Turnspit and Table

An anti-miserabilist approach to historical cooking

18th Century Pink Pancakes for Pancake Day + Valentine’s Day

A stack of dark pink pancakes sit on a wooden plate, topped with apricots in syrup. A white bowl of apricots sits in the background, with an upturned spoon on the plate.

It’s Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras/Pancake Day today and Valentine’s Day tomorrow so why not celebrate both by making these 18th century pink pancakes!

Pancakes or crepes are traditionally on Shrove Tuesday, the last day before the beginning of Lent as a final hurrah before fasting. Fancy pancakes made with sugar, spices, wine, eggs, milk, cream, and/or butter would have been a particularly special treat, but even poorer households could afford a simpler version.


18th century painting of a kitchen interior. An older woman sits in front of the fire cooking pancakes, which are being placed on a plate on a table to the right. An older man with a pipe, a young woman, and a boy are gathering around, as if attracted by the smell of the pancakes.

The Pancake Cook, Adriaan de Lelie, c. 1790 – c. 1810, Rijksmuseum. Public Domain.

Eighteenth-century cookbooks have dozens of different recipes for pancakes, from Scotch pancakes to tansy pancakes to rice pancakes. Given that pink is the colour of the season, however, my eye was drawn to this recipe for pink pancakes in Elizabeth Raffald’s The Experienced English Housekeeper (3rd ed., 1773):

To make a pink-coloured PANCAKE
BOIL a large beet root tender, and beat it fine in a marble mortar, then add the yolks of four eggs, two spoonfuls of flour, and three spoonfuls of good cream, sweeten it to your taste, and grate in half a nutmeg, and put in a glass of brandy; beat them all together half an hour, fry them in butter, and garnish them with green sweetmeats, preserved apricots, or green sprigs of myrtle. It is a pretty corner dish for either dinner or supper.

This recipe turns up in dozens of other cookbooks throughout the century and into the next, but this was the earliest version that I could find. It stands out because of it’s use of beetroot to make them pink, and because of the instructions for how to serve them. The remark that this is ‘a pretty corner dish for either dinner or supper’ reminds us that these pancakes weren’t served for breakfast but would have been one dish out of many served together at the main meals of the day. Served as a corner dish, they would have been an accompaniment arranged in a symmetrical manner around larger dishes, often of meat. For more on the arrangement of eighteenth-century meals see my post on A Flanc of Greengages.

These make a very nice pancake that is more similar to a crepe than cakey American pancakes. The beetroot adds a beautifully rich colour but not much flavour. Instead, the taste is dominated by the brandy and the nutmeg, and I recommend halving the amount of nutmeg to start because it can be quite overpowering. Since modern eggs are much larger than those in the past, I used two large egg yolks to get a thin batter consistency.

Pink Pancakes

Makes 5-6 small crepes.

1 medium beetroot
2 large egg yolks
2 heaped tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cream
1/4 nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 cup brandy
Butter, to cook

1. Boil the whole beetroot until tender, about an hour. Allow to cool enough that you can handle it and remove the skin and the top and bottom. Quarter and use a food processor to blend to a smooth puree.
2. Mix the pureed beetroot with the eggs, flour, sugar, cream, nutmeg, and brandy in a medium bowl.
3. Heat a frying pan over low heat and add 1/2 tbsp butter. Add a scant 1/4 cup of batter to the pan and spread it into an even circle with the back of a spoon. Cook until the colour changes and the middle of the pancake lifts slightly. Flip, and cook the other side until lightly coloured. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter to the pan after every 2-3 pancakes.
4. Serve warm with butter, sugar and lemon, or preserved apricots.

a view from above shows dark pink pancakes on a wooden plate, topped with preserved apricot halves

Neapolitan Stuffed Figs


four stuffed but uncooked figs on a wooden board

Working through the backlog of things I have cooked but not posted, I came across the photos of this recipe for medieval, Italian stuffed figs. At the time I was staying with a friend in one of the Sydney lockdowns and there wasn’t much to get excited about except for the figs ripening on our neighbour’s tree. Inspired by the bounty across the fence, I went a bit fig mad with a recipe for medieval fig potage and then, when I got my hands on some fresh figs, these stuffed figs.

The recipe comes from a manuscript (MS Buhler 19) held in the Morgan Library in New York and published by Terence Scully under the name The Neapolitan Recipe Collection. The cookbook was written by an unknown author, about the second half of the 15th century near Naples but with a strong Catalan influence.

a page from the manuscript showing a larger heading above the text of the recipe. It is illustrated with a line drawing of what might be leafy stems in a vase.

The first page of MS Buhler 19 with a recipe “Per fare bona Piperata”, from the Morgan Library and Museum.

f. 63v Fritelle de Fiche Piene
Piglia amandole he pignoli, he pista molto bene – dico, che ogni cosa sia biancha – he pista insieme due bone fiche he un poco de uva passa; poi taglia un poco de petrosillo ben trito, he habi bone specie he miscola insieme; he se questa materia fusse troppo dura, pone insieme un poco de aqua rosada; poi piglia fiche belle he grosse he falli un buco dove sta el fiore suo he impele de questa materia; poi falle frigere in bono olio, adasio dico. – The Neapolitan Recipe Collection, pg 80

Stuffed Fig Fritters. Get almonds and pinenuts and grind them up thoroughly -I say everything must be white – and grind in two good figs and a few raisins; cut up a little well chopped parsley and mix in good spices; if this mixture is too thick, add in a little rosewater; then get fine big figs, make a hole in them where their flower is, fill them with the mixture and fry them in good oil -slowly, I say. – The Neapolitan Recipe Collection, pg 202

My taste tester and I agreed that the fried figs were good, and the filling was good, but that we weren’t particularly impressed by the combination of the two. Maybe with a bit more finessing, this could be a lovely addition to a medieval meal.


four cooked stuffed figs lined up on a wooden board

Neapolitan Stuffed Figs

1/4 cup pinenuts
1/4 cup ground almonds
2 dried figs, chopped
a small handful of raisins
a small handful of parsley, finely chopped
1/4 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
Rosewater (optional)
4 or 5 fresh figs
Vegetable oil, for frying

1. In a mortar and pestle grind the pinenuts then add the ground almonds (or grind your own fresh), dried figs, and raisins. When it is turning into a paste, add the parsley and spices and a little rosewater, if necessary, to moisten it.
2. Take the fresh figs and cut holes in the base of the figs. Finely chop the bases and add them to the paste. Stuff the paste into the holes in the figs with your fingers.
3. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and, when it is hot, fry the figs. Turn them so that they cook on each side and until golden and softened. Serve warm.

Mrs MacIver’s Stewed Celery

2 inch pieces of celery in a brown sauce i9n a blue and white bowl. The bowl sits on a wooden background with an open book in the background.

One lovely result of being interested in historical cooking is having family and friends bring my attention to unusual recipes they see on their travels. Several years ago, a friend of my mum’s sent me a lovely little reprint of ‘Cookery and Pastry as Taught and Practiced by Mrs MacIver’ which was reproduced by the Library of Innerpeffray (Scotland’s first lending library).

Suzanna or Susanna MacIver taught cooking in Edinburgh in the late 18th century and published ‘Cookery and Pastry’ in 1774, with multiple reprints including this edition in 1789. This was one of the first cookbooks published in Scotland and is known for having two early published recipes for haggis: A Good Scotch Haggies, and A Lamb’s Haggies.

As 18th century cookbooks go, it’s a very approachable volume and that was by design. Mrs MacIver said she wrote her book for “the genteel and middling ranks of life” and provided recipes, lists of ingredients in season, and dinner menus “which will be found particularly useful to young house-keepers.” The menu plans, like those shown below, provided easy to use combinations of different dishes depending on the size of the group and the occasion.


page from the book showing a series of menus for family meals of eight or nine dishes. The different dishes are arranged on the page as they should be laid out on the table with sides around the main meat dishes.

Dinner menus of eight or nine dishes from Mrs MacIver’s Cookery and Pastry. The dishes are laid out on the page as they should be on the table, with sides like the stewed celery arranged around the centrepieces of meat. Public domain, courtesy of the Wellcome Collection.

Because the recipes were aimed at the gentry and middle class, they are relatively simple to make and many would make easy additions to modern meals. I chose a side dish of celery cooked in gravy and it was pretty tasty.

To Stew Celery in Gravy.
Boil and order the celery as in the above receipt; brown a piece of butter, and thicken it with flour; mix in as much good gravy amongst it as will cover the celery, and a little red wine, and salt and spices to your taste; when the sauce comes to a-boil, throw in the celery, and let it stew a little, and then dish it.

Details from the previous recipe:

Celery with Cream
Wash and clean the celery; cut it in pieces about two or three inches long; boil them in water until they are tender; put them through a drainer, and keep them warm …


close up of a blue and white bowl filled with 2 inch pieces of celery in a brown sauce. A book lies open in the background.
To Stew Celery in Gravy

6 stalks celery, washed well
1 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp flour
2 cups lamb/mutton stock
1/3 cup red wine
Salt, pepper and grated nutmeg

1. Cut celery into 2-3 inch pieces, boil in water until just tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Melt butter in saucepan, add flour and cook for a few minutes until it smells and looks biscuity. Gradually whisk in the stock, then bring to the boil. Stir in the wine, season to taste with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.

3. Add the celery back to the pan and simmer for 10 mins more until the sauce has thickened and the celery is cooked to your liking.



There are a number of editions of Mrs MacIver’s book online if you want to look at more recipes:

1774 edition on Google Books

1777 edition from the National Library of Scotland

1777 edition from the Warburg Institute Digital Library

1789 edition from the Wellcome Collection

To Make a Sack Cream

brown wooden bowl filled with sack cream beside a pile of ornately patterned biscuits

In historical cooking, many recipes include ingredients that are unfamiliar today. Garum, long pepper, and amydon are no longer common in our kitchens, although we do use similar ingredients like fish sauce, pepper, and cornstarch.


One ingredient which often appears in early modern recipes is sack, a kind of fortified wine. Whenever I’ve come across sack in a recipe before I’ve always just substituted it with sherry or whatever fortified wine I’ve had to hand but when I recently found a bottle of Williams and Humbert’s dry sack I knew it was time for a deeper dive.


The term ‘sack’ starts appearing in English sources during the early 16th century but its origin is disputed. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests it comes from the French ‘sec’ for dry, but sack was a sweet and not a dry wine.[1] Sherry expert Julian Jeffs offers a more convincing etymology from the Spanish ‘sacas’ which referred to export wine.[2] This was a category that included sherry as well as fortified wines from the Canary Islands and Malaga.


But what did sack taste like? Jeffs says “It is difficult to say exactly what Elizabethan sack wines were like; they were certainly fortified, and the methods of making arrope had long been known, but they were seldom matured in the wood for more than a year or two. Even the cheapest wines sold today have to show at least two years’ maturation and the vast majority are older, but perhaps the very cheapest sweet olorosos are not so very far removed from sack.”[3]


Willams & Humbert sack, a blended sherry which is aged in oak casks for six years, is a little too fine then to be an exact substitute and a cream sherry might have been a better choice. Still, now I have a bottle of sack, what can I do with it?


To Make Sack Cream  Take a quart of thick cream sett it over the fire and when it boyls take it of & put to it a peice of lemon peil & sweten it well with fine suggar, when it is milk warm put it into the bason you intend to serve it up in and put to it half a lemon juce & nine spoonfulls of sack stiring it in by little & little after that sett it by till ye next day & serve it with waffers round ye dish you may mill it with a chocolate mill & serve it in glases if you please


One popular recipe was a sack cream which was one of the many cream recipes developed in the seventeenth-century. Made from whipped or thickened cream flavoured with fruit, alcohol, chocolate, or spices like cinnamon these creams came to play a central role in the evolving banquet course which was a separate course of sweetmeats often served in private rooms or a detached banquetting house.[4] Stephen Schmidt suggests that the explosion in cream dishes at the banquet from the 1650s onwards reflected the shift from Italianate to French cooking in fashionable English households.[5]

handwritten recipe in a manuscript cookbook, 'To Make a Sack Cream'

Page 28 of the Carr Family Cookbook (1741-1753), Szathmary Culinary Archive, Univesity of Iowa Library Special Collections. Public domain.

I’ve made a chocolate cream before, from Jane Dawson’s manuscript cookbook, and it was thickened by boiling the cream and adding an egg yolk before frothing it with a molinillo. This recipe, taken from the mid-eighteenth-century Carr Family Cookbook also boils the cream but instead of adding egg to thicken it acid is added in the form of lemon juice to just slightly curdle it. The trick here is adding the lemon juice very slowly, and then refrigerating the cream overnight. I did not try frothing it with a molinillo, but it would be interesting to know what effect that would have. It makes a rich, sweet dip for serving with biscuits which is good in small quantities.


[1] “Sack, n.3,” in OED Online (Oxford University Press, September 2022), https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/169485.

[2] Julian Jeffs, Sherry (Durrington, UK: Infinite Ideas, 2016).

[3] Jeffs.

[4] Peter Brears, Cooking & Dining in Tudor & Early Stuart England, 1st edition (London: Prospect Books, 2015), 84–90; 519–79.

[5] Stephen Schmidt, “Italian Cooking: What, Exactly, Was the Tudor and Stuart Banquet?,” Manuscript Cookbooks Survey, August 2019, https://www.manuscriptcookbookssurvey.org/category/italian-cooking/.


Sack Cream


1 1/4 cups cream

Sugar, to taste

2 pieces lemon peel

1/3 tbsp lemon juice

2 1/4 tbsp sack or dry sherry


  1. Bring the cream to a boil then take off the heat and add the lemon peel and enough sugar to sweeten to your taste.
  2. Allow the cream to cool to just warm then add the lemon juice and sack bit by bit, stirring well between additions.
  3. Pour into the serving bowl, then refrigerate overnight before serving with plain biscuits (pizzelle or something similar are a good choice). Grate over some nutmeg if desired.

a plate of waffle-like biscuits rolled into tubes sit piled in front of a brown, wooden bowl filled with sack cream



A 1930s Picnic

picnic table with cake and sandwiches and crackers

Photo by Lucas Garron

Back in California and with another wave of COVID-19, this year’s birthday was a quiet one with a 1930s themed picnic. For food, I leaned pretty heavily on the recipes from my Gatsby Picnic a few years ago but I swapped in a couple of new dishes (and of course a birthday cake) which I wanted to share.

Once again, all the recipes come from the amazing resource that is the database of fully searchable Australian newspapers on Trove.


First up, a new sandwich filling: cream cheese and gherkin from The Argus in 1936.


Use brown bread, spreading one side only with cream cheese mixed with very finely chopped gherkins.


This is as simple as can be to make, and definitely an unusual combination to get your guests in the 30s mood but also not bad.


macaroni salad in a plastic container

Picnic Macaroni Salad from The Townsville Daily Bulletin in 1939

3 cups cooked macaroni, 1 ½ cups diced celery, 1 ½ cups diced cucumber, 3 tablespoons minced onion, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, 3 tablespoons chopped capsicum, 1 teaspoon salt, mayonnaise

Mix the ingredients in the order given, adding just enough mayonnaise to bind. Chill thoroughly before leaving for the picnic. If a wide-mouthed thermos jug is used, be sure that it is well chilled beforehand. Cover the salad with waxed paper and lay crisp lettuce leaves on top before closing the jug tightly. This recipe makes 6 servings.

Note: You don’t need much mayonnaise at all, but I did end up increasing the salt because it was a bit bland. I actually really liked this which was a good thing because it definitely served more than 6.


pie in a pie dish on a checkered tablecloth

Tasty Pie from the Manjimup Mail and Jardee-Pemberton-Northcliffe Press in 1934


Such a very tasty but easy to make pie is made by mixing some diced ham or bacon with two or three well-beaten eggs and a very little milk, seasoning well and pouring on to a deep plate lined with pastry. Put another layer of pastry over the top and bake in a moderate oven until lightly browned. This is particularly easy to carry, and can be cut into conveniently sized sections to eat in the fingers if cutlery is not carried.


Note: This was a hit with my guests and was great served cold with some salad.


Tasty Pie

3 eggs

4 rashers bacon, diced

Salt and pepper (or use something like Adobo seasoning for a bit of extra flavour)

¼ cup milk

2 disks puff pastry


Beat together the eggs, diced bacon, milk and seasoning. Line a pie plate with one of the disks of puff pastry, then pour in the filling. Top with the second disk of puff pastry and bake at 200°C until puffed and browned.

cake covered in pineapple rings with cherries in the center of the rings

Pineapple Wheel Cake from The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser in 1932

This was selected as the prize winning recipe of the week in Brisbane: Melt ½ cup of butter in cake tin, cover with 2 cups brown sugar, spreading it evenly. Place 1 slice of tinned or fresh pineapple (cored) in centre of tine, on top of sugar; cute several other slices of pineapple in half, arranging them in circle round the centre slice, like the spokes of a wheel, rounded edges facing one way. If desired, fill in spaces with walnuts and cherries. Make sponge batter, using 4 eggs, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoonful baking powder, or self-raising flour. Pour over the pineapple wheel and bake in a moderate oven for 10 or 15 minutes. Turn out on plate upside down, and when cold spread with whipped cream.


Pineapple Wheel Cake

7 slices cored pineapple (fresh or tinned)

Maraschino/glacé cherries and/or walnuts

½ cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Place the butter in a 24cm/9 1/2 inch springform round tin sitting on top of a baking tray (because the butter will leak). Put the cake tin into the oven just to melt the butter, then spread the brown sugar evenly over the base of the tin.
  2. Place a drained slice of pineapple in the center of the cake tin, then arrange the other slices in a circle around the central slice. If desired, place cherries and/or walnuts in the gaps between the pineapple.
  3. Make the cake batter by using an electric mixer to beat the eggs until frothy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until thick and fluffy. Sieve in ⅓ of the flour and baking powder then fold in gently. Repeat with the next third of the flour twice more until it is all incorporated. Don’t over mix!
  4. Pour the batter on top of the layer of pineapple, then bake for about 45 minutes or until the cake is fully cooked. Run a sharp knife around the rim, allow to cool for 10-15 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack.


Note: this recipe worked (although it took longer to cook than the original said) and it tasted OK but it was incredibly sweet. This recipe uses 2-4 times as much sugar in the pineapple layer as most modern recipes and honestly this is way too much.

jug of red raspberry tea punch

Raspberry Tea Punch from the Melbourne Herald in 1938


MIX with sugar 1 breakfastcupful of ripe, firm raspberries, and leave for three or four hours for the sugar to dissolve. Crush the fruit and pass through a hair sieve. Add the resultant juice to 2 cups of fairly strong tea, then squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon or half a grapefruit, with 3 tablespoonfuls of strained orange juice. Just before serving add ½ pint of ginger ale. Serve with chopped ice and garnish with a few whole raspberries. As an alternative, a blob of icecream may be substituted in place of the whole fruit and the ice.

Note: This was probably the stand out recipe of the day, and so simple to make. I used ¼ cup of sugar to 1 cup of raspberries and followed the rest of the recipe as written although I added more ginger ale to make it stretch further. I’d recommend doubling the recipe if you have a group.


the author in a park, holding a pineapple cake and smiling

Photo by Lucas Garron


Making A ‘Flanc’ Of Greengages

One of the lovely things about being in back in California for the summer is fresh summer fruits. I’ve been picking blackberry and roasting plums in red wine and gorging myself on fresh cherries. And recently, I was able to get my hands on some greengages.


Greengages are a type of plum and, as the name suggests, a gorgeous green colour even when ripe. They’re on the smaller side, a sweet, tart mouthful each. Known in France as the Reine Claude, they’re hard to come by in California and even harder to find in Australia but absolutely worth it if you can find some.

greengages for sale in a market stall with prices per kg and per lb

Martinvl, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

I wanted to showcase these gorgeous plums with a historic recipe that wouldn’t cook them down too much. In the end I actually didn’t have that many recipes to choose from, in part because greengages were only introduced to England from France in the early 18th century and also I suppose because you could use greengages in most recipes that just call generically for plums.


Alexis Soyer, the Victorian celebrity chef, has recipes for greengage compote, small tarts, dumplings and the intriguing crusts of fruit in his 1850 edition of The Modern Housewife or, Ménagère:


Crusts of Fruit.—Put a quarter of a pound of butter in a sauté- or frying-pan, sprinkle a little sugar over, cut four or five slices of bread a quarter of an inch thick, three inches long, and one and a half wide, lay in your pan; take one dozen of greengages, open them in two, they must not be too ripe, lay the skin part on your bread, put a pinch of sugar in each, put it in a hot oven for twenty minutes; have ready a salamander or a hot shovel, and hold it over it for a few minutes, dish and serve hot or cold; the oven ought to be hot enough to give a nice yellow color to the bottom, which will eat crisp.

He also has a recipe for “flancs”

Flancs, with any kind of fruit, like a vol-au-vent, are more easily made, and are equally as good a side dish. This may be made of half-puff or short paste, and fill with raw cherries and some pounded sugar over: bake together. Greengages, apricots, or any kind of plums, will require a hotter oven than for flour only in it, the fruit giving moisture to the paste; if baked in a slow oven will be heavy, and consequently indigestible.

This is not the first time Soyer wrote recipes for a flanc, in The Gastronomic Regenerator (1846) he has a recipe for ‘Flanc à la Creme Pralinée’ which is for a tart filled with frangipane and almonds. Included in the chapter for ‘Entremets’, surrounded by pastry recipes and following directly after several recipes for fruit flans, at first this seems like a typo or maybe a variant spelling of flan.

But as Soyer explains in the Modern Housewife “AT this part of the dinner there are those dishes which are called Flancs, by which is understood, those dishes whose contents are not so large as the removes and not so small as the entrées, and the Receipts for which may be taken from either of those departments, with this difference;—instead of meat or poultry being cut up, it should be left whole: for instance, a loin of mutton, instead of being cut up into cutlets, should be served whole, with some sauce under it, and a duck, instead of being divided, should be left whole, with some sauce. It is also a great addition in the appearance of the table, and should always be served in a differently-formed dish to the entrées or removes; and are only required when eighteen or twenty persons dine, and four corner dishes are used.”

Sample menu for a two course meal for August from The London Art of Cookery by John Farley (1811) showing the four corner dishes that Soyer refers to. The ‘flancs’ are probably the tartlet and cheese cakes in the second course, and the chicken and French pie in the first course.

The term seems to be more related to the direct translation of the French flanc meaning side reflecting the layout of a meal served à la Française. Unlike in a modern restaurant meal (served à la Russe) where each course is served one after the other with one dish at a time to each individual diner, a meal served à la Française may still have multiple courses but many dishes are laid out on the table at the same time for each diner to take a serving of the different dishes. The layout, and especially the symmetry, of the different dishes was an important part of the meal and for highlighting the hostess’s skill.

Sample layout of dishes for the first and second courses from The Complete Economical Cook, and Frugal Housewife by Mary Holland (1837).

Sample two course menu from The Complete Economical Cook, and Frugal Housewife by Mary Holland (1837). Notice how the second course combines sweet and savoury dishes, and hot and cold.
















In these meals, the centrepieces of each course would be placed that the top and bottom of the table, closest to the host and the hostess. These typically consisted of soup and fish in the first course and roast meats in the second course. These dishes could be removed once eaten and replaced by ‘removes’. Laid out around the main dishes during each course were ‘made-dishes’, also called entrées and entremets, which could be sweet or savory but generally became lighter and sweeter as the meal went on. Soyer’s flancs fit into this category as a kind of side dish, normally served cold alongside the more elaborate entrees and the larger meats.


Sample menus from The Cook’s Guide, and Housekeeper’s and Butler’s Assistant by Charles Francatelli (1863) show how seasonal menus for different numbers of diners were still made up of the same elements: soup, fish and roast meat in sequential removes served wtih entrees and entremets. The second course of the dinner for 6 people includes a Flance of pears and rice although unfortunately no recipe is included.

The problem with this theory is that the term flanc nearly always refers to a kind of sweet tart normally filled with fruit but occasionally even with sweet noodles, and it continues in use until the end of the 19th century when dining à la Française had been nearly completely replaced by dining à la Russe. Frederick Vine’s Practical Pastry published in 1894 has recipes for apples, gooseberries, greengages and apricots baked into tarts. A recipe for ‘flanc of peaches’ is included in both Cassell’s Dictionary of Cookery (1896) and Harper’s Cookbook Encyclopedia (1902) while Mrs de Salis offers a completely different style of recipe in The Lady’s Realm (1897).

So, does ‘flanc’ refer to the type of dish and it’s place within the meal, or is it a sweet tart generally with a fruit filling in a raised crust? I’m not sure, and this isn’t the only thing about the recipes that is a bit of a conundrum.

Glistening fruit tart on a blue and white plate with a metal cake server and some sunflowers in the background

The Recipe

The version I made comes from Mrs Beeton’s The Book of Household Management (1861).


FLANC OF APRICOTS, or Compote of Apricots in a Raised Crust.

(Sweet Entremets.)

  1. INGREDIENTS.—3/4 lb. of short crust No. 1212, from 9 to 12 good-sized apricots, 3/4 pint of water, 1/2 lb. of sugar.

Mode.—Make a short crust by recipe No. 1212, and line a mould with it as directed in recipe No. 1391. Boil the sugar and water together for 10 minutes; halve the apricots, take out the stones, and simmer them in the syrup until tender; watch them carefully, and take them up the moment they are done, for fear they break. Arrange them neatly in the flanc or case; boil the syrup until reduced to a jelly, pour it over the fruit, and serve either hot or cold. Greengages, plums of all kinds, peaches, &c., may be done in the same manner, as also currants, raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries, &c.; but with the last-named fruits, a little currant-juice added to them will be found an improvement.

Time.—Altogether, 1 hour to bake the flanc, about 10 minutes to simmer the apricots.

Average cost, 1s. 6d.

Sufficient for 1 entremets or side-dish.

Seasonable in July, August, and September.


The basic recipe refers to two other recipes to make the pastry case:


1212. INGREDIENTS.—To every pound of flour allow 2 oz. of sifted sugar, 3 oz. of butter, about 1/2 pint of boiling milk.

Mode.—Crumble the butter into the flour as finely as possible, add the sugar, and work the whole up to a smooth paste with the boiling milk. Roll it out thin, and bake in a moderate oven.

Average cost, 6d. per lb.



(Sweet Entremets.)

  1. INGREDIENTS.—3/4 lb. of short crust No. 1211 or 1212, 9 moderate-sized apples, the rind and juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 lb. of white sugar, 3/4 pint of water, a few strips of candied citron.

Mode.—Make a short crust by either of the above recipes; roll it out to the thickness of 1/2 inch, and butter an oval mould; line it with the crust, and press it carefully all round the sides, to obtain the form of the mould, but be particular not to break the paste. Pinch the part that just rises above the mould with the paste-pincers, and fill the case with flour; bake it for about 3/4 hour; then take it out of the oven, remove the flour, put the case back in the oven for another 1/4 hour, and do not allow it to get scorched. It is now ready for the apples, which should be prepared in the following manner: peel, and take out the cores with a small knife, or a cutter for the purpose, without dividing the apples; put them into a small lined saucepan, just capable of holding them, with sugar, water, lemon juice and rind, in the above proportion. Let them simmer very gently until tender; then take out the apples, let them cool, arrange them in the flanc or case, and boil down the syrup until reduced to a thick jelly; pour it over the apples, and garnish them with a few slices of candied citron.



While making the filling is straightforward enough, the pastry is very oily and I had to press it into the tin instead of rolling it out. Then the recipe says to fill the raw pastry case with flour and bake it in order to blind bake it.This isn’t a technique I’ve seen before, but it seems to be common to several of the flanc recipes including the ‘Flanc de Nouilles méringuées’ (Flanc of Meringue-d Noodles) from The Art of French Cookery (1827) which is the earliest recipe I’ve found so far.

Recipe for Flanc de Nouilles méringuées from The Art of French Cookery (1827)

I was very nervous about this and wasn’t sure if I should put a layer of baking paper in the pastry first to make getting rid of the flour easier. In the end I didn’t, and it actually worked really well with the flour absorbing some of the oiliness of the pastry. Yet another example of how historical recipes often work if you just follow them! This made a very crisp pastry that stayed firm even when the quite liquid filling was put into it and was still crispy two days later. It’s definitely a method that I will be using again.


The filling itself is simple to make although I probably left the greengages in the syrup a little too long. You want them to change colour but not for the skin to start falling off them, it’s really only a couple of minutes. I then cooked the syrup down until it was starting to gel, testing it as if for jam. It will thicken a bit more as it cools, so don’t take it too far.


Overall, this makes one of the most delicious fruit tarts I’ve ever tasted with the sweetness of the syrup offset by the tartness of the greengages and balanced by the rich, biscuit-y pastry.


The Redaction

Flanc of Greengages


3/4 cups water

226g sugar

9-12 greengages, halved and pitted

226g plain flour, plus flour to fill the pastry case

57g sugar

85g cold butter, cubed

1.2 cups boiling milk


  1. Boil the sugar and water together in a medium saucepan for 10 mins. Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the greengages. Remove the greengages after 2-3 minutes when fully yellow and the skin is just starting to wrinkle.
  2. Continue boiling syrup until light gel forms (20-30 mins) then allow the syrup to cool.
  3. Heat the oven to 180°C. To make the pastry, place the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl and rub in the butter. Heat the milk and add enough milk to bring the dough together into a smooth paste.
  4. Butter a shallow pie dish and press the dough into the dish to make a case. Fill it with plain flour, then bake for 45 minutes. Use a spoon to carefully remove the flour and discard the flour. Use a pastry brush to remove any remaining flour, then put the case back in the oven and back for 15 minutes at 170°.
  5. When the case is golden brown and crispy, but not burnt at the edges, remove it from the oven. Arrange the greengages in the case and spoon over enough of the syrup to fill in the gaps between the fruit. Serve warm or cold.



For more about the history of dining, see:

Flandrin, Jean Louis. Arranging the Meal: A History of Table Service in France. English-Language ed, University of California Press, 2007.

Gray, Annie. “‘Perfection and Economy’: Continuity and Change in Elite Dining Practices, ca. 1780-1880.” The Importance of British Material Culture to Historical Archaeologies of the Nineteenth Century, edited by Alasdair Mark Brooks, University of Nebraska Press, 2015, pp. 216–42.


Making 17th Century Shrewbsury Cakes

three stacked biscuits on a linen surface with a plate of more biscuits in the background

The third recipe I made to celebrate the publication of my article on Margaret Baker and her 17th century manuscript recipe books (after making Lombard Pie and Puff Paste Loaves) was Shrewsbury Cakes.

Recipes for Shrewsbury cakes pop up in nearly every manuscript and published cookbook from this time, and keep appearing well into the nineteenth century. That doesn’t mean there was a standard recipe though. There are many different variations in flavour based on the types of spices called for. In MS2485 alone Margaret Baker has four different recipes for Shrewsbury cakes, some of which are spiced and others which are not.

To make Shrusbery Cakes;
Take one lb: of flower; as much butter; & as much fine suger 4: eggs, put ye eggs in ye middle of ye flower & put the suger a bout ye flower yn put in ye butter & so mingel it yn rowle it very thinn & pricke it wht a combe flower your paper & paye them one; the ouen must be as hott as for manchett halfe an houer will bake them;

To make shrusbery Cakes
Take a pound of fine flower and three quarterns of a pound of butter wash it in rose-water & worke in three quarters of a pound of suger serced and putt in :4: egges & one white worke these togather & lett them stand & coole then make them into littell cakes pretty thinn & lay them one paper to bake sett them into an ouen so coule as not to coller them;

Ton to make shrosbry cakes
Take sum fine wheat flower and put as much whit suger in it as will make it pretty sweet you may putt cloues and mace and rose water what you think sett in to it and egges acording to the quantety you make let not your butter and creame be to hot to knead them and take heed of baking them to much I neuer had this ceat from the bakers them selues an therefore cannot giue an exact direcion about them what I had about them is but [bia ame ame?] I neuer had other for the qauntie of the things which are put in

Christaine Purifoy – To make shrewsbure Cakes;
Take halfe a pound of flower; as much sugar; 1 quarter of an ounce; of nutt-megs; as much sinamon; as much mace; as much carraway; & as much coriander seedes 2: grans of musk; 2 yolks of eggs; 3 spone-fulls of rose water; halfe a pound of butter; beat & sift your spice & beat your seeds make some milke hott & putt in ye butter when it is melted putt it into all your things wth out ye milke yn putt in as much more flower as will make it into a lith past squesh it bettween yor hand yn make it into a long rowle yn cutt it into cakes wth a glass round cross it wth a knife & in euery crose pricke it wth ye great teeth of a combe flower your paper & bake them; to make the egges smoth putt it up rownd with your finger;

The one I made is the recipe provided by Christaine Purifoy who unfortunately I haven’t been able to idenify yet although a number of recipes in the manuscripts are attributed to either Christaine Purifoy or Mistress Purifoy.

Having this range of recipes is helpful, not only for seeing the variation that was possible, but also to fill in details where the instructions are a bit thin. The other three recipes, for example, give more detail about the temperature and amount of time it takes to bake the biscuits.

I was worried that the amount of spice would be overwhelming, but they turned out beautifully with a flavour somewhere between gingerbread and snickerdoodles. I haven’t tried experimenting with synthetic musk (even though musk sticks are a common children’s candy in Australia). Has anyone had a go at adding musk to recreated recipes?


Shrewsbury Cakes

7g nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
7g cinna
7g mace (or less, it’s expensive!)
7g caraway seeds
7g coriander seeds
113g flour, plus a bit extra
113g sugar
1 egg yolk
1.5 tbsp rosewater
113g butter, melted

1. Heat the oven to 190°C. Use a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle to grind and mix the spices.
2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and sugar. Stir in the ground spices, then add the egg yolk, rosewater and melted butter. Stir to mix, adding enough extra flour to bring the dough together (I used about 4 heaped teaspoons). The dough is oily and very soft, but keep adding a bit more flour at a time until it will come together in a ball.
3. On a floured surface, shape the dough into a roll about two inches thick. Use a sharp knife to slice the dough into rounds, 1/3 of an inch thick.
4. Place each slice on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Use your hands or an upturned drinking glass to make the biscuit more circular. Then taking the back of the blade of a knife, impress a cross on each biscuit so that there are four quarters visible. Use a fork to prick inside each quarter.
5. Place biscuits on a lined baking tray and bake for about 15 mins or until they are slightly puffed up and have lightened in colour. Allow to firm up slightly before moving to a cooling rack.

blue and white plate stacked with biscuits on a crumpled linen background


Puff Paste Loaves aka Buttered Loaves

Following on in the series of recipes from Margaret Baker’s recipe books, I chose one from Sloane MS 2485. This book has the most culinary recipes, although there are still some medical and household recipes too. The front page is dated “The 27th of December 1672” when Margaret Baker must have been in her 60s or maybe even 70s. I wonder if this book was supposed to be a clean copy of recipes she had collected over her lifetime, a compendium of her skills and knowledge.

image of several buttered loaves on a wooden board, one with the top off to show the filling

The recipe is titled ‘To make puff past loues” which is interesting because puff paste implies pastry, but loues (or loaves) implies a recipe for bread. In fact, the recipe is similar to those found in many sixteenth and seventeenth-century recipes under variations of the name ‘buttered loaf’.

To make puff past loues;
Take :3: pintes of fine flower & putt into it :6: yolkes of eggs & noe whites a sawcer full of good yeast; cloues mace & salt yn mould it into past with could creame this being bake yn beinge open in ye topp & putt therinto melted butter and suger;

The recipes for buttered loaves are descended from the medieval ‘rastons’ which were rolls made of bread dough enriched with butter and eggs. Once the rastons were baked, the tops were cut open and melted butter (and sometimes sugar) could be poured in, or mixed with the crumb.

Rastons.—Take fayre Flowre, & þe whyte of Eyroun, & þe ȝolke, a lytel; þan take Warme Berme, & putte al þes to-gederys, & bete hem to-gederys with þin hond tyl it be schort & þikke y-now, & caste Sugre y-now þer-to, & þenne lat reste a whyle; þan kaste in a fayre place in þe oven, & late bake y-now; & þen with a knyf cutte yt round a-boue in maner of a crowne, & kepe þe cruste þat þou kyttyst; & þan pyke al þe cromys withynne to-gederys, an pike hem smal with þin knyf, & saue þe sydys & al þePage 53 cruste hole with-owte; & þan caste þer-in clarifiyd Boter, & Mille þe cromeȝ & þe botere to-gedereȝ, & keuere it a-ȝen with þe cruste, þat þou kyttest a-way; þan putte it in þe ovyn aȝen a lytil tyme; & þan take it out, & serue it fortℏ.

There are several good recreated recipes for rastons floating around, including Maeve L’Estrange’s recipe ‘How to Make Buttery Twice-Baked Raston’ or if you prefer a video Max Miller has a Youtube episode called ‘How to Bake Medieval Rastons’.

By the 17th century, the recipes called for the dough to be spiced as it is here with cloves and mace. A variation is made with fresh cheese, as in the very next recipe from Margaret Baker:

An other Loffe;
Take a quart of new milke putt rennett to it; & wn it is turned whey it & hange ye curd up a dreaninge an hower or two; take :10: eggs leaue out :3: of their whites a little ginger a pitne of eale yeast; as much flower as will make it up in to a loafe; when it is well baked cutt it up & butter it with butter & suger your butter must be melted first with ye suger in it;

This version is almost identical to one called ‘[To] Make a Butterd Loafe’ in Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery, suggesting they may share a published source. To try a version of this recipe, Peter Brears suggests using cottage cheese as shown in this example by Brigitte Webster (Brears 215, 136) .

image of four rolls on a wooden board, each with the tops cut off and replaced on top of a mixture of melted butter and sugar. One has the top laying on the side so the filling can be seen.


Margaret Baker’s Puff Paste Loaves

480g flour (stone-milled would be great but strong white flour will do fine)
4 cloves, ground (preferably freshly ground)
1 large piece mace, ground (preferably freshly ground)
3/4 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
1 tsp yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm milk, ale or water and allowed to become bubbly
1 cup cream plus enough extra cream or milk to make quite a sticky dough
100g butter
100g sugar

1. In a large bowl mix the flour with the spices and salt. Mix in the egg yolks, yeast and cream. Stir, then add enough extra cream or milk to make quite a sticky dough.
2. Turn the dough out onto a surface and knead until it becomes smooth and pliable. Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
3. Knock down the dough and cut it into 12 equally sized pieces. Shape each into a smooth ball with good surface tension. Place on lined baking trays and allow to rise for another 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C.
4. After the rolls have risen, bake them for 15-20 minutes or until they sound hollow when knocked and not too golden. Allow to cool enough to handle.
5. In a small saucepan melt the butter and sugar together over low heat. It’s OK if the sugar remains a bit grainy.
6. Using a sharp knife, cut the top of each roll off and pour 1-2 tbsp of the melted butter mixture onto the larger part of the roll. Put the top back on and serve while still warm.

The Verdict

A little on the dry side but beautifully spiced and the melted butter and sugar is a master-stroke. Since the dough is not sweetened, it adds just the right amount of richness.



Brears, Peter. Cooking & Dining in Tudor & Early Stuart England. Prospect Books, 2015.

Margaret Baker’s Lombart Pye (Lumber Pie)

Imagine that in 400 years historians find your collection of hand-written recipes with no information about you other than your name and maybe a date. How much would they be able to say about you and your life?

This is the problem faced by scholars of early-modern manuscript cookbooks and, perhaps surprisingly, the answer is quite a lot. Even if they can’t identify the person or family the recipes are related to, they can use clues from the dialect, handwriting and recipes themselves to infer when and where a book was written and information about the contributors.

Still, there’s something very satisfying when you’re able to link a recipe book (or receipt book as they’re also called) to an individual person. Or persons: these books were often compiled by multiple generations of owners.

double-page of manuscript receipt book of Margaret Baker with signature at the top of the right page

Front endleaf of Folger Va 619 with Margaret Baker’s signature at the top of the right-hand page. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Several years ago, doing one of the Early Modern Recipe Online Collective transcribathons I was inspired to go looking for a seventeenth-century woman called Margaret Baker. There are three recipe books associated with her: two in the British Library and one in the Folger Shakespeare Library. Two of them are signed, two of them have dates and all included recipes attributed to friends and family members in the same way that we might write down Granny’s vegetable soup recipe, or Uncle Steve’s pasta bake.

Never one to turn down a genealogical puzzle, I started building out the family tree from two known individuals to find Margaret Baker and the results of this project have just been published in ABO: Interactive Journal for Women in the Arts. The article is open access, so anyone can download it for free.

To celebrate, I wanted to make some recipes from the books that I have now spent so much (virtual) time with. While I had a lot of respect for Baker as an educated woman who was interested in medicine and surgery and the world around her, making her recipes has given me a whole new appreciation for her skill as a cook!

The Recipes

double-sided hand-written page of recipes from Folger Va 619 including recipe for Lombart Pye

fol 37v/38r from Folger Va 619, showing recipe for Lombart Pye on the middle of the left page. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0). 

The first recipe I made is a recipe for ‘Lombart Pye’ from Folger V.a. 619. Lombard, or lumber, pies are often included in 17th century cookbooks and are distinctive because they’re filled with round things, normally spiced balls of minced fish or meat as in the recipes from Robert May’s Accomplisht Cook (1660) below. Lumber pies could also be highly decorative and made into complex shapes (check out Ivan Day’s website to see a selection of suggested shapes).

To make a Lumber-Pie.
Take some grated bread, and beef-suet cut into bits like great dice, and some cloves and mace, then some veal or capon minced small with beef-suet, sweet herbs, salt, sugar, the yolks of six eggs boil’d hard and cut in quarters, put them to the other ingredients, with some barberries, some yolks of raw eggs, and a little cream, work up all together and put it in the cauls of veal like little sausages; then bake them in a dish, and being half baked, have a pie made and dried in the oven; put these puddings into it with some butter, verjuyce, sugar, some dates on them, large mace, grapes, or barberries, and marrow; being baked, serve it with a cut cover on it, and scrape sugar on it.
Take some minc’t meat of chewits of veal, and put to it some three or four raw eggs, make it into balls, then put them in a pye fitted for them according to this form, first lay in the balls, then lay on them some slic’t dates, large mace, marrow, and butter; close it up and bake it, being baked, liquor it with verjuyce, sugar, and butter, then ice it, and serve it up.

To make a Lumber Pye of Salmon.
Mince a rand, jole, or tail with a good fat fresh eel seasoned in all points as beforesaid, put five or six yolks of eggs to it with one or two whites, make it into balls or rouls, with some hard eggs in quarters, put some butter in the pye, lay on the rouls, and on them large mace, dates in halves, slic’t lemon, grapes, or barberries, & butter, close it up, bake it, and ice it; being baked, cut up the cover, fry some sage-leaves in batter, in clarified butter, and stick them in the rouls, cut the cover, and lay it on the plate about the pie, or mingle it with an eel cut into dice work, liquor it with verjuyce, sugar, and butter.

The Baker recipe is unusual however, because instead of combining meat-balls or small puddings with lots of spices and dried fruit, it is made from a much simpler mixture of apples and chicken. Shredded roast chicken is mixed with nutmeg, salt and pepper before being stuffed into cored apples and then put into a pie case. During cooking the apples kind of explode, creating a delicious kind of apple sauce inside the pie.

The pastry recipe comes from another one of the Baker manuscripts (MS Sloane 2485) which has most of the culinary recipes. I had to reduce it a lot (hence the 1/3 egg) because Baker was collecting recipes for an entire household which would have included immediate and extended family as well as servants and visitors. It worked well, although the pastry is a bit on the tough side.

To make two sorts of crust;

Take a quart of flower & creake into itt a pound of sweet butter in little bitts; sture itt together; make a hole in ye mides breake in to itt :2: eggs; & as much water as will wett itt in to a could paist worke it well butt not to much devide itt almost in halfe; ye lesser halfe rowle out but not thinn butt thinner then the lidd yn butter a dish & lay it on yn place in itt what you like & couer it with ye thick lidd if you would haue it puffe past wett ye flower only wth ye eggs & water & rowle itt out thinn & sticke it full of peeces of butter yn toble itt & rowle itt out againe and butter itt; & soe many duble as you would haue itt; Soe many times rowle it out with butter,

While I made a pretty rustic version, you could make this fancier by choosing a more complex pie shape or making a separate cut pastry lid for the pie (again, see Ivan Day’s examples). Another twist would be to wrap each apple in pastry separately to make individual servings.

Overall, this is a very simple to make recipe with some leftover chicken but gives a very interesting result that can be served cold, warm, or hot. My taste-tester and I both agreed this was a success and I’ll definitely be making it again.

pie cut open to show filling of apple and chicken

The Redaction

Margaret Baker’s Lumber Pie

1 roast/boiled chicken breast or thigh
2-4 apples, peeled and cored (try to choose smaller apples which are even in size, I used Granny Smiths which are not historically accurate but give a lovely acidity)
Nutmeg, freshly grated
Salt and pepper

For the pastry (substitute with hot water crust pastry to make a free-standing pie, or you could use purchased shortcrust pastry if you don’t want to make your own)
250g plain flour
75g salted butter, cubed
1/3 egg
Cold water

1. Heat the oven to 180. To make the pastry place the flour in a bowl and rub in the cold butter with your fingertips until it is like fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and enough cold water to bring it together. Be careful not to over-work the dough. Roll it into a ball and refrigerate while you make the filling.
2. Shred the chicken into a bowl and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Take the peeled and cored apples and fill the cavity in the middle with as much chicken as you can.
3. Roll out 2/3 of the pastry on a lightly floured board into a circle large enough to cover the base and sides of a 9 inch, tall, loose-bottomed cake tin. Lightly grease the tin, then line it with the pastry. Fill with the stuffed apples, placing any extra chicken mixture in the gaps between the apples.
4. Roll out the rest of the pastry to make a lid, place it on top and crimp the edges. Any excess pastry can be made into decorations. Brush the top of the cake with some beaten egg or milk, then bake for about 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

pie with pastry leaves on top sitting on a wooden board with a crumpled linen tablecloth

Medieval Fig Potage

image of medieval style bowl with fig potage, topped with dried figs and raisins

One of the hardest parts of recreating historical recipes is making something when you have no idea what its supposed to be like. It’s less of a problem with more modern recipes which give measurements and clearer instructions, but with medieval and earlier recipes you’re often going in blind. That’s how it was with this early 15th century recipe for fig potage:

Fyge to potage.
Take almondes, and blaunche hom, and grinde hom, and hempur hom up with watur and wyn, and let hit sethe, and take fyges, and cut hom on foure, and hole raisynges, and do therein, and pouder of ginger, and honey, and serve hit forthe. (from MS Arundel 334)

Pottage is an old word meaning soup, stew or porridge. So what consistency should this be?

Other versions of this recipe in other manuscripts, like the late 14th century Forme of Cury, didn’t provide much help:

Take Almaundes blanched, grynde hem and drawe hem up with water and wyne: quarter fygur hole raisouns. cast þerto powdour gyngur and hony clarified. seeþ it wel & salt it, and serue forth.

Often at this stage I would turn to recreations by other food historians and historical re-enactors but unusually I couldn’t find any of this recipe specifically, so I was going it alone and going to have to figure out all the proportions by guessing.

I knew that the ground almonds were supposed to thicken the liquid, but I wasn’t sure how much. In the end, I got a really nice thin porridge consistency when it was warm, but it thickened a lot more and very quickly as it cooled so I wouldn’t cook it for quite so long next time.

The flavour was really good, and it would make an unusual but very easy addition to a medieval meal, especially if you needed a fasting recipe. The dried fruit adds a lot of sweetness, so don’t add too much honey.

The Redaction

1/2 cup ground almonds (I bought ground almonds, but you can also grind blanched almonds in a mortar and pestle)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white wine
~10 dried figs, quartered
1/3 cup raisins
1 tsp honey
Pinch of ground ginger

1. Mix almonds with water and white wine in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, add the dried fruit and cook until it starts to thicken.
2. Stir in the honey and ginger and cook a little longer, until it is the consistency you want.
3. Garnish with some extra diced figs, raisins and/or a sprinkle of ground ginger.


medieval style bowl with fig potage

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