Sunday, April 14, 2019

Corzetti - Flour, Eggs, Salt

One of the dishes for Bhakail Yule 2018 is Corzetti - a stamped pasta that dates back to Leguria, Italy in the 13th Century.

The pasta recipe I settled on was 5 ounces of '00' flour, 3 ounces of semolina flour, 2 ounces of AP flour, 3 eggs, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a hearty pinch of salt.

This was all mixed together, then kneaded until smooth.  The dough then went into a plastic bag to rest for 30 minutes.

At the end of the half hour, the dough was cut into 4 pieces.  Three of the pieces when back into the bag to be worked with later.

The dough was worked into a rough triangle and then passed though a Kitchen Aid pasta roller on its widest setting three times.  After each pass, the dough was folded into thirds and then passed through the rollers again.  This finishes the kneading process.

After the third pass, the rollers are closed by one click.  The dough is then passed through again,  Again, the rollers are closed and the dough passed though.  The dough is now at the proper thickness.

Next, circles of dough must be cut out.  The Corzetti stamps include the dough cutter.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hot Water Pastry

Hot Water Pie Crust

As part of preparation for Bhakail Yule in December, and also as part of my research into English Pies, especially pork pies, I'm looking into Hot Water Pie Crust.

Known in the Middle Ages as 'coffyns', these crusts were originally used as a way to preserve meat. The crusts were formed and then filled with meat, the entire 'pie' was baked and cooled and then jellied stock was poured through a hole in the crust to seal off the contents.  This allowed the contents to last quite a while.  The crusts were highly salted and not meant to be eaten.

One of the dishes I'll be serving at Bhakail Yule is "Beefy Stew'd", a beef in gravy dish.  It occurred to me that the Hot Water Pie Crust could be formed into bowls for service of this dish.

This recipe is based on one from the BBC Food website:

I started by measuring out 575g plain flour and placing it in the bowl of a food processor.  I added a large pinch of salt to the bowl as well.  I then added 200g lard and 225ml water to a saucepan and placed it over medium heat.  

I then added 200g lard and 225ml water to a saucepan and placed it over medium heat.  As the lard just about finished melting, the water began to boil.
I then poured the nearly boiling water and lard mixture into the running food processor and a dough formed in moments.   

I dumped the dough which was not at all sticky (thanks to all the lard) onto the board.

 The temperature of the dough was 139 degrees when it came out the food processor.

 I formed the dough into a ball and kneaded it for a few minutes until it was a smooth mass.

 I then formed 250 grams of the dough around a small metal bowl.  

(In the back, you can see the two small springform pans I'll be baking the pork pie experiment in soon.)

And put it into a 350 degree oven...

 ...and baked it for 1 hour...

After an hour, I took it out of the oven.  The color is good, but there is a hole...

The crust was thinner there, which is reflected in the fact that it's browner in that area.  This is a process problem, I believe, not a problem with the concept, and should be fixable in the next try...

Sadly, the hole is near the bottom, so this one won't be testable for holding a stew'y item.  However, I'll see how it tastes in a bit...

Having let the bowl cool, we broke it apart and ate some of it.  It's quite tasty, the lard comes through nicely.  To my taste, it needs more salt.  

Next up, a serving bowl for a table of eight...

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Lambwich - Maryland Sheep and Wool 2016

I was accepted into the Lamb Cook-Off at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival again this year.  I finished second, again, with a score of 95.  When I did Lamb Ravioli (from scratch) last year and got seriously marked down on "Ease of Preparation", I immediately said to K "Next year, Lambwich". So here you go...


Serves 4
Total Preparation time: 1 hour


1 lb Ground Lamb
4 – 6 scallions
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon      Cumin
1 teaspoon      Paprika
1 teaspoon      Mint
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 cup                Ketchup
2 tablespoons Stone Ground Mustard
¼ cup                A1 Sauce
½ cup                Baby peas
Fresh Mint


Fry ground lamb in large pot until well browned.  Remove meat with a slotted spoon and drain the fat from the pan. 

Chop the whites of the scallions finely.  Reserve the green tops for garnish.  Finely chop the garlic. 

In the reserved pot, add a tablespoon of the reserved lamb fat and fry the scallions until softened and translucent.  Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.  Add the cumin, paprika and mint, fry for another 30 seconds.  Add the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and A1 sauce, stir well.  Add 1/2 cup of water, stir well and add the reserved lamb.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes, then add the peas and cook uncovered another 5-7 minutes until peas are cooked through.

Serve on toasted buttered potato buns or toasted French bread.  Garnish with thinly sliced scallion tops and finely chopped fresh mint.

Next year I'm thinking Lamb Flatbreads.  I'll probably make the lamb sausage and the flatbreads myself, but I may not tell the judges that...

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bhakail Yule - Orange Sauce

Bhakail Yule Orange Sauce:

I have been asked to lead the kitchen to cook the feast for a nearby Society of Creative Anachronism group, the Barony of Bhakail for the holiday of Yule.  This group usually holds a Yule celebration in early December every year.  It has been my honor in the past to assist in that kitchen, and this year I have been asked to lead it.

There have been discussions already, and we have a rough outline of a menu.  One of the dishes we are looking at is Ham with Orange Wine Sauce.  The recipe that attracted my attention is from To The Queen's Taste by Lorna J. Sass, copyright 1976.

At first, I was taken by the redaction, which sounds pretty tasty, and then I started looking at the original recipe. 

The original is from The English Hous-Wife by Gervase Markam, and reads as follows:

"Take Orenges and slice them thin, and up unto them White Wine and Rose Water, the powder of Mace, Ginger and Suger, and set the same upon a Chaffing dish of coales, and when it half boyled, put to it a good lump of butter, and then lay good store of sippets of fine white bread therein, and so serve your Chickens upon them, and trim the sides of the dish with sugar."

Having read that, I decided to go my own way, rather than follow Ms. Sass' redaction.

I got some seedless oranges, sliced them thin without peeling them and placed them in a saucepan with 3/4 of a cup of leftover white wine and a 1/4 cup of rose water, some powered mace and powered ginger and teaspoon of sugar.  I brought all of this to a boil and left it sit covered on simmer for about an hour.  

At the end of the hour, I fished out the orange slices and set them aside, arranging some of the slices on plates.

I let the sauce reduce a few more minutes and then added some bread crumbs and whisked it.  The bread crumbs thickened the sauce nicely.  In fact, it was a little too thick, so I cut with a little more orange juice until I was happy with the texture.  I did not put butter in this time, but will try that next time.  

Once the sauce was done, I left it on a warmer burner and fried up a ham steak.  I put the ham on top of the orange slices, topped it with the sauce and another orange slice.

The taste was very rich and a nice mixture of sweet, sour and bitter.  It went well with the salty ham.
I'm looking forward to continuing the experiments.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Baguette Success

This is basically the recipe from the Sur la Table class on bread baking I recently took. Here's a link to the recipe...

I mixed the dough on Wednesday and baked it tonight after I finished the clam pizza we had for dinner.

I formed it at about 3:00 in the afternoon, using the shaping instructions from America's Test Kitchen.  It rose for about 3 hours, and then I plopped it, still on the parchment onto the baguette pan and put that in the oven, onto a baking steel.  Next I covered it with a steam table tray, to contain the steam, put some water in my steam generator (an old broiler pan filled with lava rocks) and closed the oven door.  After 8 minutes, I removed the cover and the parchment paper and about 10 minutes later, it was done.

And It Was Tasty!

Need to work on my shaping, they're still a little uneven.  But they taste Real Good, and the texture is very close, so I can continue my quest for a perfect cylinder shape.

Monday, October 19, 2015

I would really like to do this someday...

This was at NYS Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend in Rheinbeck, NY.  A whole lamb, spitted and cooked over coals.  


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Summer in a jar - Tomato Sauce

I am blessed to have the Royersford Tomato Company setting up shop three blocks from my house at Brewed Awakenings on Thursdays.  This past Thursday, I walked over, got an excellent Cafe au Lait and a shopping bag full of plum and small tomatoes.  I let them sit in the kitchen until Sunday to let them completely ripen.  Time to make some tomato sauce!

This is my Victorio Food Strainer, including the electric motor.  The motor is a luxury, but not one I would like to be without.  Hand cranking large quantities of tomatoes takes a lot of energy and time. 

Here you can see the machine in action.  The crushed tomatoes run down the chute in front, and the peels and seeds exit to the left.

This is the strainer that comes with the machine.  The holes are small enough to block the seeds from the tomatoes.

This is a vidoe of the food mill in action.  It's not quiet...

After running all the tomatoes from Rofotomo, along with whatever was ripe in my patch and a bagful from one of K's coworkers, I had a bow of peels and seeds.  This was quite wet, so I ran it back through twice, which yielded another two cups of juice.  Total yield from this sesson was 18 cups of tomato puree.

Before and after...

Let's put some heat to this...

Many hours later, the 1.5 liters of sauce had cooked down to about 0.5 liters and it thickened up.  I ran an immerson blender through it to even out the texture and ladled it into jars.  I got three full jars and a partial jar.  

I got the hot water canner filled and up to 180 degrees,  I tested the Ph of the sauce and it was well below 4.6, so no additions of acid were needed.  

I brought the water up to a boil and boiled the jars for 35 minutes.

And this winter, when the weather is cold and the sky is gray, we will open a jar of this, boil some pasta and will be transported back to summer...

Savory Apple Onion Pie


4 medium Apples
1 large or 2 medium onions (about 1 cup sliced)
2 tbsp butter
¼ tsp each ginger, anise, saffron
½ tsp cinnamon
about 10 Mission Figs or 5 larger ones, chopped
about 2 tbsp raisins or currants (or a mixture)
1 to 2 tsp fresh chopped parsley or fresh (not frozen) chopped spinach
¼ cup dry red wine or good port

Make a pie crust for a top and bottom crust.

Peel and core two apples.  Place in a plastic bag and crush or pound them with a rolling pin.  Add a few drops of wine to prevent browning.  Set aside.

Cut onion into thick slices.  Saute in the butter until they are soft and translucent, but not brown.  Add the spices.  Note: to use saffron, mix it with a little salt and grind in a mortar.

Cut two remaining apples into thick slices or chunks.  Mix with all of the remaining ingredients including the cooked onions and the pounded apples.

Roll out pie dough.  You can cook in a pie pan, or you can make two large squares or rectangles or you can make it into 6 or 8 pasty shells in whatever shape you like (free forms need to be baked on a cookie sheet or flat pan).

Place filling on bottom crust.  Be careful not to overfill the pie.  Wet the edge with water or egg white.  Add the top crust, seal carefully.  Make a decorative edge if you want.  Paint the pastry with egg white or with saffron mixed with water to make it pretty.

Bake for 25-35 minutes until pastry is done.  Let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving, or eat it cold.

This recipe was found in the AS XXIX Arts and Sciences Issue of Pikestaff.  It is based on a recipe in Taillevent  and was originally written up by Lady Dante de Felice.