Monday, August 26, 2013

Medieval cooking: Poudre Douce and Poudre Fort recipes

Here's a couple of recipes I brought back from my trip to the 14th Century.  Poudre Fort and Poudre Douce (or strong powder and sweet powder).  You can use these two powders in just about anything.  The Fort or strong powder, I use for cooking meat, fish, veg, rice, soups, and anywhere else one might use pepper in modern cooking.  The Douce or sweet powder, I use for bread making, just about anything dessert, or even sprinkling on fresh fruit.

Poudre Fort

1 pinch powdered ginger
2 pinches of powdered cinnamon
about 4 to 8 Tbs peppercorns ground fine (at the medieval camp I did this by hand, it wasn't too time consuming)
1/4 tsp sugar (any sugar will do, so long as it's in granular/dry form)

  • Pulverize into powder anything that isn't already, and blend well.  Keep in an airtight jar on the counter so it's always on hand when you need it.
Feel free to alter the ratios or add other spices like nutmeg to taste.  This is just the recipe that was passed down to me by an expert medievalist (I'm thinking that's probably not the right word for it, but it will serve till I can think of a better one).

Poudre Douce

1 recipe of Poudre Fort (see above)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (yes, we are doing cinnamon twice)
maybe a pinch of nutmeg or allspice
More Sugar (any dry sugar, powdered, granular, date, palm, beet, &c.) - I tell you how much below.

  • Pulverize into powder anything that isn't already.  Mix together all but the (extra) sugar
  • Guess about how much spice you have here (by volume) - probably getting close to a 1/4 cup by now.  Add an equal amount of sugar to the other spices.  So, if you have roughly 1/4 cup of spices, then add 1/4 cup of sugar.  If you have 4 Tbs of spices, then add another 4 Tbs of sugar.
  • Mix everything together really well, keep in an airtight jar on the counter so you can use it always on hand.

With time and practice, you will develop your own ratios for these spices.  There are many other recipes for these that have developed over the centuries.  Some completely different than the ones shown here.  

However, these are so incredibly delicious, I'm really surprised they aren't more common.

A word of caution for allergies: Some modern spices have Soy and other oils/lecithins used in the processing.  Always check the ingredients on the spice packets if you are cooking for someone with allergies.

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