Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A complex pie

CXII Good Parmesan tart
Parmesan tart for twenty five people.  Take eight pounds of pork loin, twelve fresh cheeses and hard (dried) cheeses, twenty six eggs, half a pound of sweet spices, six chickens and four capons.
Boil the pork loin well and when it is cooked chop it and chop with it a quantity of mint and parsley.  Take six fresh cheeses and twenty four eggs add this to what you have already (the chopped pork) and as much chopped salted lard as is enough, and spices and enough saffron, and make this into a good yellow paste.
Take two fresh cheeses, and egg whites and grin them together and make nine white ravioli with a pasta crust.
Take two fresh cheeses and one hard cheese, mint and parsley and grind them together and make twelve green ravioli.
Take four cheeses and cut them into nice slices across.
Take the chickens, clean them, and from each part of the cleaned chickens make two (see note), and put them to fry in melted strained salted lard, with spices.
Have one (pound) of dates dusted with cinnamon and ginger and cloves
Boil the ravioli in water and when they are cooked take them out and powder with sweet spices.  Layer everything in the pie with a crust above.  And this pie should be yellow and fat with lard and strong with spices.  You can make if for more or less people.  If you make it in a tart pan of copper it needs little heat, and in a terracotta tart pan it will need more heat.
* A complicated tart recipe that is easy to lose track of the different stuffings.  The different paragraphs were introduced to keep track of the various mixtures.  I am not sure if the chickens are bone in or bone out.  The Italian word smembrare can mean to dismember, to gut or to carve.  Hence each chicken may be cut into breast, legs and wings, and then the breast and legs are again cut in two. Alternatively it is only the breast meat that is cut into two, fried and strips of chicken are fried to layer in the pie.  No order is given for the layering of the pie although originally there was probably a set order for the layering of all items.
I by no means tried this pie at "full capacity", there were only 3 of us eating after all :) so I reduced the recipe.

1.Meat paste layer
     1 lb of beef roast
     500gm - 12 tsp schicht cheese
     1 Tbsp ginger
     1 Tbsp cinnamon
     1 tsp clove
     1 tsp nutmeg
     pepper (about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp)
     1/8 cup of mixed herbs (I was out of parsley)
     4 heaping tsp of schmaltz mit krauter
     3 Pinches of saffron threads
     Boil the beef in water until it is tender but not mush. Remove and cool a bit, slice and chop small. Beat in a mortar until fine, adding spices and schmaltz, add cheese and beat to a fine paste.

2.Chicken layer
     1 chicken
     Cut apart the chicken and fry the pieces in a pan. When cooked through remove from the pan and remove meat from the bone and roughly chop.

3.White ravioli
     300 gm cream cheese
     200 gm marscapone
     2 egg white
     1 tsp salt
     Mix all ingredients together.

4.Green ravioli (made by Judith)
     300 gm cream cheese
     200 gm Marscapone
     200 gm Parmesan cheese
     30 5" sprigs of fresh mint + 1/4 c dried mint
     150 gm frozen chopped parsley
     Mix all ingredients together.

5.Hard cheese layer
     200 gm Parmesan cheese

6.450- 500 gm package of dates
     dusted with cinnamon ginger and cloves (cut in half)

Tortellini pasta
     2 cups of flour, about
     3 eggs
     some salt
     enough water to make it malleable. (made by Judith)

1 short crust layer for the top (made by Judith)

Roll the tortellini dough thin but strong, fill them and then cook in salted boiling water.

In our experiment we did not use a bottom crust and I layered the pie as such, starting at the bottom:
Meat paste
Hard cheese

Baked in a 350f (280c) oven until the crust was browned

The meat paste, in the translation it says to be good and yellow, this was not achieved, next time I will grind the saffron to a powder before using it. I did try to draw some of it but that did not help. Cinnamon and ginger also help to yellow things as well, though if it had much more spice I think it would over power the other flavors.

The dates were dusted and then cut in half and placed over the meat layer, It seemed after we tasted the pie that they would do better chopped.
The ravioli were Delicious but the whole wheat flour made them quite thick, they also could have been stuffed more, chilling the cheese mixtures after they are put together would help this. Next time I will use a finer flour for the dough.

Hard cheese is what was called for and you don't get much harder than Parmesan it could be that a softer cheese was needed but it was tasty.

I need to try to find what an approximate weight a "cheese" is as well as what were the varieties used in period.

This is a complex pie that is time consuming, several things can be done to make production faster. The tortellini could be made in advance and frozen or store in a refrigerator for a day. The chicken and the meat past could also be done in advance.

Another discussion point was, how large of  a pie were they making or how many pies where they making? The numbers are divisible but not evenly so the count of "for 25 people" is strange and doesn't help in this case.

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