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 two 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.
.lxxxxj. Vyolette.—Nym Almaunde Mylke, an flowre of Rys, and pouder Gyngere, Galyngale, Pepir, Datis, Fygys, & Rasonys y-corven, an coloure it with Safroun, an boyle it & make it chargeaunt; an whan þou dressyste, take þe flowres, an hew hem, an styre it þer-with; nyme þe braunchys with þe flowres, an sette a-boue and serue it Forth.
lxxxxj - Vyolette. Nym Almaunde Mylke, an flowre of Rys, and pouder Gyngere, Galyngale, Pepir, Datis, Fygys, and Rasonys y-corven, an coloure it with Safroun, an boyle it and make it chargeaunt; an whan thou dressyste, take the flowres, an hew hem, an styre it ther-with; nyme the braunchys with the flowres, an sette a-boue and serue it Forth.
91. Violet -take almond milk, and flower of rice, and powder ginger, galingale, pepper, dates, figs and raisons cut, and color it with saffron, and boil it and make it thick. And when you dress it, take the flowers and cut them, and stir it there-with; cut the branches with the flowers and set above and serve forth.
Of the two recipes tested today, this was the least favorite. All of the taste testers agreed that it was good and that they would eat it again if it were served again. However, unlike the recipe for .Cxxv. Vyolette., which I have been requested to make again on a regular basis, this was considered good for the purpose of a reenactment event.
The dish was very pretty, the broth being yellow with saffron, ginger and galangal, the purple of the violets was made all the more vibrant when laid against it. This was a very filling dish, the raisins, dates and figs in the broth of almond milk thickened with rice flour was very pleasant when you ate it. I was reminded of more of a warmed breakfast cereal, like cream of wheat or oatmeal porridge then the more desert like Cxxv. Vyolette.
Interpreted Recipe Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side
1c. almond milk
2 tbsp. rice flour
1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
1/8 tsp. galingale and pepper
3 dates minced
3 figs minced
1/4 c. raisins
Pinch of saffron
Violets to decorate
Warm the almond milk with the saffron on low heat until the almond takes on a yellow hue, add ginger, galingale, pepper, dates, figs and raisins and cook for approximately five minutes or until the fruit has become plumped. Add the rice flour and stir constantly until the broth has thickened. Allow the pudding to cool for approximately three to five minutes before adding the fresh violet flowers. Enjoy! I would taste for sweetness and add sugar to taste.