Bear with me folks for I am getting ready to do a large English Subtlety at the beginning of February, so that means an influx of English recipes while I research the recipes I need for the main event. Not to worry though MORE Middle Eastern will be interspersed in the coming weeks among the English!
Take a quart of honey & seethe it, skim it clean; take saffron, powdered pepper, * throw thereon; take grated bread, make it so stiff that it will be cut; then take powdered cinnamon, & strew thereon enough; then make it square, like as thou would cut it; take when thou cut it, and caste box leaves above, stuck thereon, and cloves. And if thou will have it red color it with sandalwood enough. (Renfrow, pp. 230)
Take a quart of honey clarified, and seethe it till it be brown, and if it be thick put to it a sih of water: then take fine crumbs of white bread grated, and put to it, and stir it well, and when it is almost cold, put to it the powder of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and a little liquorice and aniseeds; then knead it, and put it into moulds and print it: some use to put to it also a little pepper, but that is according unto taste and pleasure. (Markahm, pp. 120)
1 C honey 2 C breadcrumbs (white bread preferred)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cloves
whole cloves and cinnamon powder for display
I actually played around with the flavor a little bit and added a few more spices. 1/8 cinnamon, cardamon, ginger and nutmeg. (I’m a spicy type of cook you know!)
If you will notice the bread crumbs are from a whole wheat bread I had. In period if this dish were to be served to nobility or royalty the probability that the bread was made from good white flour with out a lot of whole wheat is much higher then a whole wheat or grain based bread. I would suggest a good bread made from white flour, water, either ale or water , and the yeast can actually be the must from the bottom of the ale barrel or ale yeast if you wanted a more purist type of bread. (That will be in another post later.)
Place the honey in a pot and boil.
Skim the foam as it appears, add the pepper and the saffron and stir in the bread crumbs.
Continue stirring until the mixture starts to stiffen up. Place in a mold lined with wax paper.
Here I used parchment paper. As long as there is a lining that can be used to pull the fudge like dessert from the mold, you’re probably going to be safe using either wax paper or parchment paper. A period mold would have been made of wood; however that takes wood and time, not some thing a lot of modern day people have access to or ability to carve well. So I went with a metal mold picked up at a kitchen shop just for the purpose of molding dough.
This is the gingerbread mix firmly compacted down into the mold. 2 cups of bread crumbs does not make a lot of gingerbread. So if a lot of gingerbread is desired you need to up the bread crumbs, spices and honey by a lot!
When the mixture has completely cooled remove from the mold, dust with cinnamon and stud with cloves.
Since I had already used cinnamon and cloves for taste, I sprinkled sugar over the resulting mini doughs. These are about 3 inches long and 1 inch high. Small thick and very spicy!