Thursday, September 13, 2012

Adventures with Plums PART 1

 So, I had all these plums left from several weeks of eating them and they were not going to get any fresher so figured on taking the opportunity to try out a new recipe... or should I say, try out a recipe I have not played with before.

However... things do not always go as planned and today I figured on using a mess of recipes to create a damson pie.

My sources for this mostly came from the 1590's with: The Good Housewife's Jewell, A Book of Cookrye and the Good Housewife Handmaide.
All the recipes have:

  •  Plums
  • Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
And the include directions telling us to:

  • Cook the plums
  • strain the plums
  • season the strain plums
  • Bake them in a an open tart
The differences were:

  • to cook the plums first by either boiling or scalding
  • To first cook the plums in either wine or rose water
  • some make sure to have the paste baked before, one does not specify
  • two suggest that cream should be added before being boiled to thicken it
  • one does not suggest boiling the strain plums afterwards
What I ended up doing was to take about 28 plums and fill up a pot with them, in this I added enough wine to almost come up to half and then I set it to boil until the plums looked puffed and translucent. Then I took them out and strained it all through a sieve. (Out of all the plums, I ended up with a bit over a 1/2 pound in waste.)
I then set the strained plums to boil till thick, however they have been cooking for some time and they are still more a sauce than something I would imagine being in a pie. Once I did manage to get them somewhat like a soft apple sauce consistency, I added 1/2 cup of sugar with 1tsp of cinnamon and ginger each... however I may increase the spices yet. 

It is still very much not like I would expect, however... so am now including the possibility of another recipe from a somewhat earlier date a few decades earlier. The source for this coming from "A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye" which proceeds as thus:
  • boil the plums in either red wine (or claret)
  • thicken with half a dozen pears (am guessing cooked and strained as well) or use white bread (guessing this is to be grated and strained with the plums)
  • this is strained together with six egg yolks and butter
To me, this last recipe sounds far superior as a pie filling but is quite different than the ones above and I am now considering creating a completely new recipe from the two where I could have an additional thickening agent but also have the sugar and spices, which could have just as easily been added to the earlier one. 

It does seem somewhat reasonable to look at some other suggestions for pies in general for a comparison that could possibly draw the two recipes together. 

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