5 October 2006 -
7 January 2007

At Home in Renaissance Italy

Renaissance Recipes

These recipes are adapted from Cristoforo Messisbugo's 'Banquets' (1549).


Pastry suitable for any cake (2 sheets) - This recipe is essential for making the cakes mentioned later.

Firstly take 450 grams of white flour, 2 egg yolks, 60 grams of butter, some water and a dash of saffron at your discretion. Add to them 60 grams of sugar and 60 grams of rosewater; mix all these ingredients together and make your casings according to your preference. When you make your cakes with these pastry sheets, when they are half cooked, to improve the appearance you can add a rosy tint with an egg yolk and a little saffron and rosewater, which will be aesthetically pleasing. For those cakes that only require a single pastry sheet, halve the above ingredients.

Cake made with morello cherries, cherries, blackberries, melons or figs.

Take 1200 grams of morello cherries and cook them in white wine (the sweeter the wine, the better it will taste). Strain off the liquid and place the cherries in a dish with 300 grams of grated hard cheese, 240 grams of sugar, 30 grams of cinnamon, a quarter of an ounce of pepper, 300 grams of butter and 6 eggs. Mix well. As above, make your cake with 3 pastry sheets, placing 180 grams of butter on the top layer. Put this in the oven and when it has almost cooked sprinkle it with about 100 grams of sugar and allow it to finish cooking. In the same way you can make the same cake with cherries, blackberries or figs, though instead of cooking them in wine, fry them in butter, then strain off any excess liquid.

Vegetarian Mini Pancakes with Bitter Herbs for 6 people

Take a soup-plateful and a half of white flour, a little saffron, a glass of white wine, 60 grams of olive oil, enough water to mix with the flour, 90 grams of raisins and a handful of finely ground bitter herbs. Mix well. Heat 900 grams of oil in a frying pan and add a spoonful of the mixture at a time. To serve, top with 180 grams of clear honey and 120 grams of sugar.

Fish Cake - This is another variation of the cakes mentioned previously, rather than the fishcake that we know today.

Take a 900 gram pike, or any other fish, that is skinless and has been washed, and cut it into four. Boil it in water, remove all the bones and grind it with a pestle and mortar together with the insides of the fish, 300 grams of almonds and a handful of parsley and oily herbs. Soften everything in a good fish broth and then strain the mixture. Put it in a dish with 270 grams of sugar, 30 grams of cinnamon, 180 grams of washed and peeled raisins, 120 grams of rosewater and mix everything together. Then make the pastry casings. Using a grease-proofed oven dish place the mixture between 2 pastry sheets and brush the top casing with olive oil. Then cook in the oven, placing 100 grams of sugar on the top midway through cooking.

Tripe of Veal or Lamb or Kid

Clean and wash your tripe and cook it. When it has been well cooked, cut it into small pieces. Place it in a pot with a good meat broth with ground down lard and mixed, oily herbs and bring it to the boil. Then take grated hard cheese, beaten egg yolks, a little saffron and ground pepper, the quantities of which are at your discretion, and add it to the broth. Bring it to the boil then serve.

Meat Soup

Take a leg of veal that has been finely ground and the kidneys of beef that has been cleaned well, and grind down all these things together. Throw these into a cooking pot on a low heat with as much ginger and pepper as you see fit, and about 20 whole cloves. When it has cooked add either orange juice or verjuice the slightly fermented juice of unripe grapes. Grape juice can be used instead. If it happens to be thick, add a little water or broth (this is better) and allow it to cook. Once cooked, serve on dishes, placing a hard boiled egg topped with three cloves in the middle of the dish. Allow one egg per dish.

Green sauce with verjuice

Take parsley, fresh fennel, basil and bread without the crust softened in verjuice the slightly fermented juice of unripe grapes. Grape juice can be used instead. Grind down all these things together and add the mixture to verjuice.

Veal Soup in a Hungarian Uproar

Take a piece of veal and cut it into small pieces, then fry in fat drip. Add finely chopped onions and fry them with the veal. Once fried, place in a cooking pot with meat broth and add 300 grams of honey, 15 grams of pepper, 15 grams of cinnamon, an eighth of an ounce of saffron and 150 grams of raisins. Cook slowly; then serve.

Soup in the Oven

Take a cock or a hen that has been boiled and cut it into four. Place it in a dish with a good meat broth, ten beaten eggs and grated cheese, as well as a few spices and raisins. Cook in the oven.

Fish in Salt

Take a live or fresh fish; remove it from the bone; and having cut it into pieces, wash it in fresh water. Place it in a dish and cover with strong vinegar, adding a soup-plateful of salt. Leave for at least 4 hours. Put it in fresh water and bring it to the boil with a handful of salt. Once it has come to the boil add the fish until it has cooked. Serve cold.

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