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Para hazer bizcocho (To Make Biscuit)

Take a dozen eggs, and ten of them without whites, and beat them in a kettle with one hand, and after they are well beaten cast in a pound of well ground sugar, and beat it well together with the eggs, and cast in a pound of very well sifted starch, and a little anise, and salt, and beat it a good while, and have a little oven, well-tempered, and make your squares of papers with your wafers underneath, and cast them there; and powder them with sugar on top, and watch them moment by moment, until they are done, and before watching them prick them with a knife, and if it comes out wet they are not cooked.

Anise Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
2 large eggs
8 egg yolks
1 pound wheat starch (approx. 4 scant cups)
1 pound sugar (approx. 2 cups + 5 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons ground anise seed
1 teaspoon salt
additional sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place the eggs and egg yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium for a minute. Gradually add the sugar to the eggs. Turn the speed to low and gradually add the starch, salt, and anise to the egg mixture. Beat on medium for 10 minutes. You will have a thick, fluffy batter.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Alternatively, you may lightly
grease the pans or use non-stick pans. Drop the batter by tablespoons 2 inches apart. After a moment, they will spread out on the pan, and will spread further during baking. Sprinkle lightly with sugar.

Place in preheated oven. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until the cookies are set and a toothpick or knife-blade comes out clean. The cookies should not be browned on top; there should be no more than a slight hint of golden color around the edges. Remove carefully from the pan with a spatula. Cookies will be soft when they are first removed and may be prone to breakage. They become firmer as they cool. Cool on racks. Store after cooling in an air-tight container. Makes approximately 5 dozen 3-inch cookies.

Notes:
I found wheat starch at my local Chinese grocery. If it is not available in your area, substituting all-purpose flour would probably work. Another recipe for bizcocho in the same cookbook calls for either starch or flour.
Egg quantities were reduced on the assumption that medieval eggs were smaller.
I tried using parchment paper, but found that cookies were much easier to remove intact from greased pans. Recently, I purchased a couple of Silpat(R) baking mats. They're made from silicone and fiberglass, and have taken all the frustration out of baking bizcochos. I let the cookies cool on the mat, and they slide off without sticking or breaking.


PARA HAZER ROSQUILLAS (To Make Little Rings)



For forty egg yolks, a pound of ground sugar, and as much white wine as will fit in the shell of an egg, and a little anise, and a little cinnamon, and a little cow's butter, and a little orange flower water. Knead everything with fine flour, and cast in what should be necessary to conform to the quantity of eggs. Knead with a light hand, so that you do not break the dough, which should not be very hard, nor very soft, but well pummelled, and being good, make the rosquillas the size that you wish. Have on the fire a kettle of water, and when it begins to boil, cast the rosquillas within, in such a manner that they do not go one on top of another, and cast them in until they ascend. Upon ascending they are cooked. Put them in some kneading troughs, and being cooled, remove them and send them to the oven to cook, which should be quite temperate.
Source: Diego Granado, Libro del Arte de Cozina, Spanish, 1599

Rosquillas

20 egg yolks (medium or large)
1/2 pound sugar (1-1/4 cups)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon white wine
2 tablespoons orange-flower water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground anise
5 to 5-1/4 cups all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Fill a large, wide pot with water, at least 4-5 inches deep, and bring it to a boil. Adjust the heat so the water is at a constant simmer.

Beat the egg yolks lightly in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer equipped with a dough hook. Stir in the sugar, butter, wine, orange-flower water, and the spices. Add 3 cups of the flour and mix well. Gradually add flour, kneading continually, until you have a dough of medium firmness. It will be sticky, and it will *not* form a ball on the dough-hook or clean the sides of the bowl. It will more closely resemble a sugar-cookie dough than a bread dough. Add just enough flour to make a dough that can be handled and shaped. Knead well, about 8-10 minutes. The dough will be fairly smooth.

Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a flat surface. Cover with a damp cloth so it does not dry out. Roll a piece of dough into a ball about 1- 1/2 inches in diameter. Flatten the ball slightly, and with your thumb and forefinger, pinch a hole in the center of the disc. Enlarge the hole and shape the dough until you have a doughnut-like ring, about 2-1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. When you have shaped several rosquillas, drop them, one at a time, into the simmering water. (You did get the pot of water ready, didn't you?) They will sink like stones to the bottom of the pot. Watch out for scalding-hot splashes, and make sure that the rosquillas do not settle on top of each other. They will begin to expand slightly, and to become whiter and wrinkled. In about 4-5 minutes, the rosquillas will suddenly float to the surface of the water. As each one rises, remove it gently with a slotted spoon or a skimmer, and place on a rack to cook and dry. Continue shaping and simmering rosquillas until all the dough is used up. When the rosquillas are cool to the touch, place them on an ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 20-25 minutes at 350 F until lightly browned. Cool on racks. Makes about 2-1/2 dozen.

Notes:
My redaction is half of the original recipe, as it makes a quantity that is convenient for a home kitchen. A quarter-recipe also works well. I made two test batches using my KitchenAid mixer. One batch, which I hand-kneaded for 10 minutes, did not turn out well. They took twice as long to rise in the water, and then they drifted up slowly. After baking, they were unpleasantly dense. A longer period of hand-kneading would probably solve that problem.


To Make a Kind of Meat Called Migliacio

If you will make Migliacio, for foure or five persons, you shall stampe two pounds of new cheese so new as in a manner it shall be ready to turne to milke again, then take four ounces of fine flower, eight or ten whites of Egs, and halfe a pound of Sugar, mingling all this together, and if you have not floure take crummes of white Bread grated very small, and use it in stead of flower, and take a pan without past, and put Butter into it about two fingers thicke, and let it stand on the coales until the Butter be melted, then put the composition into it with a reasonable fire both under and over it, and when it is baked take it out and strew Sugar and Rosewater upon it.
Source: Epulario, or the Italian Banquet, London, 1598

Migliacio (Ricotta Cheesecake)

2 lb. whole milk ricotta
1 c sugar
1/2 c flour
4 egg whites
butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon rosewater
additional sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" round or 8" square cake pan. Beat ricotta and sugar together until creamy. Beat in flour until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. They will have soft peaks that droop slightly. Fold into cheese mixture. Pour mixture into cake pan. Bake approx. 1 hour or until cake has puffed and trembles just slightly when shaken. A toothpick inserted in center will come out almost clean, with just a trace of batter. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Don't worry about cracks on top. Remove cake from oven. Sprinkle with rosewater and additional sugar. Cool on a rack to room temperature, then chill for several hours.


Turten

Take a dough/ of a type you make Turten from/ roll it out nice and thin/ and cut an eagle or a heart out/ brush it with rosewater/ and sprinkle it with crushed white sugar/ push into the oven/ and bake it/ and stay with it/ till it is baked/ because it burns quickly/ give it cold to the table/ .
Source: Marx Rumpolt, Ein New Kochbuch, c. 1581
Translation 1999 by M. Grasse


Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix the flour and salt. Cut in the butter, as for pie crust. Mix in the egg, and just enough cold water to make the dough hold together. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll the dough out thin (about 1/4 inch), and cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place the cookies on a baking sheet. Brush with rosewater, and sprinkle heavily with sugar. Bake until lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes.

ZANAHORIA RALLADA -- Grated Carrot

You must clean the carrot of its peel, and then wash it, and grate it with a knife. And set it to cook in a kettle of water which has first been brought to a boil, and cook it a little while, and then set it aside and squeeze it. And have clarified honey and cast the carrot into it, and let it cook slowly, until it absorbs the syrup. And cast in the pinenuts. And it must be one azumbre of honey to six pounds of carrots, and when they are cooked cast in a little cinnamon, and ginger. And cast them into your box, and if you must decorate it, it must be with pinenuts.
Source: Diego Granado, Libro del Arte de Cozina, Spanish, 1599

Carrot Candy

Grate the carrots finely. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the carrots, return to a boil, and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Remove and discard any scum which forms on the surface. Drain the carrots into a strainer or colander lined with a tea towel or several layers of cheesecloth. When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the carrot pulp.

Place the honey in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a simmer over medium-low/medium heat. Add the carrots and mix well. Simmer gently, stirring frequently. Do NOT boil. In about 20 minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken and clump together. At this point, you should stir constantly. Cook until the carrots have thoroughly absorbed the honey, about 30 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add spices, stirring well. Mix in pinenuts. Spread the mixture as evenly as possible onto a well-greased pan or baking sheet, about 1/2-inch deep. To smooth the top, lay a piece of waxed paper across the candy and stroke gently with a spatula or the back of a large serving spoon. Remove waxed paper and allow to cool. If desired, decorate the top with pinenuts.

Cut into small squares and store in a tightly-closed container in a single layer, or with waxed paper between layers.