Otherwise known as Tarts of why-the-heck-did-I-trust-the-redaction. One day I will learn this lesson.
Recipe from A Brief Overview of Early Spanish Cuisine (Vol. 6, The Feudal Gourmet).
Chap 83 On a pie of dry apricot or peach halves
A large & good pie of dry apricots, bring a pound of them, those which are washed with hot water, & after they are well washed, cast them in a pot, with a pound of sugar; leave a little for on top & cast to them white wine, & cinnamon, & season it, & set it on the fire; be sure that it does not burn, because they are delicate, & being conserved, remove them & put them in the pie, & cast to them sugar & cinnamon on top; after they are well conserved you also may cast honey in place on the sugar; but let it be good, & put the pie cooking on a small fire, because all the sweet dishes burn easily.
From Hernandez, 1607. Translation copywrite Dan Gillespie.
16 3″ pie crust tartlettes
3/4 lb dried apricots
3/4 lb sugar
3/4 cup sweet white wine
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pinch salt
4 pinches cinnamon sugar
Pre-bake tartlette shells for 8-10 minutes at 350F.Dice apricots into 1/4 inch pieces.
Cook apricots, wine, and sugar on medium heat for 15-20 minutes (till sugar is completely dissolved).
Add salt and spices cook for a few more minutes to blend flavors.
Fill tartletts and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes
Let cool before serving
Ok, so the ginger makes sense but what is with salt and pepper in a fruit tart? Someone also has a love affair with the fraction 3/4, especially since the original recipe called for a full pound. But since I just happened to have 3/4 pound of dried apricots I went with it. I decided to ditch the salt and pepper however. I also did not pre-cook my pie crust. Especially since I wanted to make these as individual, half-circle pasties and you just cannot fold over a cooked crust.
And here is where people who do redactions without giving all the needed information in them can really mess things up. I am also very irritated with myself since I have cooked with dried apricots before and I should have known better. The original recipe states “…bring a pound of them, those which are washed with hot water, & after they are well washed, cast them in a pot…” When I made Mishmishiya from Pleyn Delit the original recipe stated “Take dry apricots, soak in hot water, then wash and put in a separate saucepan, and boil lightly…” Doing this re-hydrates the apricots so that they are not tough and overly chewy. This recipe DEFINITELY requires this step. I didn’t do it. I went with the redaction.
Next up, the wine. 3/4 cup is such a random amount. I also suspect it is way too much liquid. Not having soaked and strained the apricots however I cannot, at this time, estimate how much wine should be used but I suspect not much more than 1/4 cup. Or it could be that this really would be better as a full-sized pie with more liquid. I may try this out again . . . someday . . . when I’m less depressed about everything that went wrong.
I’m also pretty certain I cooked the mixture too long. Or rather that if I had soaked the apricots first that they would have ended up less chewy than they did without the soaking.
Ok, so all of my issues stem from being impatient, not paying heed to the original recipe, and trusting the redaction to give me all the information which I have proved through experience happens less often than I would like.
At least they taste good. Even if the texture is a bit off.