Sweetmeats (Halawat)

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Craving sweets lately, but I don’t want to eat lots of sugar.  So I turned to my cookbooks in hopes to find something that will hit the sweet tooth without so much sugar my teeth hurt!  I found this wonderful little gem.

Rutab Murabba

(Fresh Date Preserves)


Leave ripe dates in the sun so that they dry a little.  Remove their pits and replace them with peeled almonds, and arrange them in a glass (container), and throw skimmed honey on them and a little saffron.  It comes out excellently. (Perry, pp. 433)


Enough dried dates to fit into a glass jar

Enough almonds to fit into dates

Enough honey to cover dates once in the jar

A pinch of Saffron


I gathered up a box of dried dates, a handful of almonds (or two), an empty glass jar and a pinch of saffron.

I removed the seeds from the dates with a chop stick.

Then replaced the seeds with almonds.

I didn’t have peeled almonds, so I used regular.  This may be a taste thing or a “We’re serving this to the king so it has to look fancy .” thing.  I used what I had because I haven’t found peeled almonds available regularly yet!

Once the almonds were de-seeded and stuffed, they were thrown into a clean empty glass jar.  Nope, our modern day jars are not what they had, obviously.


Something like this might, might have been used.  Decorative and useful.

Antique Bottles 392 – November – Kidlington Oxfordshire –  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b6/d1/ca/b6d1ca749c483afdcb2bed37c7d9d463.jpg


This is a simple utility jar.  Nothing fancy other than it can easily fit dates at the top and pour honey in.

No, I don’t know 100% if either jar was used for this purpose.  These are images I found for jars that meet my criteria.  They will fit the item (dates) into said jar, and the item (dates) can be fished out with ease, i.e. stuffed dates.

The first of many more to come.  Don’t fill the jar with honey first.  Dates float and if you have to much honey and keep stuffing all your dates into the jar, the honey WILL over flow onto the counter, making a horrible mess.  Do the dates first, then the honey…I promise this will keep you from having to clean or lick your counter tops off from all the spilled honey!

So once the dates are in the jar of your choice, place the pinch of saffron on top,

and pour in the honey.

I screwed on the lip, to keep small fingers and my own out of this until a later date.  Set to the side until ready to use.


Right now the dates are soaking up honey and a little bit of the saffron flavor.  I’m drooling already!


March 5, 2017 | No comments

Samak wa-Aqras

(Hard Almond Candy)


A  pound of and a half of sugar; half a pound of peeled almonds, pounded fine and flavoured with a little musk.  Take half a pound of bees’ honey and put it in a cauldron with an ounce of rose-water until it boils.  Skim it, then take an ounce of starch and dissolve it with rose-water and put it on the honey, and stir awhile until it gets its consistency.  Then throw the pounded sugar and almonds on it, and beat it hard with a poker until it thickens.  Then take it down from the fire and leave it on a smooth tile until it cools, and make it into fishes and cakes and other shapes in carved moulds.  Sprinkle them with finely pounded sugar and pistachios.  Colour the fishes with a little saffron dissolved in rose-water, and take it up.

(Rodinson, pp. 459)


1 ½ lbs sugar                ½ lb ground almonds                ½ lb honey       1/8- ¼ tsp rosewater

½ C sesame oil (optional mistake)


All the ingredients gathered in one place.  For candies and quick dishes, it’s always a good idea to have everything right by the stove and ready to go in the amounts you want.

If you will notice that I have saffron, cinnamon and turmeric at the bottom.  These were to color the candies at the final stage.  However due to the dark amber color the colors would not have shown through so I deleted the coloring step and these spices were not needed.  Please feel free to experiment coloring with spices or vegetable juices.  The caveat is that coloring in period with spices i.e. turmeric or cinnamon would usually change the flavor to inedible due to the amount of spice needed to color a candy.

I actually did this a little differently then the directions here.  I did not skim the honey as the honey I have is purified already with out any inclusions such as wax or bee parts.  So I mixed the honey and the sugar together.

Then I added oil (this is the accidental addition that is not prescribed in the recipe) and rose water.

Now here, I added sesame oil the first time (by mistake).  I was channeling the ingredients from a slightly different recipe when doing this redaction very early in the morning.  You can omit the sesame oil with out any worries! I am just adding this oops! as a this is what I did and the dessert came out pretty tasty still type of thing.

Once the honey sugar and oil were well mixed (I used a wooden spoon instead of a poker) I added the almonds into the mix with a little rosewater.

The mixture was boiled till reaching the soft ball stage of candy making.

The soft ball stage is where a drop of the candy being made is dropped into a bowl of very cold (icy) water.

If a ball forms then the candy is said to have reached the ball stage.  Hard or soft ball stage is determined on whether the candy ball in the water is soft or hard to the touch. (That is my understanding at least).

Here the recipe is a little unclear.  Do you put the pot that everything has been boiled in and set the pot to cool or pour the mixture on a smooth tile (which would be very messy) to cool.  I made the decision that they mean the pot and not pour the mixture onto a flat surface.  I did not let this stand for more then a few moments, while I pulled out the molds selected.

I gave the molds a quick wipe with sesame oil and then poured in the mixture to harden.

The molds used were simple candy molds of silicon and not the metal or Birchwood molds suggested.  I don’t have the metal casting skill or wood carving skill to attempt anything like that.  As for the coloring, the candies came out a really nice dark amber and any saffron painting would have been lost as to delicate.

A closer look for better detail.

The candies are crunchy and chewy.  Sweet and nutty.   Very nice!

Well I am a little late in getting a new update posted.  Since I have been slightly remiss in getting a new recipe out to you, my adoring fans! I am posting this incredibly sweet delectable treat.  Just for you!

Fried Mujabbana in the Toledo Style

(Sweet Cheese Pockets)


A dough is prepared using extra-fine flour and water, salt and oil as indicated in the recipe for oven-baked mujabbana.  An amount of fresh cheese equal to three quarters of the amount of flour is grated.  Is mixed with aniseed and mint juice and fresh coriander (cilantro), as already indicated.  The dough is rolled out with a rolling pin to make (small) round leaves.  Place the necessary quantity of grated cheese in the middle of each piece of dough, and pull back the edges toward the center pressing downward lightly.  The little packets one obtains in this way are placed in a copper or ceramic pan and cooked in the oven that is used for cooking biscuits and such things.

When the little packets begin to brown, they are taken out of the oven and arranged on a ceramic or wooden serving dish, one on top of the other.  They are then covered with honey and fresh melted butter.  After they are sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, they can be eaten, God willing.

Zaouali, pp. 107



1 C flour                      2 Tbs olive oil                  1 Tbs water


¾ C goat cheese (feta)                ½ tsp aniseed                  ½ tsp coriander            ½ tsp mints

3 Tbs melted butter                      1/3 C Honey

Cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling on.

My Redaction:

When I first did this recipe I thought the cheese pockets were a savory treat, then I realized that the final preparation was for a sweet and savory with the honey, butter, sugar and cinnamon finish.  Wow!  These are awesome!

Mix the dough together, then roll out on a well floured surface.

flat dough

I made small rounds using a biscuit cutting tin.  From one cup of the dough mixture I was able to make 7 rounds.

cicles and mixed cheese

Mix the cheese with the aniseed, coriander and mint.

chese with spices

The recipe calls for mint juice.  The only mint liquid available was a syrup.  The cheese mixture does not call for any sugar so I decided a syrup was not the way to go, instead I substituted dried mint.  I did not have fresh coriander on hand as it was the wrong time of the year, so dried coriander was used instead.  The cheese was Feta though any good goat cheese would do well.  The cheese and the spices were mixed in a bowl and set to one side.

After the cheese mixture was complete, I took a dough round and put part of the mixture into the middle then folded the dough over and sealed the edges by pressing firmly down.

cheese dumpling being made

Once all the dough rounds were filled, they were moved to an oiled cookie sheet and set into the oven at 350 till brown (roughly 10 minutes).

Uncooked cheese dumplings.cookie sheet with cheese dumpling

Cooked cheese dumplings.

cooked cheese dumpling

If you’ll notice one is now missing.  Had to do a taste test on the yummy savory goodness.  It was really tasty!

I then pulled the cheese packets out of the oven and placed on a plate.  I did not stack them one on top of the other but placed them side by side for better sweet coverage.

cheese dumplings with sweets

I poured the melted butter over them,

dumpling with butter

then the honey

dumplings with honey

and finally sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

dumplings with all spices on top

These are just incredible fresh from the oven with warm melty butter and honey.  Perfect for a dessert or a side nibble with coffee.  They did not last long at all.  Even after a filling dinner, there is always room for a sweet and savory cheese dumpling!

This dish is unfortunately not my favorite.  It has all of my favorite flavors; Dates, saffron, honey, almonds and rose water.  That the combination does not work for me is a failing on the part of my taste buds to appreciate the subtle and complex flavors that this imparts as a sweet and mild dessert.  I think I would prefer the dates as an added side note to coconut ice cream…but that’s another story!  This is a very good good medieval Middle Eastern dessert, unfortunately I just can not appreciate the flavors melded together as much as I prefer the individual tastes separately!

Tamr Mulawwaz

(Stuffed Dates)


Wash Iraqi dried dates in hot water and remove the pits and replace them with almonds or pistachios.  Boil syrup and honey and skim.  Then throw the dates in it, and when it has come to the boil twice, leave it until it is cold.  Colour with saffron and flavour with musk and rose-water.

Rodison, pp. 463


1 lb dates                                             1/3 C Almonds or Pistachios

1 C sugar                                             1 C honey

1/8 tsp saffron                                      1 tsp rose-water

My Redaction:

I took large Mejdool dates and used a rather thick wooden skewer to push the date seeds out the bottom, leaving the date intact and ready to be filled with almonds (or pistachios).

dates honey almonds

Here are the, now, pitted dates with almonds and honey to the side.  As you can see, the skewer is a fairly thick type which holds up better to the pushing outof the date seeds then thinner skewers.

Stuff pitted dates with pistachios (or almonds).

stuffing a date

Here I am stuffing the date with 2 almonds each, as the dates are pretty large.  You can probably fit 3-4 pistachios per date if you prefer pistachios to almonds.

Bring sugar and honey with a little water to a boil.

boiling honey with saffron

I added the saffron a little early and I’m not sure that adding the saffron at this stage helped the flavor.  I might suggest experimenting as saffron does have a strong flavor.  Add the saffron either as the honey boils or at the end of the boiling, when the dates are cooling in the honey.

Once the syrup has boiled and has been skimmed add the stuffed dates.

dates in honey

Make sure there is enough honey to cover the dates.  If there is not enough honey for the dates to bath in, scorching will occur which will ruin the flavor.   Do not be afraid of adding more honey and sugar to keep the dates from scorching!

Let the mixture boil two times then add saffron and rose-water.  The flavor is light and distinctive for the combination of sweet and rose.

cooked dates

Here are the cooked dates in their glossy goodness.  I will probably do this dish again and experiment with the flavoring for my own tastes as the 2nd try was not as good as I remembered from the first time doing this.  Try this on your own and have fun with the flavor!

There are a wonderful variety of sweets to serve, however the busy medieval Middle Eastern hostess some times has to pull a feast from thin air.  All that is needed is a little cream, sugar (honey, rose water, and date syrup are optional) and a bit of fruit.  This is a sweet that is simple easy and very elegant with minimal fuss.


(Sweetened Cream)


Wide ceramic containers are used that have the capacity of a large skillet.  One draws the milk, strains it at once while it is still warm, and then puts it in these pans.  This should be done in the evening when the herd comes back from the pastures.  The pans are place outside, exposed to the air and the damp, but covered by a large cage.  The next morning at dawn, before sunrise, with the aid of a long shell, one collects whatever has risen to the surface and transfers it to another ceramic container that is new and clean.  One continues until nothing is left on top.  Then the containers are covered and let be.  If one fears that the sun may fall upon them, move them to a cool place.  During the day one may draw out whatever has risen to the surface and serve it.

Many people prefer to eat biraf, which is one of the best kinds of nourishment, with out anything added.  Others eat it with honey , others still with powdered sugar.  As for Ahmad al-Safasi, he prefers to eat it with syrup and rose water because this way , according to him, is the best.  I told a group of friends about this way and they liked it because, with rose water not only is it delicious but it has beneficial properties that offset the undesirable effects.  If one fears indigestion after having eaten biraf with out taking anything with it, drinking sikanjubin, which is made from quinces or eat a quince, a pear or some figs.  I saw some one eat zulabiyya with briaf!  I tried it, and it was good.

Zaouali, pp. 110


1 C. heavy cream                     1/3 C. powdered sugar or honey

Optional: ¼ tsp rose water        1/3 C. date syrup or pomegranate syrup


Since most people do not have access to herds of milk producing animals, I used store bought heavy cream as that was what the first part of the translation was describing.

cream sugar honey

Cream rises to the top from fresh milk in cool areas.  I then added powdered sugar.  Regular sugar can be ground finer into a lighter sugar.  Modern powdered sugar may be lighter then period powdered sugar.  The sugar and cream were mixed together until slightly frothy.

Remember those candied pears from a few weeks ago?  Here they are on a plate with fruit and cream.  A sweet ending to any feast!

fruit with cream

If fresh figs are not available the dried figs work well.  Mind you I’d have preferred fresh but the season for fresh figs is not upon us yet, but when they are…I will be dunking fresh figs into the cream as my dinner!!


(Buttered Triangles)


Take a pound of flour and knead it with water and milk.  You break two eggs in it, their yolks and whites, and knead it well.  Spread finely milled starch under it and roll it out with the rolling pin.  Splatter with clarified butter, fold it over two or three times and cut it into triangles and put them (aside).  Put the frying pan on the fire and fry them – le the fire be quiet – until done and not browned.  Throw them in honey and sprinkle them with sugar.

Rodinson, pp. 431


3 C. Flour                    2 eggs              1 stick of butter (salted)

½ cup of milk and ½ cup of water         Sesame oil


Mix the ingredients together,

buttered triangles

forming a stiff dough.

triangle dough

Roll out on a well floured board

rolled out dough

until very thin, roughly 1/8 inch if possible.

Brush the dough with butter.

buttered dough

The original said to splatter, which you can.  I just wanted a more even coating so I had a small cooking brush on hand and proceeded to smear butter over rolled out dough!

Once the dough is well buttered,  fold it over like so.

foulded dough

Brush once more and fold once again.

double folded dough

Cut the folded dough into triangles.

closer triangles

This batch of Qurmush is waaaay to thick.  The layers need to be about half this size.  The thicker the layers the harder to cook with out browning.

Take a frying pan, liberally coated in sesame oil, and place 2-3 triangles into the pan.  Turn the burner on low.

triangles in oil

Pay close attention to the cooking, as a golden color is acceptable but not a brown.

cooked triangles

The thinner the dough the quicker the cook time (and easier to burn).

Once the triangles have been cooked through, pour honey on top of and sprinkle with sugar.

tiangles with honey and sugarThese were tasty even though a bit thick and chewy.  If they were thinner they would be crispy and sweet.  Eat them fast before then honey makes them chewy or if you like chewy desserts let them stand for a little bit with the honey and sugar topping!

I like pears…a lot!  Sweet crunchy or not but always very juicy.   I saw this recipe and thought of how pears in period were not always tasty (being rather small and hard even when ripe) and that this was a great way to make a rather hard to eat fruit into a really tasty treat!

Candied Pears


I believe that the translation is as follows.  The recipe is unclear as to whether this is the authors transcriptions or the original recipe.

Peel, quarter, and core the pears, then put them in a large pot of boiling water; take them out when they have become soft to the touch.  Drain them well and put them in a glass jar.  Boil the vinegar with cinnamon, cloves and sugar, then pour the boiling liquid over the pears and let them macerate for 24 hours (let cool before sealing the jar).

Decant the liquid, bring it to a boil, and pour it over the fruit once again.  Repeat this step a third time 24 hours later.

Zaouali, pp. 177


Firm pears (# depends on the size of the glass jar(s) being used)

1 cup vinegar

1 cup sugar

6 cinnamon sticks OR ¼ tsp cinnamon

12 cloves OR ¼ tsp clove powder

8 cardamom pods or 1/8 tsp ground cardamom

My Redaction:

First I assembled the spices, vinegar, sugar and pears.  Now the number of pears here are based on the size of the jar…not the jar based on the number of pears.  As you can see…I had a rather large jar on hand though several smaller jars would have worked just as well.

Candied pears w spices

I took the pears and peeled them, then quartered and cored the pears.    Once the pears were ready for cooking, they were put in a pot of water though I would also suggest a good honey wine for that extra sweet kick if desired.

peeled pears cooking

The pears are cooked till soft.   Once they are soft to the touch, the water (or wine) is drained and the cooked pears are placed into a jar or jars.

cooked pears in jar

Now while the pears are cooking, take another pot and place in the vinegar and sugar.  Stir till the desired balance of sweet and sour has been achieved.    I do recommend a good apple vinegar or a good wine vinegar, a regular vinegar is VERY VERY tart.  Oh the tartness you can taste!  Add the spices to the boiling mixture.

spices cooking

The cloves are not whole, but in ground form at that was what I had on hand.  The cardamom was an addition of mine though I think the taste would have been better if ground and not just in pod form.  The recipe did not clarify on whether the spices were removed prior to pouring over the pears or allowed to steep with the candied pears.  I chose to remove the spices as cinnamon in stick form can some times over flavor the dish.

Once the mixture has boiled together and achieved the desired sweet/tart/spicedness, take the mixture and pour over the pears.

pears w sauce

Before sealing make sure the pears are completely covered so as to prevent bacteria from getting in and ruining the entire jar.  The recipe suggests waiting till cooled before sealing as well as multiple boils.  I bypassed the multiple boils as I don’t believe this would have been done, though I could be wrong!

I would suggest the pears with heavy cream and honey after an excellent meal!

Halwa was an experiment as I was making spiced buns and the spread mentioned was this.  There was one SMALL problem though.  There was no readily available translated recipe.  The recipes I do have listed are period but more like…the pirate guidelines rather then hard set-in stone rules.  So a bit of trial and error was needed.  This is the sweet lick your fingers clean result!


(Sweet Paste)


#1)  Pick over the rice, wash it, crush it in a mortar, then cook it in water with the rind of a bitter orange.  When the rice is almost cooked, add some milk and cook it over a gentle fire, taking care to stir it.  When the rice has absorbed the milk remove the orange rind and add some sugar.  Remove the rice from the fire and spread it on a dish.  Sprinkle it with ground cinnamon and add almonds and hazelnuts toasted and ground.

#2)  …a tea-cup of sugar, two tea-cups of samn (melted butter, sesame oil or fat), three tea-cups of flour.  The sugar is boiled in half a cup of water.  The flour is toasted in the hot samn until it turns russet brown.  Then the boiled sugar is added.  The mixture is poured into a receptacle and subsequently cut up as desired.

Rodinson, pp. 194-195


1/3 cup water               2/3 cup sugar                2/3 cup melted butter

1 cup flour                    ½ cup milk

*spices: date syrup, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, rose-water


The translations aren’t given as recipes more like a map; to quote “Here is a recipe for muhallabiyya from the Jewish quarter of Tunis…”  The recipes are then compared to the a dish called helva or helfa in Arabic.  There is discussion that helfa is actually a Turkish pronunciation of the Arabic halwa.   So as you can see this is more like negotiating on a committee to get exactly the right type of sweet…you end up with a camel.

I took both recipes and looked for similarities, which are sugar, flour (wheat or rice) and fat.  Spicing seems to be optional and up to the cook’s discretion.

halwa spices

Now some of this is white on white (unfortunately…I did try to mitigate that but not as well as I had thought!).

First thing I did was add 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar to boil.  Notice the 1/3 cup not 2/3.  The other 1/3 will be used a little later.

First the butter was added to a pot then the flour until a nice dark brown.   I made a roux from the butter and flour.

halwa light

Now this is what the mixture looks like after a couple of minutes cooking with stirring.  The white of the butter/flour is browning slowly into a sweet roux.

halwa cooking russet

This is about the darkest you want the roux to get.   The difference time wise in cooking is only 3-4 minutes, so attention has got to be paid while stirring!  Other wise…things just get messy and not in a covered in honey and lick it off good way.

The dark russet coloring in the roux took about 10 minutes with constant attention paid to the stirring and boiling of the butter/flour mixture.  Once the roux was established at a good coloring, I added in the sugar water to the flour/butter mixture.  There was  extreme boiling and steaming when the two mixtures met, so watch the hand placement as an FYI.  Once the sugar water and the roux had been combined the milk was added.  The mixture thickens very quickly at this point.

Here I tasted the mixture and determined a bit more sugar was needed.  Add the other 1/3 cup or not depending on if a sweeter paste is desired.

I then split the paste into 3 bowls to experiment with flavoring.

cooked halwa w spices

One was given 1 Tbs of date syrup, another 1 tsp of rosewater, the third ¼ tsp of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  I stirred each ramekin thoroughly and tasted the connections.   My favorite was the spicing.  The date syrup was very sweet and taste while the rose-water mixture was almost light and tripping on the tongue.  Next time I make Halwa I will try with candied citrus peels or even candied ginger, perhaps maybe a few grains of paradise as well!

halwa w buns

Khubz al-Abazir (spice bread) was used as the carrying medium.

Plum Jam

This is a reverse redaction as no recipe has been found other then a mention of “plum jam with chicken” for a wedding feast.  When redacting how a plum jam could have been made I referred to the recipes used for both carrot jam and squash jam.  Both of these jams required sugar (some times honey) and spices.  So I imagine that some where a recipe reads as follows for plum jam

“Take ripe plums, with out stones, and cut them up small.  Add sugar and spices to a clean pot with them and cook till thickened.


8-10 ripe plums            ½ cup sugar                  1/3 cup of water

1/2 tsp ea: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, saffron, lavender

My Redaction:

Since this is being based on a comment and the recipes from two other jams the spicing is up to the whim of the cook.  Spices may have been added or may not; however I feel fairly confident that any cook who would add a whole cornucopia of spices to carrot jam would be more then happy to bring spices to brighten the flavor of plums in sugar.

plum jam spices

I cut up the plums and added them to a pot with sugar and water.  The plums can be cut up very small or if desired ground.  I did use a cuisinart on part of the plums though I found that the plums left un-ground cooked down almost as well as the finely chopped plums.  The spices were added at about the same time as the sugar.

sliced plums in juice with sugar and spices

The pot was allowed to simmer (NOT boil) for about an hour or until the jam thickened enough when stirred with a wooden spoon that a line drawn on the back of the spoon did not drip.I have tried this with roasted chicken.

plum jam w chicken

The jam can be used with roasted chicken, I might even suggest a nice bit of roasted lamb as well.  This makes for a very sweet dipped chicken!

I have a few cups of baby carrots on hand and was going hmm….that and a real craving for some thing sweet.  Voila!  I have found this little gem of a recipe.  A period way to turn a salty veggie (in my mind carrots need to be slathered in butter and salt to be yummy) into a sweet treat.

Historically speaking carrots could be preserved by either drying or turning into jam with out loosing to much nutritionally while still retaining a vitamin and caloric necessity, but this is probably one of the sweetest ways to preserve carrots…ever.


(Carrot Jam)


It is necessary to select fresh, red carrots, to wash them, clean them and cut them as thinly as possible.  Put them in a ceramic pot, add a little bit of honey, and cover them with water.  Cook them until they are soft, then strain off the water with a sieve and add a quantity of skimmed honey equal to that of the carrots.  Mix in seasonings chosen from among pepper, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cubeb, spikenard, mace, galangal, aloe wood (aquilaria aqullocha), saffron and musk.  Cook to thicken the carrot jam…Pour into a glass Jar and consume as needed.

*Note: Wild carrots were considered very pungent and not particularly edible though good for medicinal purposes. (Staug, pp. 44).   In the medieval Middle East, there were many varieties, the two main being distinguished by their color, either yellow or red (some times purple) (victoryseeds).  The red were considered more edible as the yellow were woody in hardness of the main stalk.  A similar but not completely the same type of red carrot can be found in today’s farmers market marked as “heirlooms”.

Zaouali, pp. 135.


2 C carrots                   1 C honey                1 pinch saffron

1/4 tsp ea of ground pepper corn, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, mace cinnamon

1/4  tsp anise seed

My redaction:

I have a couple of choices of carrot types in the summer when the farmers markets are open, giving me the choice between either a red or even a yellow variety of carrot, and not just the ubiquitous orange type.  My choice is far more limited during the winter and due to my narrow choice in the winter when I did this recipe, I used what was on hand.

I took 2 cups of modern  day baby  carrots (or regular orange carrots if available) and sliced them in the  “matchstick” style. I did matchstick as the carrots, in period, were quartered with the inner core removed to take out the woody taste, which leads me to believe that to cut them thin matchstick is an excellent choice.  However slicing thinnly in 1/2 circles after the carrot was cored could have happened just as easily.

CarrotsHere are the carrots, sliced with the multitude of spices and the first 2 Tbs of honey.

carrots w spices

The next step after cutting the carrots into thin slices is to place them  in a shallow casserole dish covering with water and adding 2 Tbs  of honey.  The recipe says to just add a little bit of honey and cover them with water.  I figured 2 Tbs is enough to still give the carrots a little sweetness while cooking them in water.

carrots water honey

Unfortunately the honey is lost in the picture.  This is to just give an idea on the carrot:water ratio which is to put in just enough water to cover the carrots.

Cook until the carrots are soft.

baked carrots

Now I judge soft carrots to be when I can stick a fork in them easily.  These were really tender after cooking for about 45 minutes at 400.  Keep an eye on the carrots though, your oven may be hotter or cooler and either scorched or undercooked carrots are not good.

Once the carrots are soft, drain the water and honey.

Period honey was a bit more “raw”, with wax and bees parts so required cooking prior to using skimming of the foam which contained the extra unwanted bits.  Modern honey is usually cleaned of inclusions so skimming is not necessary.  With that not if the honey used is from the store pour the remaining cup of honey onto the carrots.  If the honey is freshly drawn from a hive, start by cooking all of it in a large container, skimming off any froth that develops.

Once the carrots and honey have been combined in a pot add the ground spices and saffron.

carrots spices honey start

The honey may not look like enough, you want just enough to cover with out submerging.   The honey will thicken and reduce, so what was 2 cups of carrots and honey will coalesce into about a cup of jam.

Add the spices and start to cook the honey and carrots on the stove till thickened.  I would suggest to stir the mixture together and taste how the spices flavor the honey and carrots.  The fresher the spices the better the out come.  The mixture of spices suggested by the original recipe is very good though I added a couple of extra myself and did not add a couple due to availability.

This batch took 3 heating sessions.  I didn’t want to scorch the honey or carrots, so I would heat the mixture till it boiled then allow to cool.  The first two times the mixture was not thick enough which means either I didn’t heat the mixture enough, allow enough time to boil, or I added to much honey to my batch or a combination of the three.  The flavor is not ruined if the jam has to be heated more then once, so don’t worry if the honey hasn’t condensed enough the first time.


Once the jam is cool, spoon into a glass jar, securing the lid tightly.  As you can see the 2 cups of carrots have reduced to about one cup of jam here.  I used a recycled jam jar with a screw on lid.  Period containers would have been of glass but the lid would have been the type to fit onto the top and not a screw top.

I have to admit a little bread and a spoon to scoop the jam on to and you are in a spicy sweet carrot heaven!

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