The Good Huswifes Jewell - Custard and Apple Tart

A method for making custard during Lent, and a recipe for a tart of apples and orange peel.

About The Good Huswifes Jewell

 

Thomas Dawson wrote a number of popular and influential recipe books including 'The Good Huswifes Jewell' (1585), 'The good Hus-wifes handmaid for the kitchen' (1594), and 'The Booke of Carving and Sewing' (1597). The books covered a broad range of subjects, such?as?general cookery, sweet waters, preserves, animal husbandry, carving, sewing and the duties of servants.

The late sixteenth century was the first time that cookery books began to be published and acquired with any sort of regularity. It is also the first time that cookery books were directed at a female audience. However, literacy rates among women were very low, so it is likely that these books would only have been purchased by the priveledged few. In addition, only the higher echelons of society would have had regular access to valuable key ingredients such as sugar, spices, hothouse-grown fruits or plentiful livestock.

Dawson took many of his recipes from the long-established practices of courtly kitchens. A number of the recipes are directly attributed to noblemen and women. For example, page 12 of 'The good Hus-wifes handmaid for the kitchen' tells of 'How to keep Lard after my Lord Ferries way.'

It is in this period that cookery book writers begin to provide practical instructions of the kind we would recognise in recipe books of today. In 'The good Hus-wifes handmaid', for example, quantities are given in quarts, spoonfuls, handfuls, pints, gallons, pounds and ounces. And directions are given in great detail. The reader is instructed to strain, beat in a mortar, heat until 'luke warm' or 'boyling hot', soak, season, spread with a feather, chop very small or 'perboile'. An oyster pie must stand for half an hour before the gravy is added. The hardest apples are said to be better for baking. And in a recipe for 'a pie to keep long,' the reader is told, 'the longer you keep them, the better wil they be.'

Taken from: The Good Huswifes Jewell
Author / Creator: Dawson, Thomas
Publisher: Edward White, London
Date: 1585 AD
Copyright: By permission of the British Library
Shelfmark: C.104.e.32(3)