Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Strawberry Pudding

It is strawberry season again and
is the name of this recipe from the English medieval era.  The recipe, as best I can write it with this keyboard, is as follows:

Take strawberys & waysshe hem in tyme of zere in gode red wyne; than strayne thorwe a cloth, & do hem in a potte with gode almaunde mylke.  Alay it with amyndoun other with the flower of rys, & make it chargeaunt, and lat it boyle; and do therein roysonys of courance, safroun, pepir, sugre grete plente, pouder gyngere, canel, galyngale; poynte it with vynegre, & a lytil whyte grece put thereto; colour it with alkenade, & droppe it abowt, plante it with the graynes of pomegarnad, & than serve it forth.

The book this comes from (one of my favorites!) is Pleyn Delit:  Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks  by Hieatt, Hosington, and Butler.  It is recipe #114 (the book has no page numbers).

ISBN 0-8020-7632-7

Here is their modern redaction:

2 - 4 oz ground almonds
1 1/4 cups water
1 pint fresh strawberries
1/4 - 1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons rice flour
1/3 cup sugar
pinch each pepper, ginger, cinnamon, salt
1 tablespoon butter (or lard)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dried currants

First draw up an almond milk with the almonds and the water. **Directions paraphrased from the Preface:  Mix the finely ground almonds with the hot water and let steep for a while.  Strain through a cloth, also squeezing the cloth to get out all the liquid.  Use the liquid in the recipe; the almond meal is good for other recipes. (I used 4 oz of almonds and then cheesecloth for the straining.)  Note that you are trying to get the oils from the almonds into the water, which is why you squeeze it.
The mix is steeping.

This is what was left after straining and squeezing
Hull and pick over the strawberries.  Put in a bowl and pour wine over them.  Mix gently with your hand or a wood or plastic spoon; then pour off and discard the wine.  (This seemed like a waste of good wine!  But I did it anyway and some wine stuck to the strawberries.  I consoled myself with a cup of wine afterwards.)

Blend or process the berries with the rice flour, sugar, spices, and almond milk.

After the blender time

Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; let it boil about 2 minutes to thicken, then remove from heat and stir in first the butter, then the vinegar and currants.

Cooked and noticeably thicker
Pour into a large serving bowl or individual dishes and allow to cool.  Chill before serving.

The Verdict
I will call this a success -- there was nothing I would call a failure at all.  I liked the flavor and how thick it was and that it wasn't too sweet.  The hesitation in my conclusion comes purely from the overall reaction I had to it.  I honestly wanted more strawberry flavor and I think it had too many other flavors mixed in.  That is easy to fix -- I would lighten up on the vinegar and perhaps the spices.  I don't think the butter is important. 

The currants, which normally I enjoy, were a distraction.  Some of that is just me:  I wanted a smooth berry pudding and I got a berry pudding with little bits of chewy currants to work through with each bite.  If (when!) I make this again, I would add chopped strawberries instead of the currants, which would give the bits of chewy but increase the strawberry flavor instead of competing with it.

Overall, I liked it!  It is a different way of eating strawberries and it can be dairy-free as well as gluten-free, if you need that.  It is pretty to look at and has a good flavor.

I made my own almond milk but you can get a premade at the store these days.  I've tried it and thought it was okay enough if you are in a hurry. 

No comments:

Post a Comment