Eating Medieval: Medlar Tart
My blog is updated less frequently these days as I've been deep in research, editing, and re-writing, in addition to a heavier-than-normal teaching schedule, a major home repair, and a cross-country trip for my daughter's college graduation. But yes, Book Three of the Blue Bells Chronicles--The Water is Wide--is on its way. In the course of editing, two new characters have been added, and that has required a lot of changes throughout the book. I'm very happy with those changes, and hope the evil Simon Beaumont, and the farrier boy found in the ruins of an ancient Roman fort, Red, who doesn't have a name, will be well worth the wait. I'm having fun with them.
Today, please welcome back Kathy Opie, friend and author. Kathy writes about caregiving. Her blog also features cooking and recipes. We team up on a somewhat (ir?)regular basis to present Eating Medieval, in which I send recipes from my sources, and Kathy tracks down authentic ingredients and prepares and writes about the results. Today, we present Medlar Tart:
“Now will he sit under a medlar tree,
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.
O Romeo, that she were,
O that she were An open-arse and thou a poperin pear! “
- Romeo and Juliet
There is a sexual reference to the medlar fruit that dates back to Medieval times, you can infer that from this quote and also from looking upon the medlar fruit itself. It looks like a large brownish green blueberry. I also wanted to make a medieval dish to share with my friend Laura who has a medieval blog. Hers is about writing and time-travel. I like to cook and learn a little bit of history.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this dish quite delicious. I texted Laura who was quite excited about the whole process:
Laura-”Are you using Medieval timing methods?”
“I don’t own a hearth but I am not using a timer going by sight and smell.”
Laura-”I read some time ago that they time them by saying Hail Mary’s.”
But upon eating this dish I had to report to Laura: “Tis delicious apply and nutty and even Paul tried it.”
The medlar fruit that I chopped and mixed with a little bit of sugar, butter, honey and cinnamon had a surprisingly delicious nutty, cross between an apple and pear taste but with a deeper richer flavor. It blended quite well with the pastry crust that I had baked it in.
I only had enough fruit for one small tart. I thank my friend Diane for providing me with this rare fruit that normally grows in British Columbia and England. I was able to chop up enough fruit for one small tart.
Ingredients for pastry
1/2 cup of flour
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
3 tablespoons of butter
1/8 cup of cold water
Mix together cut butter into the flour mixture and add ice cold water. Press into the bottom of a small greased baking dish
6 ripe medlar fruit peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1-2 teaspoons of honey
sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of water
mix fruit and above ingredients together, sprinkle over the top of the pastry and bake in the oven that has been preheated to 400F for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!
If you enjoy the Eating Medieval pieces, please check out these others:
Nutty (Spiced Chestnut Cream)