Monday, February 4, 2019

Medieval Gyngerbrede

Honey - a lot of honey - is boiled, foam removed, spices and dried bread crumbs incorporated, then pressed or rolled flat. Cut into hard (firm) slices. It's not cake-like.

This recipe does not have ginger among the many spices listed to make the gingerbread.  Think Apple Tansey recipes without the poisonous herb tansy.
Gyngerbrede.--Take a quart of hony, & sethe it [boil], & skeme [skim] it clene; take Safroun [saffron], pouder Pepir [pepper], & throw ther-on; take grayted Bred [bread crumbs], & make it so chargeaunt [stiff] that it wol be y-lechyd [cut in slices]; then take pouder Canelle [cinnamon], & straw [strew] ther-on y-now; then make yt [it] square, lyke [like] as thou wolt leche yt [cut it]; take when thou lechyst hyt [cut it], an caste Box leves [leaves] a-bouyn [above], y-stykyd ther-on, on clowys [stick there on cloves]. And if thou wolt haue it Red, coloure it with Saunderys [sandalwood] y-now [enough].   
Two 15th c. Cookery-Books by Thomas Austin, 1888
This can be messy at the hearth.  Many, many years ago I made some over the fire, with limited water for cleanup, and frankly said never again.  Since this batch was just for a local non-foodie group I belong to (historic honey recipes for the speaker on bees) I did not add the boxwood leaves and cloves to decorate the top (don't have boxwood, and there's the poison component which may make it unappetizing).



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