You will want a translation, of course. Recipes are hard enough to follow at times without the added distress of being expected to dig up a coffin from some place. No, this isn't a spooky Halloween concoction months ahead of its time, but a rather simple-to-prepare dessert once you get past the funky Old English alphabet and lingo:
Recorded in the earliest English manuscript of cooking instruction, The Forme of Cury 1390 AD, Daryols (from the French) are custard tarts that have enjoyed many permutations through the ages, and are chiefly known today as Richmond Maids of Honor. Richmond, the London borough where King Henry VIII held court in Hampton Palace, claims direct titular connection to the diminutive treats, although the many theories seem to be based on legend or romantic fancies rather than hard facts. Regardless of their correct origin, Maids of Honor hold a special place on British tea tables and are one of the most foolproof cheesecake recipes available. Many medieval dishes revel in a certain elaborate simplicity, more elementary and primitive than exacting, despite ingredients that were exotic, priceless, and often exclusively for the consumption of royalty. With our modern conveniences of prepared pastry and jam, these hand-held gems can be ready for your tea (or coffee) in hardly more than half an hour, which will give you that much more time to linger in a little royal luxury all your own.
Take cream or almond milk, add egg with sugar, saffron and salt. Mix it
up. Pour it in a two-inch deep pastry case. Bake it well and serve it.
A "coffyn" made of phyllo.
Richmond Maids of Honor (Daryols) - My own streamlined recipe adapted from the 18th Century edition of The Forme of Cury by Samuel Pegge, above. The original 1390 AD manuscript can be found here, (in the Medieval Collection of The John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester: The Forme of Cury, images 84v, 85f).
40 miniature pastry cups (I used phyllo.)
8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup ground almonds (If you use pre-sweetened marzipan or almond paste, omit the sugar.)
1 tablespoon almond extract (You can also use vanilla.)
1/2 cup jam of your choice (I used Francis Miot's Plaisir du Vert Galant, a lovely medieval-inspired indulgence from Alex, a friend who returned from Paris bearing beautiful gifts. Virtually impossible to find in the U.S., this is the sort of rarefied culinary treasure that you will not want to squander on a slice of aerated, flaccid white bread; better you should savor it by little licks directly off an ice-cold spoon.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange pastry cups on a cookie sheet and place in oven for 4-5 minutes to crisp. Remove from oven and reserve.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and light. Sequentially beat in sugar, ground almonds, egg and almond extract until well blended.
Fill each pastry cup with a level teaspoon of batter. Bake for 15-17 minutes until the filling is shiny, cracked and set. Remove from oven and let cool. Top with scant and slapdash 1/2 teaspoons of jam; no need to be precise and fancy. Makes 40 two-bite tarts. --
This recipe is for Mansi of Fun and Food, hosting Sugar High Friday - Fruit & Nut for Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess, creator of Sugar High Friday, the long-running and popular monthly event.
Been There, Done That ~
Almond Cherry Tarts
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Richmond Maids of Honour