Welcome to the final week of the 2020 Great Colonial Cook Off. Thanks to each and every one of you, it’s been our most successful Cook Off ever, with a record setting number of entries and our highest social media metrics in five years. So whether you tried one recipe or cooked them all, shared your photos and lessons learned, or helped spread the word by sharing a Colony post with your Facebook friends, we are super grateful.
Wholesome to Eat and in Measure Most Abundant
It’s wild berry season here in Newfoundland (HORRAY!!!!) and many of us are spending every spare moment out on the barrens and bogs or in the woods filling our buckets with free fruit. Based on surviving documents, the first Europeans to settle in Ferryland were also pretty darn excited by all the wild fruit they found. In a letter to George Calvert dated 17 August, 1622, Edward Wynne (Calvert’s agent in Ferryland) wrote:
Now in the next place it may please your Honour to understand that touching this country, the summer time here is so fair, so warm and of so good a temperature, that it produceth many herbs and plants very wholesome, medicinable and delectable; many fruit trees of sundry kinds; many sorts of berries wholesome to eat and in measure most abundant, in so much as many sorts of birds and beasts are relieved with them in time of winter, and whereof with further experience I trust to find some for the turn of Dyers.
The same year, Nicholas Hoskins, a “gentleman” of the Colony, wrote to a “worthy friend”:
The wild fruit and berries are small pears, cherries, nuts, raspberries, strawberries, barberries, dewberries, whortleberries, with other, all good to eat.
So, in honour of Wynne, Hoskins and every other lover of free fruit, we’re wrapping the 2020 Great Colonial Cook Off up with a simple, yet delicious, wild berry tart. Since it’s raspberry season here at the Colony of Avalon, we’re going with them. But feel free to use whatever fruit (wild or otherwise) is in season where you live. We’re guessing a strawberry, cherry, peach or blueberry cream tart would be equally delicious!
This week’s recipe comes (once again) from Elizabeth Ayrton’s The Cookery of England: being a collection of recipes for traditional dishes of all kinds from the fifteenth century to the present day, with notes on their social and culinary background, first published in 1974. According to Ayerton, her recipe is based on one that dates back to the 17th century. In the original, the raspberries were heavily spiced and cooked in a thin-lidded puff-pastry pie. In Ayerton’s version (a la this 1672 recipe for an almond tart from The Queen Like Closet) the fruit filling is is set in an egg custard:
There you have it. Remember, snap a photo of your Tartys of Raspberries (or whatever fruit you choose) and add it to the comments section of the recipe post on the Colony of Avalon’s Facebook page for a chance to win weekly and grand prizes. Good luck! We can’t wait to see what you create.