Renaissance festivals try to emulate those times, but most of the food is something everyone knows such as chili, pretzels and turkey legs. This is more to accommodate easy eating outside than authenticity.
There are some foods we still eat today that Renaissance folk ate back in the 1500s. Apple pie has been around for centuries. Because apples are usually plentiful and store well, they have been a favorite for as long as there have been cooks.
The modern pie shell we eat today was called a coffin. It was never eaten, used only to keep the fruit moist. The rolling pin wasn’t invented until the 19th century so cooks would have used their hands or a smooth stone to spread the dough.
Sugar was available during the Renaissance but it was expensive and difficult to find. Even the wealthy lords and ladies did without most of the time. Honey was used as a sweetener, but in the case of apple pie, cooks would have relied on the sweetness of the fruit to make the pie taste good. Spices like cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and even saffron were heavily utilized by cooks of that day.
- 8 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 tsp cinnamon,
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp cloves
Pie Shell (coffin):
- 2 cups of flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup of butter
- ½ cup of milk
- egg to brush on crust
Separate the mixture to make two crusts. Work together flour, salt, butter and milk until it forms a ball. Push it flat with your hand then roll gently until it is the size needed for the pie shell. Add the apple mixture then cover it with the second flour shell. Bake for one hour at 375 degrees. Remove from oven and brush egg on the shell then place back in oven until the top crust has browned. Serve hot or cold.
Joyce and Jim Lavene write the Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries, Renaissance Faire Mysteries and Missing Pieces Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. www.joyceandjimlavene.com
Sounds delicious, Joyce and Jim! Thanks so much for sharing some 16th century cooking history with the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen.
***Don't forget to enter to win our weekly Mystery Lovers' Kitchen contest. The prize is a $25 gift certificate to the Williams-Sonoma kitchenware and gourmet food store. Just sign in to this blog and leave a comment or send an "Enter me!" e-mail with your first name and state to MysteryLoversKitchen@gmail.com. Good luck!