French 16th spice mix for baking and roasting

By • February 9, 2018 0 Comments

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French 16th spice mix for baking and roasting

Author Notes: 1555, when this recipe was published, definitely falls in Early Modern Period (Tudors on the English throne, Calvin just sent his first Protestant missionary to France), but spicing and cooking patterns still reflected medieval trade and tastes. Two spices worth seeking out are long pepper and grains of paradise, both giving tingly and complex flavors. This recipe is like our modern Quatres Epices, and can be used (see French Wikipedia, among others) for meats, stews, marinades, pates & terrines, and baking. I use and give it as gifts, one of a series of blends I call "Cinnamon Plus" because that spice makes up a large part of the blends. Original had 1 tablespoon clove, which I don't like, so omitted. You can also adjust to taste, while keeping most of the spices. Adapted from Livre fort excellence de cuysine, 1555.Nancy


Makes 1 cup

  • 4 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons ground nutmeg &/or mace
  • 2 tablespoons ground black peppercorns (round pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon ground long pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground grains of paradise
  • 1 tablespoon ground galingal (this is a relative of ginger)
  1. Get whole spices if you can, and grind them in a coffee grinder or blender.
  2. If whole are not available for all, buy small amounts of ground from a place where turnover is high and you can count on freshness.
  3. Bottle and keep in a dark, dry cupboard for up to a year.
  4. Lightly toasting before or after grinding might give interesting flavors.
  5. I put the measurements in tablespoons to give about a cup. If you want less or more, pick another measure (e.g., tsp.)and keep the same proportions.

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