Fig & raisin 'cream'

Yield: 6 Servings

Measure Ingredient

Rapey. Take half fyges and half raisouns; pike hem and waishe hem in water. Skalde hem in wyne, bray hem in a morter, and drawe them thurgh a straynour. Cast hem in a pot and therwith powdur of peper and oother good powdours; alay it vp with flour of rys, and colour it with saundres. Salt it, seeth it & messe it forth.

125 g/4 oz well-soaked dried figs 125 g/4 oz stoned raisins 275 ml/10 fl oz/1¼ cups red wine (not too dry) Good pinch of ground black pepper ⅓ teaspoon ground cinnamon ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves Soft dark brown sugar to taste 3 teaspoons rice flour or cornflour A drop or two of red food colouring Salt to taste

Drain the figs, reserving the soaking liquid. Discard the stalk ends of the fruit and put them in a saucepan with the raisins and wine.

Add the spices and a teaspoon of sugar and bring to the boil. Take off the heat and cool slightly, then turn the mixture into an electric blender and process until smooth. Add a little of the soaking water if the mixture is stubbornly solid.

Cream the rice flour or cornflour with a little more soaking water or wine and brighten the tint with a drop of food colouring. Blend the 'cream' into the dried-fruit puree. Then return the whole mixture to the saucepan and simmer until it thickens slightly. Season with salt and a little extra sugar if you wish.

The mixture can be served hot or cold over a sweet cereal dish, firm stewed fruit or - best of all- ice cream. Some versions in other manuscripts are stiffer and make a good filling for tartlets or fried puffs. One encloses the filling in pastry to make dumplings.

from The Medieval Cookbook by Maggie Black Chapter 2, "Chaucer's Company" posted by Tiffany Hall-Graham

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