The Stewpot Recipe Gallery

The Making of Furmente
by
Elaina de Sinistre


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Original Recipe

Furmente

A Noble Boke off Cookry, 1467
To mak furmente tak whet and pik it clene and put it in a mortair and bray it till it hull then wenowe it and wefshe it and put it unto the pot and boile it till it breft then fett it down and play it up with cow mylk till yt be enoughe alay it with youlks of eggs and kep it that it byrn not, colour it with saffron do ther to fugar and falt it and ferve it. 


Redaction

Ingredients:

1 lb. of cracked wheat
A little less than 1 gallon of milk
sweetened cream
sliced fresh fruit (optional -- peaches and strawberries work especially well)
raisins, currants, or other dried fruit (optional)
saffron or sandalwood for color (optional)

Preparation Steps

To make my furmente I use approximately one pound of cracked wheat (which you can buy in the health food section of most grocery stores) to a little less than a gallon of milk.  Start by pouring the milk in a large pot.  Heat it over a low fire until it is quite warm.  Add 1 cup of honey, and then slowly add the cracked wheat - stirring constantly.  At this point the wheat will sit in the bottom of the pot like sand.  Keep stirring - this is the most important part of making good furmente!  If you don't stir it constantly it will burn and/or the milk will boil.  You want to keep the milk at just below the boiling point, and the wheat fairly constantly in motion.  Furmente takes a long time to cook, so you may want to recruit a back-up stirrer or two.  Very slowly, the wheat will begin to expand.  Your furmente is done when you have a solid porridge with no milk floating at the top.

Serve the furmente warm with sweetened cream and sliced fresh fruit (peaches and strawberries work especially well), or you can add raisins, currants, or other dried fruit to the furmente while it is cooking.  If you like, you could add a little saffron or sandalwood for color.

Number of Servings

Not given.

Serving Size

Not given.

Redaction Notes

At the recent Robin Hood Tourney, several of you were so good as to complement the dessert served, and to ask that I publish the recipe.  The dessert was a furmente of wheat served with fresh fruit and sweetened cream.  Most period cookbooks make reference to a furmente as either a sweetened or savory porridge of wheat or other grain.  There are recipes for furmentes with pork, with beef, with various vegetables, and even with fish or porpoise, but I have too often seen savory furmentes served at table and sent back to the kitchen uneaten - modern palates are simply not ready for something that looks like oatmeal with a little fish stew mixed in.  However, sweet furmente is almost always well received.

The original recipe printed here is from A Noble Boke off Cookry.  It was first printed in 1467, but contains many earlier recipes -- some of them identical to those published in The Form of Cury which was compiled about 1390 by the cooks of Richard II's household. 
 

References

  • Noble Boke off Cookry, 1467.

Date Of Redaction

None given.


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