I've learned a few things over the year: I should put more of myself into the writing, instead of making it a neutral report; many recipes from the past are simple to make and yet surprisingly flavorful; and eggs exposed to too much heat too quickly explode with a startling boom.
I've also learned how much fun it is to plan out the recipes, shop for them, document their production, and then share them with you. I fully expect to continue this blog in 2013 and look forward to exploring the historical food of different eras and different cultures.
Now, on to the recipe. One aspect I like of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling is how the author did her homework -- Latin words really mean what the spell is doing and concepts from history are accurately utilized. But what really put me over the top in my admiration for Ms. Rowling's writing was discovering this Elizabethan recipe for Buttered Beer.
To make Buttered Beere.
1594 The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin
S. Wallace (ed.)
S. Wallace (ed.)
Take three pintes of Beere, put five yolkes of Egges to it, straine them together, and set it in a pewter pot to the fyre, and put to it halfe a pound of Sugar, one penniworth of Nutmegs beaten, one penniworth of Cloues beaten, and a halfepenniworth of Ginger beaten, and when it is all in, take another pewter pot and brewe them together, and set it to the fire againe, and when it is readie to boyle, take it from the fire, and put a dish of sweet butter into it, and brewe them together out of one pot into an other.
3 pints beer
5 egg yolks
½ lb sugar
Mix beer and egg yolks, strain into a pot. Put over the fire and add sugar and spices.
Stir well. Remove before it boils, add butter, stir, and reheat.
My Notes: Medieval eggs were smaller than ours, so either use small eggs or fewer large eggs. Straining allows the chunks of yolk to be removed. Do the spices to taste -- this means you get to taste the mixture a lot while creating it! -- mine ended up reminiscent of a good chai tea.
What you want to avoid is boiling the brew. Just get it hot enough to dissolve the sugar, infuse the spices, and melt the butter. Serve it warm as soon as possible to avoid the beer going completely flat.
The Verdict: Success! This is very good. The beer is one of a variety of flavors and does not dominate. The spices were enough to pique the tastebuds but not overwhelm. The butter adds a lovely mouthfeel to make the whole experience rich and with depth. I recommend it for a winter party beverage!