recipe left to test. It's for the nibbly dessert biscuits, and is the only recipe I'm redacting from the original myself.

Take a quart of life Hony, and set it upon the fire and when it seetheth scum it clean, and then put in a certaine of fine Biskets well serced, and some pouder of Cloves, some Ginger, and powder of sinamon, Annis seeds and some Sugar, and let all these be well stirred upon the fire, til it be as thicke as you thinke needfull, and for the paste for them take Flower as finelye dressed as may be, and a good peece of sweet Butter, and woorke all these same well togither, and not knead it. 

(Originally published in 1584.)

I'm interpreting that as:

  • Boil and skim a quart of honey
  • Add biscuit crumbs
  • Add ground cloves, ginger, ground cinnamon, aniseed, and sugar
  • Cook until thickened
  • Make pastry out of flour and butter
Since you wouldn't eat flour and butter paste, I assume one would then roll out the pastry, fill it with the cooked honey mixture and bake the resulting nibbles until they're done.

There is no leavening agent in this recipe, so the resulting biscuits are going to be very dense. It's almost going to be a spiced candy paste wrapped in pastry. Hopefully it'll taste good!

The ingredients are almost identical to those for lebkuchen, and I have a good recipe for those to indicate proportions.

For the trial batch:

  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp each of the spices
  • 1/3 cup of crushed Digestive biscuits.
  • Regular pastry, including water to hold it together.
I warmed everything over the lowest heat on my cooker top. It being commercially-available honey, there wasn't much scum to remove, so the cooking went quickly. I added the sugar last, at which point it thickened up really quickly. And once it came off the heat it started to solidify almost immediately. On the day I'll need to make and roll all the pastry in advance so that I can assemble them before the filling gets too hard to work with.

They need 10 minutes at 400F/Gas7 to cook the pastry. The filling reliquified on cooking, but I think I overcooked the filling. It really ought to have stayed soft. The ones I tasted fresh from the oven are delicious, though! The trick is going to be making sure I stick with soft ball temperatures.

1 comment:

Tamara Samuilova of Thamesreach said...

The variation at Festival of Fools was grand! So tasty!!