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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tisane - an herbal brew


The Tisane Seller, Françoise DuParc

On this day of protest, I bring you a medicinal brew, a tisane*, used in place of that once heavily taxed tea.

«You are cordially invited to An Independence Tea Party.

On October 25, 1774, fifty-one ladies of Edenton, North Carolina, were called together by Penelope Barker and met in the home of Elizabeth King to express their indignation over the newly imposed British tax on tea. The ladies vowed (while sipping tea made from raspberry leaves) that: "We, the ladies of Edenton, do hereby solemnly engage not to conform to the Pernicious Custom of Drinking Tea."»

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Invitation quoted from The Military Wives' Cookbook, Carolyn Quick Tillery. Cumberland House Publishing, Nashville, TN, 2008, p. 5.

*[Middle English tisane, peeled barley, barley water, from Old French, from Latin ptisana, tisana, from Greek ptisanē, from ptissein, to crush.]

Monday, April 06, 2009

As Those Tea Parties Brew …


Detail, Lady Taking Tea, Chardin


Back in 1773, the powers that be imposed an unpopular tax on tea. The colonists, already seething with rebellion over taxation without representation, dumped a boatload of the stuff into Boston Harbor in protest.

Today it appears that we have not learned the lessons of history--our leaders are once again heaping unfair taxes upon us--so it's time once again to proclaim liberty!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tourte of franchipanne

Take the fairest flowre you can get, and allay it with whites of eggs. Presently take the twelfth part of your paste, and spread it untill you may see through it. Butter your plate or tourte pan, spread this first sheet, dress it up, butter it at the top, and do the same to the number of six. Then put what cream you will, and make the top as the bottom to the number of six sheets. Bake your tourte leasurely, After it is baked, besprinkle it with water of flowers, sugar it well and serve.
You must have a care to work up your paste as soon as it is made, because it drieth up sooner than you are aware, and when it is dry, it is unusefull, because your sheets must be as thin as cobwebs, therefore you must choose a moist place.
* * * * *
The French Cook, François Pierre La Varenne, Englished in 1653, p. 200.

Basically this is describing using phyllo dough, and the adjuration to work it in a moist place is imperative. Thaw your dough in the fridge and place your 12 sheets of dough between waxed paper with a moist towel laid over the top. Remove one sheet at a time and recover the rest immediately. Lay your dough in a pan and brush with melted butter, one layer at a time.
Prepare a mixture of 5 oz of pounded almonds, 4 oz of sugar and 2 eggs. Pour into your pan and cover with 6 more layers of dough brushed with melted butter. You could also use beurre cream or a cream cheese mixture with sugar and eggs.
Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes; then reduce temperature to 400°F and bake for 10-20 minutes more until golden brown and a broom straw inserted in the center comes out clean.
Removed from oven and sprinkle with orange or rose flower water and a sprinkle of sugar. Cool, slice and serve.
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