Thursday, March 14, 2013

Medieval Cooking, pt. 5, Tart in Ymbre Day

Happy Pi Day! (March 14th... 3.14... get it?)

I totally did not plan to make a pie on Pi Day, it just happened. This pie is based on the Tart in Ymbre Day (Amber Day Tart), or Cheese and Onion Pie in the Feast of Ice and Fire cookbook.

I made one the authentic way last week, and it came out bland, and a little awkward. Brendan specifically mentioned the saffron didn't work well with the currants and almost tasted soapy. Also, 3-4 modern-size onions and 8 modern-size eggs is far too much for a 9-inch pie. So I remixed the recipe a little and made it again. Here's what came out:

The crust is the same as the pastry crust I used in the fruit tarts from earlier this week, plus salt. I pre-baked this crust at 350° F for 10 minutes.

Tart in Ymbre Day, Revised

Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 yellow onions, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup grated Havarti cheese
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup raisins, lightly coated in flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp poudre douce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Pan-fry the chopped onions, basil, sage, and garlic in 2 tbsp butter over medium-high heat for about 12 minutes, or until the onions are tender. In a bowl, combine the cooked onions and all other ingredients, mix well, and pour the filling into the pre-baked pastry crust.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then remove and, if the crust is golden-brown, cover the crust with tin foil to keep it from getting too dark. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve.

So, let's recap:
Appearance-wise, the authentic and revised versions aren't so different; the authentic version came out a bit lighter in both color and texture, probably because the onions were still white after parboiling, and there was more egg involved. The revised version is more flavorful and balanced, with the butter lending a rich almost dessert-like quality to the raisins and sweet spices.

So far, I'm thinking this dish will play the part of the vegetarian main course at the Game of Thrones-themed dinner. Stay tuned, as there's more to come...

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