Harleain MS 279 (ab. 1430) - xlviij. Tayloures & Cxiiij. Tayleȝ - Rice Porridge with Currants & Dates or Figs, Dates and Raisins + Bonus Recipes for Poudre Douce (Sweet Powder)

Tayleȝ with Spiced Apples and Walnuts

I was very eager to try out this recipe from 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" for Tayloures, which is another pottage based on the almond milk and rice flour base.  Previously published interpretations which contain this base include; Cxxxvj. A potage of Roysons (Rice Porridge with Apples and Raisins), .Ixxxv. Gaylede (Rice Porridge with Figs & Honey), .Cxxv. Vyolette - Violet. and .lxviij. Bruet of Almaynne in lente (Rice Porridge with Dates)

The taste testers and I had an interesting conversation about where in a feast you would find dishes like these served.  The consensus is that for the modern day pallet you serve them at breakfast--barring that, they should most likely be served either as a sweet side dish as part of a course, or at the end of the meal for a warm pudding. I believe in period these dishes would have been served in first course for dietetic reasons.  

I have combined two similar sets of instructions into this post which was first published in 2017.  The second dish, Tayley (Taylez) differs from the first only in the fruits used, and the addition of vinegar and honey added to the dish.  I chose to make the sauce seperately, adding the dates and the raisins to it.  You will note that the sauce appears very dark.  I was gifted autumn honey from a friend, and this particular honey is very dark and flavorful. 

These two dishes do not disappoint. They differ differs from the other pottages with the use of the wine, the fruits used and the spicing. Some things to note; the interchange of bread with rice as a thickener in the first recipe, and the usage of honey versus sugar in the second.  This led to a discussion on the preogative of the cook; Is it ok to follow the example of these recipes and add additional spices or exchange out the thickeners used when reconstructing recipes in period?  We concluded that what we were using today was a set of instructions most likely written by someone watching the cook prepare the food, and listening to what the cook said, but who may have only seen it prepared the one time.  Therefore, it is likely that just as modern day cooks will substitute one item for another, the medieval cook most likely did the same. In a situation where using a wheat based thickener is not idea, the use of eggs or rice would be appropriate.  Likewise for the use of seasoning or other items.  We also noted that in this particular manuscript several sets of instructions (like these two) may differ by one or two items, for example the addition of wine, the protein used, or  in this case the fruit and spicing differ. 

The last bit of discussion we had, while finishing off our "brunch" was the feasibility of creating dishes like this for camping events, specifically for a camp breakfast. It was noted that with the exception of almond milk, all of the ingredients are dried and easily portable.  It would be quite feasible to make almond milk on site, eliminating the need to keep a dairy product that would easily spoil around.  Further, it was noted that the cereal itself continued to thicken as it cooled.  Had there been *any* left over, I would have liked to have know if it would be possible to cool it, slice it and fry it up similar to mush.  With the ingredients used, refridgeration would not be a requirement right away.  

What would you do with the almond meal once the milk was made? With a can of pie filling, or fresh fruit of your choice, you could make a quick crumbly topping for a camp pie.  Simply mix 1/4 cup of the (used) almond flour with 1 cup dry oats, a teaspoon or more of your spices, up to a1/4 cup honey and add the juice of half an orange. Yum! Breakfast and desert done with creative use of portable items that do not require a cooler ;-)

xlviij. Tayloures. — Take a gode mylke of Almaundys y-draw with Wyne an Water, an caste hym in-to a potte, and caste gret Roysouns of corauns, Also mencyd Datys, Clowes, Maces, Pouder Pepir, Canel, Safroun, & a gode dele Salt, & let boyle a whyle; þan take it and ly*. [Lye; allay.] it wyth Flowre of Rys, or ellys with Brede y-gratyd, & caste þer-to Sugre, & serue forth lyke Mortrewys, & caste pouder of Gyngere a-boue y-now.

48. Taylours - Take good milk of almonds drawn with wine and water, and caste them in a pot, and caste great raisins of corauns (currents). Also minced dates, cloves, maces, powder pepper, cinnamon, saffron and a good deal of salt, and let boil awhile; Than take it and lie it with flour of rice, or else with bread grated and caste there-to sugar, and serve forth like mortrews, and cast powder of ginger above enough.

Interpreted Recipe

3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup wine (I used red wine)
1 tbsp currants (or raisins)
2 dates chopped as small as currants (or raisins)
2 cloves
1/8 tsp. each mace, pepper, cinnamon (or to taste)
pinch of saffron
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp. rice flour or bread crumbs
1 tbsp or to taste sugar (or to taste)
Pinch of ginger

I used commercially prepared almond milk and added white wine to it because I wanted to keep the pottage as white as possible.  I much prefer the taste of homemade almond milk to the commercially prepared almond, and a easy recipe using almond flour can be found here: Quick Homemade Almond Milk. I heated the almond milk with the currants and the raisins and added the spices, a pinch of saffron and sugar to it.  Once it had obtained the color I wanted, I added the rice flour and stirred till it was thick.  Before serving I sprinkled the dish with a pinch of ginger and a pinch of currants.

.Cxiiij. Tayleȝ.—Take a chargeaunt Mylke of Almaundys, an draw with wyne caste in to þe potte [deleted in MS]; take Fygys & Roysonys a gode porcyon, to make it chargeaunt, waysshe hem clene, & caste hem on a morter, grynd hem as small as þou myȝt, temper hem vppe with þin*. [Thine. ] Mylke, draw hem þorw a straynoure, also chargeauntly as þou myȝth; caste it in a clene potte, do it to þe fyre; take Datys y-taylid a-long, & do þer-to; take Flowre of Rys, & draw it þorw a straynoure, and caste þer-to, & lat it boyle tylle it be chargeaunt; sette it on þe fyre; take pouder Gyngere & Canelle, Galyngale; temper with Vynegre, & caste þer-to Sugre, or hony; caste þer-to, sesyn it vppe with Salt, & serue forth.

114. Tayles - Take thick milk of almonds, and draw with wine, caste in to the pot; take figs & raisins a good portion, to make it thick, wash them clean and caste them on a morter, grind them as small as you might, temper them up with your milk, draw them through a strainer, also thick as you might; cast it in a clean pot, do it to the fire; take dates, sliced long, and do there-to; take flour of rice, and draw it through a strainer, and caste there-to, and let it boil till it be thick; set it on the fire; take powder ginger and cinnamon, galingale; temper with vinegar, and caste there-to sugar or honey; cast there-to, season it up with salt, and serve forth. 

Interpreted Recipe

3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup wine 
2 figs
1 tbsp raisins
2 dates sliced long ways
2-3 tbsp. rice flour
1/2 to 1 tsp. powder douce 
1 tbsp. vinegar (I used Apple Cider)
2 tbsp. honey
salt to taste

Prepare as above.  You can serve the spiced syrup separate, or add it to the cereal mixture.  In the picture I made the wine and honey mixtures a syrup and poured over the top.  

Both of these dishes had very balanced flavors, while similar in ingredients and preperation each was different from the other.  

Similar Recipes

Le Viandier de Taillevent (France, ca. 1380 - James Prescott, trans.)

Lenten slices. Take peeled almonds, crush very well in a mortar, steep in water boiled and cooled to lukewarm, strain through cheesecloth, and boil your almondmilk on a few coals for an instant or two. Take some cooked hot water pastries a day or two old and cut them into bits as small as large dice. Take figs, dates and Digne raisins, and slice the figs and dates like the hot water pastries. Throw everything into it, leave it to thicken like Frumenty, and boil some sugar with it. To give it colour, have some saffron for colouring it like Frumenty. It should be gently salted.

Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany (England, 1460)

Tayle. Take a lytyll milke of almonds drawyn up with wyn & do hit in a pott do ther to figes reysens & datys cut and sygure & good pondys boyle hit up colour hit with safron & messe hit forth.

Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany (Beinecke MS 163) (England, 1460)

Tayle. Take a lytyll milke of almonds drawyn up with wyn & do hit in a pott do ther to figes reysens & datys cut and sygure & good pondys boyle hit up colour hit with safron & messe hit forth.

Bonus Recipe (s) 

DUKE'S POWDER - POLVORA DE DUQUE - Libre del Coch, 1529 

Half an ounce of cinnamon, one eighth of cloves, and for the lords cast in nothing but cinnamon, and a pound of sugar; if you wish to make it sharp in flavor and [good] for afflictions of the stomach, cast in a little ginger.

And the weights of the spices in the apothecary shops are in this manner: one pound is twelve ounces, one ounce, eight drachms; one drachm, three scruples; another way that you can more clearly understand this: a drachm weighs three dineros, a scruple is the weight of one dinero, and a scruple is twenty grains of wheat.


The Libre del Coch has a second recipe for this spice mix, De altra polvora de duch, which contains 2 oz. ginger, 1/2 drachm galingale, 1 oz. cinnamon, 1 oz. long pepper, 1 oz. grains of paradise, 1 oz. nutmeg, 1/4 oz. fine sugar. 

The Libre de Sent Sovi gives yet another recipe: 1 pound sugar; 1/2 oz. cinnamon; 3/4 oz. ginger; 1/4 oz. total of cloves, nutmeg, galingale, and cardamon.

Duke's Powder

Cinnamon half an ounce --1 tbsp.
Cloves half a quarter (1/8th of an ounce) --3/4 tsp.
Sugar a pound -- (based on the 12 ounce pound) 1 1/2 cups
Ginger - a little --1 tbsp.

This mixture of spices, while not completely white, yields a very light tan powder. This is the mixture that I have used in my interpretation for Bolas and is pictured as the powder filling the dates.

Note: A dry ounce is equal to two tablespoons, or 1/8th of a cup.

Previously published: January 02, 2017

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