Stuart Gingerbread Moulds

Stuart Gingerbread Moulds


Early modern gingerbread is extremely different to modern gingerbread biscuits. It is made from finely grated white bread mixed with lots of honey. (There is also another early modern incarnation of gingerbread made of a mix of ginger, sugar, water, and almonds left to dry). If you have a mould and some edible glitter, you can make it look nice (see e.g. The addition of sandalwood essence (for the sandalwood bark – ‘saunders’ – used by Hannah Woolley) is good, if you can find any – sandalwood essential oil is edible.



2 cups honey

3 cups finely grated breadcrumbs

1 cup red wine

4 tsp ginger

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp pepper

pinch of aniseed

couple of drops of sandalwood essence (optional)

flour or ground almonds to thicken as needed



Heat up the honey and stir in all the other ingredients. If it doesn’t make a thick paste as it is, add some flour or ground almonds. Leave to cool slightly, then bake in the oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Small pieces

Small pieces


Main recipes we used:

To make Ginger-bread.

Take a quart of Honey, and set it on the coals and refine it, then take Ginger, Pepper, and Licorise of each a penny-worth, a quarter of a pound of Anniseeds and a penny-worth of Saunders; beat all these and searce them, and put them into the Honey, add a quarter of a pint of Claret-Wine, or old Ale, then take three penny Maunchets finely grated, and strew it amongst the rest, and stir it till it come to a stiff paste, make them into Cakes and dry them gently (Hannah Woolley)

To make fine Gingerbread:

Take three stale Manchets, grate them, dry them, and beat them; then sifSingle illegible letter them thorow a fine sieve; then put to them one ounce of Ginger beaten and searced fine, as much Cinnamon, half an ounce of Aniseeds, and half an ounce of Liquorice, half a pound of sugar; boyll all these together with a quart of Claret Wine till it come to a stiffe paste; then mould it on a Table with a little Flower, and roul it very thin, and print it in moulds; dust your moulds with some of your powdered spices. (Hannah Woolley, Rare Receipts for cookery , 167o)

To make drie Gingerbread.

Take halfe a pound of almonds and as much grated cake, and a pounde of fine sugar, and the yolke of two newe laid egges, the iuyce of a Lemmon, and 2 graines of muske, beate all these together till they come to a paste, then print it with your molds, and so dry it vpon papers in an ouen after your bread is drawne. (Sir Hugh Plat, Delights for Ladies, 1602)


Artichoke Pie

He couldn't be prouder of her for finding an artichoke

He couldn’t be prouder of her for finding an artichoke

We didn’t make very much of this because we thought a sweet artichoke pie would taste weird. How wrong we were. This is one of the most delicious things we have ever made.

Makes a small pie: 2 big slices


For the filling

Pastry (home made or we used ready-made puff pastry)

1 artichoke

1 lemon

handful of dates

1-2 tsp ginger

1-2 tsp cinnamon

For the sauce:

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup sugar

juice of 1 lemon

50g melted butter

How to make it

Cut off and discard the top and bottom off the artichoke. Remove and discard the tough outer leaves. Put the artichoke in a pot of water with some sliced lemon, bring to the boil and then simmer until the artichoke is soft and the leaves come away easily (roughly 30 mins). Grease a small ovenproof dish and line it with pastry, leaving some pastry aside to make a lid for the pie. Scrape and cut all the soft bits of the artichoke from the stem and the bottom of the leaves and season them with ginger and cinnamon. Place the artichoke in the pastry along with chopped dates. Whisk the sauce ingredients together, adjusting quantities of lemon/wine/sugar if you need to so that it tastes sweet but also tart. Pour half the sauce into the pastry case so the date and artichoke filling is covered. Use the rest of the pastry to make a lid for the pie. Cut some big slits in the lid and pour the rest of the sauce over to fill up the pie and make a glaze. Bake in the oven until the pastry starts to go golden brown.

ingredients for artichoke pie

ingredients for artichoke pie

pie filling

pie filling

ready to go in the oven

ready to go in the oven

artichoke pie

artichoke pie

Así termina
en paz
esta carrera
del vegetal armado
que se llama alcachofa,

(‘Thus ends in peace the career of the armoured vegetable called Artichoke’)

– Pablo Neruda: Ode to the Artichoke/Oda a la Alcachofa

Main Recipes we used:

William Rabisha, The Whole Body of Cookery (1661): BOyl the bottoms of about eight or ten Artichokes, scrape them, and make them clean from the core; season them with Cinamon, Sugar, Nutmeg, Salt, with a little small Pepper; take the Marrow of four Ox-bones, seasoned with the like seasoning, (except Pepper) lay your Arti|chokes in the Coffin prepared, then lay your Marrow all over them, being wrapt up in the yolk of an egg, and grated bread, that it may not melt; you may also boyl the stalks of your Artichokes (near the bottoms) and season the pith thereof, as aforesaid, cutting them about three inches long, and put them in with your Marrow, and put amongst it quartered Dates, sliced Lemmon, and large Mace, so put on Butter and close your Pie; let your lear be White-wine, and Sack, with a little Sugar, beaten up with the yolk of an egg and drawn Butter; when it is enough, put it in at the funnel, shake it together, scrape on Sugar, and garnish it, and send it up.

Hannah Woolley, The Compleat Servant Maid (1677): Take the Bottom of six Artichokes, and boyl them very tender, put them in a dish and some vinegar over them, season them with Ginger and Sugar, a little Mace whole and put them in a Coffin of Paste, when you lay them in, lay some marrow and dates sliced, and a few Raisins of the Sun in the bottom with good store of Butter, when it is half baked take a Gil of Sack being boyl’d first with the Sugar and a peel of Orange, put it into the Pye and set it into the Oven again till you use it.

Hannah Woolley, The Queen Like Closet (1670):  Make your Paste…and roule it thin, and lay it into your baking-pan. Then lay in butter sliced thin, and then your bottoms of Artichokes tenderly boil|ed, season it with a little salt, a little gross Pepper, and some sliced Nutmeg, with a blade or two of Mace and a little Sugar, then lay in some Marrow, Candied Orange and Citron Pill, with some Candied Eringo Roots; then cover it with butter, and close it with your Paste, and so bake it, then cut it up, and put in white wine, butter, and the yolks of Eggs and sugar, cover it again, and serve it to the Table.

M.B., The Ladies Cabinet Enlarg’d (1664): Boil your Artichokes, take off all their leaves, pul out all the strings, leaving only the bot|tomes; then season them with Cinnamon and sugar, laying between every Artichoke a good piece of butter; when you put your Pie into the oven, stick the Artichokes with slices of Dates, and put a quarter of a pint of white wine into the Pie, and when you take it out of the oven, do the like again, with some but|ter, sugar and Rosewater, melting the butter upon some coals before you put it into the Pie.

Thomas Tryon, The Way to Save Wealth (1695): Take Artichokes and cut away the green Leafs from the bottom, till the Bones look white, then boil the bottoms as much as if they were to be eaten; take out the Core, and season the Bottoms, (being cut in four parts, as you did the Potatoes) put all things into that Pye [some Dates cut in half, a little Mace, some Barberries, or Grapes, or Lemons, some Citron-Suckets; then put in half a pound of Butter, and close it, and bake it.]

Renaissance French Toast

“I went to a restaurant that serves ‘breakfast at any time’. So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance.”

– Steven Wright

Pain perdu (lost bread) or fryed toast was made from stale or wasted (lost) bread. Recipes often call for ‘manchet’, fine, white bread. The recipe can be found in some Roman cookbooks. The earliest English recipe for French Toast comes from an anoymous 15th century cookbook. However, in the seventeenth century, the genius William Rabisha makes the crucial addition of strong alcohol.


4 shots of brandy or sherry,

4-6 slices white bread,

3 tsp cinnamon

3 tsp nutmeg

pinch of salt

6 egg yolks

100g butter for frying

For the topping


or 1/3 glass rosewater and 6 tbsp sugar


Beat the egg yolks with the salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cut the crusts off the bread and dip it in sherry/brandy, first one side then the other. Let them wait on a plate a bit after dipping each side so they dry out a bit and don’t get too soggy. Dip the bread in the egg mixture so it is covered. Heat up the butter in a frying pan, and fry the bread, turning it once, until it is brown on both sides. It is best to let the bread soak up lots of butter and also get a bit crispy. Drizzle with rosewater-and-sugar, or honey (and extra butter if you want).

Ingredients for French Toast

Ingredients for French Toast

Bread dipped in brandy, and egg mix

Bread dipped in brandy, and egg mix

French toast

French toast

French Toast frying

French Toast frying

Rosewater and brown sugar

Rosewater and brown sugar

Early Modern French Toast

Early Modern French Toast

Inspired by various early modern recipes, but mainly

Take faire yolkes of eyren, and try hem from the white, and drawe hem thorgh a streynour; and then take salte, and caste thereto; and then take manged brede or paynman, and kutte hit in leches; and then take faire butter, and clarefy hit or elles take fressh grece and put hit yn a faire pan and make hit hote; And then wete the brede well there in the yolkes of eyren, and then ley hit on the batur in the pan, whan the buttur is al hote; and then whan it is fried ynowe, take sugur ynowe, and caste there-to whan hit it in the dissh. And so serve hit forth (Anon, titleless cookbook from 1430)

For Friday, to make a dish of fryed toasts.

Take a stale two penny loaf or two, and cut them in round slices throughout the loaf, soak them in Sack and strong Ale on the one side, then dry them on a pye|plate on that side, do so to the other side, then take the yolks of a dozen eggs beaten, seasoned with Nutmeg and Cinamon, dip your toasts therein, your pan being hot with clarified Butter, put them in and fry them brown on both sides, and dish them up, and pour on them Butter, Rose|water, and Sack drawn together, so scrape on Sugar (William Rabisha, The Whole Body of Cookery, 1661)

Rabisha's recipe

Rabisha’s recipe

Stewed plums

‘yes, yes, you deserve Sugar Plums’ – John Dryden

Early modern plum marmalade was often more of a dessert, eaten by itself. Another nice early modern thing you can make with plums is ‘quiddony’ or ‘quidoniacke’ which is more like jelly. This dessert tastes like a mix of pie filling, stewed fruit, and marmalet. Who knows how authentic it is, but it is the most delicious thing we have made so far. We promise that the next dish will be a highly authentic one (Tudor French Toast).

Ingredients Stewed plums

Plums cooking in rosewater

Plums cooking in rosewater


punnet of plums


1/3 amount of sugar as you have plums

2 tsp cinnamon

2tsp ginger

small glass of red wine

edible gold dust (optional)

To Make it:

Peel and slice the plums. Cover them in rosewater and boil. When they are getting soft, strain then, bash them with a spoon a bit, add sugar, wine, cinnamon, and ginger, and cook until the sauce is kind of sticky. Add some edible gold.

Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswife’s Iewell (1587)

You must boile your fruite, whether it be apple, cherie, peach, damson, peare, Mulberie, or codling, in faire water, and when they be boyled inough, put them into a bowle, and bruse them with a ladle, and when they be cold, straine them, and put in red wine or claret wine, and so season it with suger, sinamom and ginger.


WM, The Queen’s Closet Opened (1659) – ‘To Make a Marmalet of Any Tender Plum’

Take your Plums, and boil them between two dishes on a Chafing-dish of coals, then strain it, and take as much Sugar as the Pulp do weigh, and put to it as much Rose-water, and fair water as will melt it, that is, half a pint of water to a pound of Sugar, and so boil it to a Candy height, then put the pulp into hot Sugar, with the pap of a roasted apple. In like manner you must put roasted Apples to make Paste Royal of it, or else it will be tough in the drying.)


‘I was so blinded with sack posset I could not see my deliverers’ – Edward Ravenscroft

Ingredients for posset

Ingredients for posset

Serves 4 (in small cups), 2 (in mugs)


1 glass single cream

1 glass rosewater

1/2 glass ale

1/2 glass sherry

1/2 glass brandy

4 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

2 tbsp chopped angelica (fresh or candied)

4 egg yolks, beaten

(optional) 1 sponge finger per person

Posset boiling

Posset boiling


Boil all of the ingredients except the sponge fingers together for 2 minutes, whisking well with a fork, and pour into cups. Grate a sponge finger into your cup if you like.


The blue cup has grated biscuit in, the yellow one has none

Recipe mainly inspired by these (substituting angelica for musk / ambergris, sponge fingers for ‘naples biscuits’ and allspice because we couldn’t find any mace):

Anon, ‘A Book of Cookrye very necessary for all such as delight therin’

Take a posnet full of creame and séethe it and put Suger and Sinamon in it, then take halfe Ale and halfe Sacke and put Suger and Sinamon in it.

‘The Accomplisht Ladies Delight’ [1675, copied from the earlier works of Hannah Woolley]:

Set a Gallon of Milk on the Fire, with whole Cinamon and large Mace, when it boyls stir in a half, or whole pound of Naples-bisket grated very small, keeping it stirring till it boyls, then beat eight Eggs together, casting of the whites away; beat them well with a Ladle-ful of Milk, then take the Milk off the fire, and stir in the Eggs; then put it on again, but keep it stirring for fear of curdling; then make ready a pint of Sack, warming it upon the coals, with a little Rose-water, season your Milk with sugar, and pour it into the Sack in a large bason, and stir it a pace, then throw on a good deal of beaten Cinamon, and so serve it up.

William Rabisha, ‘The Whole Body of Cookery’ (1661), ‘To Make a Posset the Best Way’:

Set a gallon of milk on the fire, put therein a grain of Musk, whole Cinamon and large Mace; when it boyls, stir in half a pound of Naple-Bisket grated, keeping of it stirring while it boyls; then beat eight eggs together, casting four of the whites away; beat them well with a ladleful of milk or two amongst them; take off the fire the aforesaid milk, and stir in your eggs; put it on the fire again (but keep it stirring for fear it curdles) having almost a pinte of sack in your Bason (upon the coals, with a spoonful of Rose-water) your milk being seasoned with sugar, and taken off the fire· pour it into your said sack, stirring of it apace; while it is so pouring forth, take out your grain of Musk, so throw thereon beaten Cinamon, and send it up.

Kenelm Digby, ‘The Closet’ (1669):

Take a pottle of Cream, and boil in it a little whole Cinnamon, and three or four flakes of Mace. To this proportion of Cream put in eighteen yolks of eggs, and eight of the whites; a pint of Sack; beat your eggs very well, and then mingle them with your Sack. Put in three quarters of a pound of Sugar into the Wine and Eggs, with a Nutmeg grated, and a little beaten Cinnamon; set the Bason on the fire with the Wine and Eggs, and let it be hot. Then put in the Cream boiling from the fire, pour it on high, but stir it not; cover it with a dish, and when it is settlede, strew on the top a little fine Sugar mingled with three grains of Ambergreece, and one grain of Musk, and serve it up.

Next up: Tansy Cake

Apple Fritters

fritters, tansy, and posset

Makes around 24 smallish fritters – serves 4


1 large wineglass of warmed hoppy ale

1 and a half large wineglasses of flour

1 tsp yeast

2 egg whites

6 egg yolks

splash of cream

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

shot of brandy

pinch of salt

6 apples

To fry: vegetable oil

To sprinkle: sugar


Whisk all the ingredients except the apples together with a fork and leave in a warm place for 30-60 minutes. Slice the apples thin, coat them in batter, and fry them in boiling vegetable oil for 10-20 seconds on each side till they’re cooked but not too crispy (‘if your batter be too thin, it will drink suet; if it be in good temper it will swim’, advises Hannah Woolley). Sprinkle them with sugar and eat.

photo (3)

‘in good temper’ – a bit runnier than custard



photo (2) photo

Recipe created from the best bits of various sixteenth and seventeenth century recipes, but mainly:

Elizabeth Grey, Countess of Kent (1653):

Make your batter with Ale, and Eggs, and Ye[a]st, season it with Milk, Cloves, Mace, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Salt, cut your Apples like Beanes, then put your Apples and Batter together, fry them in boyling Lard, strew on Sugar and serve them’

Hannah Woolley (1664):

‘Take the curd of a sack posset, the yolk of six eggs, the whites of two eggs, and a little fine flower, put in a little nutmeg and some ale, and a little salt, mingle them well together, then slice in some apples very thin, and so fry them in lard boiling hot; if your batter be too thin, it will drink suet’ if it be in good temper it will swim’

Next… posset, and tansy cake