Monday, March 23, 2015

Subtleties&Stuffe A Closet for Ladies & Gentlewomen

A Closet for ladies and gentlevvomen. or, The art of preseruing, conseruing, and candying. With the manner hovve to make diuers kinds of syrups: and all kind of banqueting stuffes was first mentioned in the Stationers’ records in 1602 and published in 1608. It has long been a most sought- after volume for the Society’s historically minded confectioners and cooks. Unlike Plat’s 1609 Delightes for Ladies, which was privately printed in the 1930s and more popularly published in 1948, the 1608 Closet was never reprinted or made available in a popular hardbound edition in the 20th century. It is now available in my annotated © 2011 edition through

The Closet contains recipes associated with confectionary, preserving, all sorts of Candying and Pastes, Banqueting conceits, Cordial Waters, Conserves, and Syrups. As such as it describes recipes containing sugar and sugar heights, but unlike later works most of this work is accomplished in the making and use of sugar syrups.

[6] To preserue Pomcitrons for instance calls for then take two pounds of sugar being clarified, and make Syrope for them, and let them boyle in syrope a quarter of an houre very gently, then take them vp, and let your Syrope boyle til it be thicke, and then put in your Pomcitrons, and you may keepe them al they yere.” [p 23]

[10] To preserue Quinces instructs "TAke your Quinces two pound, & core them, & then perboyle them, & pil off the outtermost white skin, and then weigh them, and put them into claryfied sugar one pound, and then boyle them closly couered vpon a very gentle fire, putting vnto them a sticke or two of good Cynnamon, cut into small pieces, and so stirre them continually that they may be well coloured on euery side: and when the syrop is come to the height of a perfect gelly, take them off the fire, and so keepe them, for the higher your syrope is, the better will your Quinces keepe."[p 25]

[12] To preserue Eringus Rootes calls for and then you must take to euery pound of Rootes, three quarters of a pound of clarified sugar, and boyle it almost vnto the height of a syrope, and then put in your rootes, but looke that they boyle very gently together, with as little stirring as may bee for feare of breaking, vntill they be ynough: and when they bee cold, put them vp, and so keepe them." [p 26-27]

The instruction “boyle it almost vnto the height of a syrope” is employed in a number of the Closet’s recipes, indicating that a knowledge of boiling syrups was thought necessary to preserve various fruits so that they might be kept for all the year.

See A Closet for Ladies and Gentlewomen.

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