Now that Terra Pomaria has a new Arts and Sciences Champion, I would like to publicly congratulate Lord Rafe Neuton for his interpretation of “Chireseye” (Cherry Pudding) from Forme of Cury. Since I have requested that he write up that recipe for the column as soon as he can, I will not presume to upstage his efforts. I will instead offer a somewhat similar German recipe with elderberries, to show that cooks adapt similar techniques to different resources, depending on local tastes and availability.
“Ein Holdermus von Beern” (Elderberry Pudding)
from Koch vnd Kellermeisterey , c. 1566
Text recording and proofreading by Christian Heuer, Thomas Gloning [i]
Nim Holderbeer/ wasch sie schön/ stos sie mit gebehetem weis Brot vnd [vud] Hünerbrüh/ oder gutem Wein/ thu gerieben Lebkuchen oder Honig dazu/ machs ab mit würtze/ treib es durch ein Tuch in ein Hafen oder pfannen/ las erwallen/ strewe würtz darauff.
TRANSLATION: Take elderberries, wash then well, pound them with crustless white bread and chicken broth or good wine. Add crumbled lebkuchen (see glossary) or honey to it, make it up with spices. Drive it through a cloth into a pot or pan. Let it boil. Strew spices thereon.
This is totally my own translation from the German. It has been many, many, many years since I did Middle High German translations in college, so anybody who differs with my translation or has found a professional translation of this recipe, please feel free to offer it! Any suggested changes will be added to the posting on the web site as I receive them.
REALIZATION: Thoroughly crush 1 pound of ripe elderberries with two thick slices of French bread which has been trimmed of crust. Add enough unsalted chicken broth or wine (see comments below) to make the mixture “soupy” – elderberries don’t have as much juice as modern fruits like berries. Let the mixture soak for at least a couple of hours, and overnight would be better. If you want to spice the pudding with 5-6 finely crumbled lebkuchen cookies, the crumbs should be added now to soak with the bread.
When soaked, put the mixture through a coarse sieve to remove any bits of elderberry skin or stems which might remain. If you are flavoring with spices instead of cookies, add no more than 1/8 tsp. each of cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, and sweeten to taste with honey, no more than 2 tbsp. Bring to a gentle simmer for about 25 minutes, which will cause the bread to soften and cook into a smooth paste. Pour into a serving dish(es) and let cool. When cool, sprinkle the top of the pudding with cinnamon sugar or more crumbled lebkuchen cookies, and serve as a pudding.
When you choose between chicken broth and wine to thin the berry/bread mixture, consider how you plan to serve the pudding. An accompaniment to a mild roast like pork? Use chicken broth (but NOT commercial stuff – salt has no place here!). As a pudding for dessert? Use wine, and sweeten to a higher degree. The choice of red or white wine is completely your option. Elderberries are of such strong taste that most wines will probably not be discernable, except to the most discriminating of palates. One recommendation is to use a very sweet dessert wine like a Malaga, which would have been very popular in period, and used wherever it could be afforded.
This sort of juice and bread concoction can be made with any strong or distinctive fruit juice. With the location of our barony, marionberries spring immediately to mind!
Lebkuchen: “Lebkuchen” are a Christmas gingerbread-type cookie. They are generally round and made with syrup or honey and lots of spices, including cinnamon, cardamom and allspice. They are then often coated with chocolate (in the modern days) or sugar icing. Quite a number of the Northern European countries have some version of this cookie. “Lebhaftig” in German means “lively”, so this can be seen as a “lively-tasting” cookie. This is a very similar usage to the medieval “gingerbread” which contained pepper rather than ginger, but was sharp in taste.
[i] * Teiledition der Kochrezepte (Blatt A1a bis G3a des Drucks)
* Texterfassung und Korrekturen: Christian Heuer, Thomas Gloning
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* URL: http://staff-www.uni-marburg.de/~gloning/kochkell.htm