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A Drie Marmelet of Peches

Caryl de Trecesson (Carol Hanson)

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From The Second Part of the Good Hus-wives Jewell (1597) by Thomas Dawson (Falconwood Press, Albany, NY, 1988):

To make drie Marmelet of Peches.

Take your Peaches and pare them and cut them from the stones, and mince them very finely and steepe them in rosewater, then straine them with rosewater through a coarse cloth or Strainer into your Pan that you will seethe it in, you must have to every pound of peckes halfe a pound of suger finely beaten, and put it into your pan that you do boile it in, you must reserve out a good quantity to mould your cakes or prints withall, of that Suger, then set your pan on the fire, and stir it til it be thick or stiffe that your stick wil stand upright in it of it self, then take it up and lay it in a platter or charger in prety lumps as big as you wil have the mould or printes, and when it is colde print it on a faire board with suger, and print them on a mould or what know or fashion you will, & bake in an earthen pot or pan upon the embers or in a feate cover, and keep them continually by the fire to keep them dry.

1+ lb. peaches, weighed after peeling, stoning, and chopping finely (about 5-6 med. fruit)
1/2 c. rosewater
1/2 lb. white sugar, granulated or superfine (a little over 1 cup), then take out 1/8 c.
1/8 c. superfine sugar for molding candies (you may need more)

Peel peaches, remove stones, and chop finely before weighing out a little over a pound. Put in a pot with the rosewater and bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes until the peaches are very soft. Do not strain out the liquid, but push both peaches and liquid through a metal sieve/strainer, rubbing the more solid bits against the metal mesh, to get a fine peach/rosewater mixture (or use a food processor).

Weigh the result; there should be about 1 lb. of paste. Put the mixture back into the pot, add the sugar, and bring to a slow boil at med-high heat. Reduce the mixture for about 45 minutes, stirring almost constantly and lowering the heat as it thickens to avoid scorching, till you have a very thick paste that will support a spoon. Spoon onto a ceramic or glass plate or pan to cool (do not put on foil!).

When cool, take spoonfuls and roll them in superfine sugar. Flatten or press into molds or imprint with a pattern. Put the pieces on a baking tray or pan (putting them on an additional bed of sugar will help keep them from sticking) and dry in the oven at something less than 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 4-8 hours. Do not use a higher temperature or it will re-melt the paste. Let cool completely before attempting to remove from the tray. Strew with additional sugar if still sticky, and leave in the open, turning occasionally, to dry further. Makes about 24 candies of 1 inch diameter.

" and steepe them in rosewater"
I've chosen to "seethe" (simmer) the peaches in the rosewater to make them easier to strain.
"then straine them with rosewater through a coarse cloth or Strainer"
This step is to reduce the peach pieces to a peach & rosewater mush. Some might interpret this as straining to remove the liquid and only keep a drier peach paste, but I don't think so.
"you must reserve out a good quantity to mould your cakes or prints withall"
Modern recipes for fruit pastes call for equal amounts of fruit and sugar but this recipe only uses half that amount of sugar. I take out just 1/8 c. (= 2 TB.) for forming the candies, but at the end more sugar than this may be needed depending on the stickiness of the paste.
"and print them on a mould or what know or fashion you will"
I tried imprinting the candies using a pewter pilgrim badge that wasn't highly sculpted and it worked somewhat, but the candies are soft enough at this point that not much detail came across. Commercial candy molds may work better.
"and keep them continually by the fire to keep them dry"
Luckily, this isn't necessary in a literal sense, but the firmness of the candies will vary based on the general humidity. The type of peaches, their ripeness, and how much liquid was extracted in the boiling will also affect the firmness.

This won the "Prepared Foods" category at the St. Elegius Pentathalon in Dragonship Haven, East Kingdom, September 14th, A.S. XXXVII (2002).

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created and maintained by Carol Hanson
last modified on Nov. 25, 2002

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