December 12: Frumenty
Thank you so much to culinary historian Brigitte Webster for today’s tasty Advent Calendar treat.
Frumenty is a wheat based dish which has been traditionally served along meat at Christmas for centuries. It is delicious and easy to prepare.
There are many variations and slightly different spellings of its name. This recipe dates to circa 1400 and is from the “Curye on Inglysch”
“To make frumente. Tak clene whete and braye yt wel in a morter tyl the holes gon of; seethe it til it breste in water. Nym it up and lat it cole. Tak good broth and swete mylk of kyn o of almand and tempere it therwith. Nym yelkes of eyren rawe and saffroun and cast therto; salt it: lat it naught boyle after the etren ben cast therinne. Messe it forth.”
Modernised, simplified version & ingredients:
- 30-40g bulgar wheat per person (cuts out the crushing of the wheat step)
- ¼ pint of stock (or ale – strong flavour)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon of currants or raisins per person
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt to taste
- 2 strands of crushed saffron
- 10ml of milk, almond milk or cream
• Heat up stock, add the bulgar wheat, let it boil for about 10-15 mins and then let it soak for a the same amount, taking it off the heat
• Add the spices and put the mixture back on the heat. Allow to boil until the wheat is soft. Add more stock if the mixture is drying up.
• Remove from the heat, add the currants (raisins) and the egg yolks plus the milk (or almond milk or cream) Do not allow the mixture to boil once the eggs have been added. Keep warm until being served.
• Decorate with dried rose petals, cornflower or crystalised violet or rose petals.
You can find out more about Brigitte and her accommodation amongst period authentic furniture, TUDOR & 17th century cookery classes, seminars & workshops on the subject, and accompanied tours of famous and lesser known period sites at https://www.17thcenturyexperience.co.uk/