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Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxxv. Vyolette - Violet

.Cxxv. Vyolette
It's that time of year again. In addition to making preserved flowers to be used as decorations for future events, I am once again revisiting violet syrup, which is delicious on ice cream, sugar plate and manus christi. I have also been looking forward to trying to recipes that I found in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 by Thomas Austin featuring violets. You can read more about the violet and it's usage in any of the links above.

Of the two recipes that were tested today, this one was by far the favorite. I would love to serve this at an event one day, but it would definitely have to be a spring time event. I may try my hand at violet jam or violet conserve to see if I might be able to make this heavenly creation later in the year.

I had three taste testers who tested this and it literally was a war of the spoons to see who would get the very last bite. Sweet, creamy with just a hint of violet, it was lovely to look at decorated with the fresh flowers and the light lavender color was very pretty.

.Cxxv. Vyolette.—Take Flourys of Vyolet, boyle hem, presse hem, bray hem smal, temper hem vppe with Almaunde mylke, or gode Cowe Mylke, a-lye it with Amyndoun or Flowre of Rys; take Sugre y-now, an putte þer-to, or hony in defaute; coloure it with þe same þat þe flowrys be on y-peyntid a-boue.

Cxxv - Vyolette. Take Flourys of Vyolet, boyle hem, presse hem, bray hem smal, temper hem vppe with Almaunde mylke, or gode Cowe Mylke, a-lye it with Amyndoun or Flowre of Rys; take Sugre y-now, an putte ther-to, or hony in defaute; coloure it with the same that the flowrys be on y-peyntid a-boue.

125. Violet -
Take flowers of violets, boil them, press them, cut them small, temper them up with almond milk or good cow milk, mix it with amyndoun or rice flour; take sugar enough, and put there-to, or honey in default; color it with the same that the flowers be on painted above.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                  Serves One as a main, Two as a side

1/3 c. fresh violet petals, cleaned and washed
1 c. almond milk or milk
2 tbsp. rice flour
1-2 tbs. sugar or honey depending on taste (I used 2 or sugar)

I did not follow the directions as stated in the period recipe, because I felt that cooking the violets first, then adding the colored water back in would not create a dish that was as pretty. Instead, I put the cleaned petals into the pot with the almond and heated it on low heat approximately ten to 15 minutes. The color leached from the petals into the almond milk and when it reached the desired color, I then added the rice flower and sugar and cooked until it had thickened to the consistency of a custard or pudding. I took it from the stove and let it cool for about five minutes the put it in the bowl and decorated it with the fresh violets.

This recipe is now on my "must serve at feast" list. To date there are very few recipes that I have interpreted that I wouldn't serve again.


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