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Author Notes: 1555, when this recipe was published, definitely falls in Early Modern Period (Lady Jane Grey on English throne, Henry II on French, Calvin just sent his first Protestant missionary to France), but some of the spicing and cooking patterns reflected medieval trade and tastes. Two worth seeking out from specialty stores or web purveyors are long pepper and grains of paradise, both giving tingly and complex flavors. This recipe is like 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 omit. You can adjust similarly. Usable year-round but more interesting with fall and winter meals. Make small amounts and start with the ratios presented here, straight from 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)
- Get whole spices if you can, and grind them in a coffee grinder or blender.
- 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.
- Bottle and keep in a dark, dry cupboard for up to a year.
- Lightly toasting before or after grinding might give interesting flavors.
- 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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