Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Subtleties&Stuffe Early Sugar Recipes from the Mappae Clavicula

I have been doing some research on casting sugar and in the course of reading odd notes and articles, I came across an indication that the following work contained early sugar or candy recipes. Being the librarian that I am, I hunted the source up and eventually found the recipes.

Smith, Cyril Stanley and John G. Hawthorne. "Mappae Clavicula: A Little Key to the World of Medieval Techniques." Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 64, No. 4 (1974), pp. 1-128. [Published by: American Philosophical Society. and Available through  Accessed: 29-01-2017]

On page  4, the authors note

“This is the Mappae Clavicula. Of this there exist a fragment from the early ninth century, an extended manuscript of the tenth century, and the most complete one dating from the twelfth century, which we translate here.”

On page 19:

“The compiler of the Mappae Clavicula incorporated all this: in addition he included some freshly translated accounts of Arabic alloys, north European runes, ancient Greek pneumatic toys, and a number of other recipes from various places on pigments and dyes, alcohol, sugar candy, coffer-dam construction, and incendiary mixtures.”

The recipes of interest for sugar-candy are as follows: 

"285. The recipe for sesame candy
The recipe for sesame candy. Put white pure honey near a moderate fire in a tinned [pan] and stir it unceasingly with a spatula. Place it alternately near the fire and away from the fire, and while it is being stirred more extensively, repeatedly put it near and away from the fire, stirring it without interruption until it becomes thick and viscous. When it is sufficiently thickened, pour it out on a [slab of] marble and let it cool for a little. Afterwards, hang it on an iron bolt and pull it out very thinly and fold it back, doing this frequently until it turns white as it should. Then twist and shape on the marble, gather it up and serve it properly.

286. Sugar candy Now by a similar cooking process [put] some sugar soaked in a little water in a tinned [pan] and defroth it when it boils and strain it well in a colander. In this way, after adding in the ingredients that you know, stir it unceasingly until it reaches [the correct] consistency. Pour it out in separate pieces on a marble [slab] that has been lightly oiled. Carefully cool the pieces on the marble, separate them from it by hand and keep them properly.[footnote 195]

287. Penidias candy Now penidias candy [is made] like sesame candy after the sugar has been defrothed and strained, but without stirring it. When it has been fully cooked, work it on the bolt as described above, then shape it by cutting with shears."

[Footnote 195] On the history of sugar, see M. F. Deerr (1949). Although sugar was known in classical antiquity it was not much used in Europe until the twelfth century, after Arabic influence. DEERR, N. F. 1949-1950. The History of Sugar (2 v., London).

I hope you enjoy them.


Subtleties&Stuffe Cast figures of Sugar

Since we are examining early recipes for cast sugar, here's another

This is an excerpt from An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook
(Andalusia, 13th c. - Charles Perry, trans.)
The original source can be found at David Friedman's website

--> Cast Figures of Sugar. Throw on the sugar a like amount of water or rosewater and cook until its consistency is good. Empty it into the mould and make of it whatever shape is in the mold, the places of the "eyebrow" and the "eye" and what resembles the dish you want, because it comes out of the mould in the best way. Then decorate it with gilding and whatever you want of it. If you want to make a tree or a figure of a castle, cut it piece by piece. Then decorate it section by section and stick it together with mastic until you complete the figure you want, if God wills.

Subtleties&Stuffe Casting Sugar Recipes

We'll begin with a recipe from Delightes for ladies to adorne their persons, tables, closets, and distillatories with beauties, banquets, perfumes and waters.


34.Casting of sugar in partie moldes of wood.

LAy your moldes in faire water three or foure houres before you cast, then dry vp your inward moisture with a cloth of Linnen, then boyle rosewater & refined sugar together, but not to anie great stiffnesse, then poure it into your moldes, let your molds stand one houre, and then gently part or open the moldes, and take out that which you haue cast, you may also worke the paste aniè numero. [12.13.] into these molds, first printing or pressing gently a little of the paste into the one halfe, and after with a knife taking away the superfluous edges, and so likewise of the other halfe: then presse both sides of the mold together, two or three times, & after take away the crest that will arise in the middest: and to make the sides to cleaue together, you may touch thē first ouer with Gum Dragagant dissolued, before you presse the sides of the mold together: note that you may conuey comfits within, before you close the sides. You may cast of any of these mixtures or pastes in alablaster molds, molded from the life. Sir Hugh Plat 1602

The easiest of recipes appears in A Book of Fruits and Flowers. London: 1653.

To cast all kind of Sugar works into Moulds.

Take one pound of Barabry Sugar, Clarifie it with the white of an Egg, boyle it till it will roule between your finger and your thumb, then cast it into your standing Moulds, being watered two hours before in cold water, take it out and gild them to garnish a Marchpine with them at your pleasure.

Nearly as simple as instructions from
Mayerne, Théodore Turquet de, Sir, from Archimagirus anglo-gallicus from 1658

where it reads
132. To cast all kind of standing conceipts in Sugar-works.
Take a pound of double refined sugar, and boyle it to a Candie heigh, with as much Rose-vvater as vvill melt it, then your double moulds, being vvatered two houres, first powre the sugar into those moulds, and when it is cold, you may take them out, and they will be birds, or beasts, according to your moulds, this standing conceipt, you may garnish your March pane with.

Subtleties&Stuffe Sir Theodore Mayerne Knight

Archimagirus Anglo-gallicus

Sir Theodore Turquet de Mayerne was a well known physician in the courts of England's James I and Charles I. Born in Geneva in 1573, he studied at the University of Heidelberg before obtaining his medical degree at the University of Montpellier in 1596. A Huguenot, Theodore Turquet became a Paracelsian and Hermetic physician. He quickly became part of the medical establishment serving in the French court  as a "médecin ordinaire"  to Henri IV. In 1605 he cured an ill Lord Norreys of Rycote during a visit to France. Lord Norreys invited the physician to visit England and treat Queen Anne, wife of James I. He made a number of valuable contacts in England and following the assassination of Henri IV, Theodore moved to England permanently in 1611. Known now as simply Theodore de Mayerne, he became a popular and very rich London physician. He helped to publish the papers of Thomas Moffett on insects and supported the campaign of the Apothecaries to break away from the control of the Grocers. He was knighted in 1624. During the reigns of James I and Charles I he functioned in part as a diplomat and personal physician to the queens. He managed to survive through the English Civil War, dying in 1655.

The cookbook credited to him is: 
Archimagirus anglo-gallicus: or, Excellent & approved receipts and experiments in cookery Together with the best way of preserving. As also, rare formes of sugar-works: according to the French mode, and English manner. Copied from a choice manuscript of Sir Theodore Mayerne Knight, physician to the late K. Charles. Magistro artis, edere est ease. 

It was published in 1658 and it has been suggested that the work is a fake, compiled to cash in on Mayerne's fame. The recipes in many cases can be traced to earlier printed works.

Here are two of the book's recipes on sugar-work.

132. To cast all kind of standing conceipts in Sugar-works.
Take a pound of double refined sugar, and boyle it to a Candie heigh, with as much Rose-vvater as vvill melt it, then your double moulds, being vvatered two houres, first powre the sugar into those moulds, and when it is cold, you may take them out, and they will be birds, or beasts, according to your moulds, this standing conceipt, you may garnish your March pane with.

133. To cast all kind of fruits hollow into turned works, to put them into their natural colours, as Oranges e mmons, Cowcumbers, Radishes, Apples, or Peares.
Take your moulds, being made of Allabastar, every mould being in two pieces, your moulds being watered, and the sugar being boiled to a Candy heigh, fill the one half of the mould with the hot sugar, and turn the mould round about in your hand, and the fruits will be hollow.