An Afternoon Tea With An Interesting Difference

Monday 11th March 2019 - Saffron

In January Heritage & Culture Warwickshire decided to run an afternoon tea at Market Hall Museum, based on historic recipes held at the County Record Office.

I was truly honored to be asked to recreate the recipes of Mary Wise, a wealthy resident of Warwick who lived at The Priory until she died in 1760, for the modern world.

When Louise & Bronwen first approached me with their idea of the heritage bakes I was excited and intrigued.

Baking is my passion and being given the opportunity to try Mary Wises recipes from the mid-18th Century was a dream come true, however I must admit when I saw the book, I was a little daunted!

Decoding the Language

The First Challenge

The first challenge was the ingredients some I have never heard of, thankfully Bronwen & Louise had anticipated this and had some ideas, others were impossible to get so I had to improvise a little.

Sack, Citron, Manchet & Curren to name a few.

Queens Cake

Decoding the equipment and language

Next was the equipment I have to say I’ve never used a hoop, pestle, chaffindish or cake glass before in my baking!

The third and I think my favourite challenge was the language, I absolutely loved reading the instructions, such gems as ‘Put it to your jelly being warmed and stir it well till your sugar be well melted’ or ‘One hour and half be baked it, but don’t over, be sure’

Certain words proved difficult such as Sease and Copped

Almond Macaroons 

Challenging timings

The baking temperature and timings proved interesting, how many degrees is ‘let them be well baked but must not your oven be too hot’ or ‘let it not offer to boil’ and just how long is ‘till they slip from the plate without’ without what? Who knows!

I think the most poignant thing was the time it would have taken to create these recipes, simply mixing the batter, something I can do in my stand mixer in about 10 mins was expected to take a minimum of 2 hours… can you imagine mixing a batter for two hours?

‘beat all these together with your hot hand a large bowle the space of 2 hours’

I am really looking forward to trying more of the recipes for the next heritage afternoon tea.

You can read more about the event at The Stratford Herald

Look out for the next heritage tea and if you’d like to book, check out 28th April on the Heritage & Culture Warwickshire events page.

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