Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Liij. Rapeye. - Fig, Raisin, Pine Nut and Currant Sauce & .Cxxj. Rapeye. Fig, Raisin, Almond milk and Pear Sauce & .Ciij. Fygeye. - Fig sauce

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Liij. Rapeye - fig and raisin paste with pine nuts and currants

5/31/2021 - Updated to include similar sauce recipe .Cxxj. Rapeye and .Ciij. Fygeye.

Last year I published my interpretation of Cvj. Rapeye of Fleysshe which was a very interesting dish that created a kind of meat "sauce" made from pork, egg yolks, honey and spices. It was good to eat but not pleasant to look at. At the time I had made note of two futher recipes for "rapeye" made with fruit.  Here is my interpretation 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  of the two fruit sauces made with figs.  

The term “rapeye” (pronounced RAP-ee) means a sauce of dried fruits, boiled in wine and spiced.

This is the first recipe that I have come across in my meanderings across this manuscript which specifically calls for "flour of Amidons" to be used as a means of thickening agent. What is Amidon?  Amidon (amydone, amidum, amylum, amydon, amidon, amelunck, amydon, amidum) is starch extracted from wheat which has been soaked for several days in water.  During the soaking process the water is changed out several times. After the soaking period is up, the wheat is pounded into a meal and then allowed to dry in the sun.  The instructions for this method of making wheat starch can also be found in the Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430) as part of the section for Laud MS. 553 (BODLEIAN LIBRARY).

For to make amydon. Nym whete at midsomer / and salt, and do it in a faire vessel / do water therto, that thy whete be yheled / let it stonde ix days and ix ny3t, and eueryeday whess wel thy whete / and at ye ix days ende bray hit wel in a morter / and drie hit to3enst ye sonne / do it in a faire vessel / and kouere hit fort, thou wil it note.
Interpretation: For to make amydon. Take wheat at midsummer/ and salt, and do it in a fair vessel / do water thereto, that the wheat be well covered / let it stand 9 days and 9 nights, and everyday, wash well the wheat / and at the nine days end grind it well in a mortar / and dry it  against the sun / do it in a fair vessel / and cover it forth, you will it not.

.Liij. Rapeye.—Take half Fygys & halfe Roysonys, and boyle hem in Wyne; þan bray hem in a morter, an draw wyth the same lycoure þorw a straynoure so þikke þat it be stondynge; þanne take Roysons of Corauns, Pynys, Clowys, Maces, Sugre of Siprys, an caste þer-to: þan putte it on a potte; þan take Saunderys a fewe, Pepir, Canel, an a litel Safroun; an ȝif it be noȝt stondyng, take a [supplied by ed.] lytil flowre of Amidons, an draw it þorw a straynwoure, an caste þer-to Salt, & serue forth stondyng.

Daniel Myers offers this interpreteation on his website Medieval Cookery:

Liij - Rapeye. Take half Fygys and halfe Roysonys, and boyle hem in Wyne; than bray hem in a morter, an draw wyth the same lycoure thorw a straynoure so thikke that it be stondynge; thanne take Roysons of Corauns, Pynys, Clowys, Maces, Sugre of Siprys, an caste ther-to: than putte it on a potte; than take Saunderys a fewe, Pepir, Canel, an a litel Safroun; an 3if it be no3t stondyng, take a lytil flowre of Amidons, an draw it thorw a straynwoure, an caste ther-to Salt, and serue forth stondyng.

53. Rapeye - Take figs and raisins and boil them in wine; then pound them in a mortar, and draw with the same liquor through a strainer so thick that it be standing; then take currants, pine nuts, cloves, mace, sugar, and caste there-to: then put it on a pot; then take sandalwood a few, pepper, cinnamon, and a little saffron; and if it be not standing, take a starch (flowre of Amidons - most likely wheat), and draw it through a strainer, and caste there-to salt, and serve forth standing.

Interpreted Recipe

1/2 cup dried figs, diced small
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup wine
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 tsp. each ground clove and mace
1/2 cup sugar
pinch each of saffron and sandalwood
1/4 tsp. or more pepper and cinnamon (to taste)

This was very simple to make.  I cleaned and cut the figs into small dice, and placed them and the raisins into a sauce pan. As the figs and the raisins cooked the wine thickened into syrup.  Once the raisins had plumped up and the figs began to fall apart I put them into the blender and pureed them (thank you kitchen Gods!).  I attempted to strain through a strainer, I really, did, and all I did was end up with a mess....so this will be one of the very few times I will say...don't do it.  My guess is that our modern blender has the ability to make a much smoother paste then its medieval counterpart.  Save yourself extra dishes and just pour the sauce into the pan.  Add the spices, sugar, currants and pine nuts to the sauce and cook until it becomes thick. 

Unfortunately, despite the fact that I did mention to the house mates that there was an item sitting in the stove, one of them preheated the oven to 400 degree's with the rapeye in it.  This resulted in the thick sauce drying out a bit more then intended. Instead of having a spoonable treat, I have something that I can cut into squares and serve like fudge.  This is delicious!! The taste testers and I have been pecking away at it.  I highly recommend that it find its way into your bag of tricks.  I imagine it would make a terrific sauce if kept thin to go with a roast.  I know it was very good hot, and when allowed to cool to room temperature was equally delicious. If you dry it to a paste, it would make a very welcome candy.

.Cxxj. Rapeye.—Take Fygys & Roysonys, & grynd hem in a Mortere, & tempere hem vppe with Almaunde Mylke, & draw hem þorw a cloþe; þen take gode Spycys, & caste þer-to; take Perys, seþe hem & pare hem, & do a-way þe core, & bray hem in a mortere, & caste to þe oþer; take gode Wyne, & Blake Sugre or Hony, & caste þer-to a lytil, & let it boyle in fere; & whan þow dressyst yn, take Maces & Clowes, Quybibys & Graynys, & caste a-boue.

121 Rapeye - Take figs and raisins, and grind them in a mortar, and temper them up with almond milk, and draw them through a cloth; then take good spices, and cast there-to, take pears, cook them and pare them, and do away the core, and grind them in a mortar, and caste to the other, take good wine, and black sugar or honey, and cast thereto a little, and let it boil in fair; and when you dress in, take mace, and cloves, cubebs and grains of paradise and cast above.

Interpreted Recipe

1/2 cup dried figs, diced small
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup almond milk
1 small pear cut and diced
1/4 cup wine
1/2 cup sugar or honey to taste
1/4 tsp. each ground clove, mace, cubeb and grains of paradise (or pepper and ginger)

Prepare as above.

.Ciij. Fygeye.—Take Fygys, an sethe hem tylle þey ben neysshe, þan bray hem tylle þey ben smal; þenne take hem vppe an putte hem in a potte, & Ale þer-to; þan take Bred y-gratyd, an Pyneȝ hole, & caste þer-to, & let boyle wyl; & atte þe dressoure, caste on pouder Canel y-now, & serue forth: & ȝif þow wolt colour yt in .iij. maners, þou myȝt, with Saunderys, Safroun, & of hym-self, and ley on pouder y-now, & serue forth.

103. Figeye - Take figs, and boil them till they be soft, then grind them til they be small; then take them up and put them in a pot, and ale there-to; then take bread grated, pinenuts whole, and caste thereto, and let boil while; and at the dresser, cast on powder of cinnamon enough, and serve forth: and if you would color it in three manners, you may, with saunders, saffron, and of himself, and lay on powder enough, and serve forth. 

Interpreted Recipe

1/2 cup dried figs, diced small
1/4 cup ale
1- tbsp. or to taste bread crumbs
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch each of saffron and sandalwood

Prepare as above.

Similar Recipes

Forme of Cury
(England, 1390)

Rape. XX.IIII. III. Take half fyges and half raisouns pike hem and waisshe hem in water skalde hem in wyne. bray hem in a morter, and drawe hem thurgh a straynour. cast hem in a pot and þerwiþ powdour of peper and ooþer good powdours. alay it up with flour of Rys. and colour it with saundres. salt it. & messe it forth.

Liber cure cocorum [Sloane MS 1986] (England, 1430)

For to make a rape. Take raysyns of corauns þerto, And wyte wynne þou take also. Sethe þenne oþer raysyns grete In rede wyne, and boyle a lytul with hete. Do opon a broche, rost hom bydene A lytel, and take hom fayre and clene And bray hom in a morter smalle, A crust of brede þou bray with alle. Put alle in þe pot with grythe, Þo raysyns of corauns, þo swete wyne with, A lytul vengur, and pouder take þo Of clowes, maces and quibibis to. Boyle alle to geder, and serve hit þenne, And sett hit forthe before goode men.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak rape, tak raissins of corans and other raissins and sethe them with wyne and boile them a litille then rost them on a spit and tak it of and bray it in a mortair with crustes of bred and put them in a possuet put ther to raissins swet wyne venygar poudur of peppur clowes maces pynesquibibes and boile them and serue them.