Being the sort of person who wants to impress everyone every second of the day, when being asked to bring a plate for a colleague’s birthday party I decided to go all medieval on their feast. I said I would bring a sweet, then turned to the internet to save me.
I discovered this lovely site almost immediately and set to looking for something which a) seemed easy to make and b) didn’t require me stepping out of my house to find ingredients. Thus began my love of this recipe, Prince Bisket.
I have found two recipes for Prince Bisket. The first is the only one I have tried, as the second seems a little more involved.
The first recipe:
Hugh Platt p. 14/94 (attribution copied from originating site–I have not identified which of Platt’s works this recipe derives from)
Take one pound of very fine flower, and one pound of fine sugar, and eight egges, and two spoonfuls of Rose water, and one ounce of Carroway seeds, and beat it all to batter one whole houre: for the more you beat it, the better your bread is: then bake it in coffins, of white plate, being basted with a little butter before you put in your batter, and so keep it.
The second recipe:
To make Prince Bisket
PERIOD: England, 17th century | SOURCE: A Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen, 1617 | CLASS: Authentic
DESCRIPTION: A sweet bread or biscuit baked in a pie shell, or made like wafers
To make Prince Bisket.
Drie a pound of very fine wheat flower in an Ouen two houres, after the bread hath beene drawne, or the Ouen being warmed, but not heated for the nonce, the flower were best in an earthen Pipkin couered, least it loose the colour, put to it a pound of double refined Sugar beaten and cearsed fine, then take ten new laid Egges, take away fiue of their whites, straine these Egs into a Bason, with a spoonfull of Rose-water, and sixe spoonfuls of scalded Creame, when you haue all in the Bason, first put in your cearsed Sugar, and let it dissolve by beating it into your Egs, then put in your flower by little and little, vntil both the flower and the other things be incorporated, beat it well together an houre at least, and you shall at last see it turne white, then you must have coffins of white plate indude with butter as thinne as you can, so as it be touched in euery place, then take an ounce and a halfe of sweet Anise-seed, and one of Coriander, dried rubd and dusted, put the Anise-seed in the batter, & the batter into the coffins, and bake it an houre at least if you will, you may make Cracknels of the same batter, driue it thinne vpon the Plates, and when you take it off, rowle it thinne like a Wafer, and dry them again in the Ouen.
What I did:
I saw the redaction on the first recipe then proceeded to ignore it completely.
Not wanting a large amount of food, I cut the recipe down to two cups of white flour and one cup of white sugar and sifted them together.
I took two eggs and put them into my blender for a few seconds. Then I put a decent splash of rosewater in with the eggs and blended it again. By decent splash, I’m talking somewhere in the vicinity of 1 1/2 tablespoons of rosewater. Then I tipped the flour/sugar into the blender with the eggs along with roughly 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds.
I blended all this together for a couple of minutes, using a spatula to push it down the sides a couple of times.
Once it was nice and smooth, I put small squares of greaseproof paper into a mini-muffin tray and put the mix into each section.
Then I popped the tray into a preheated oven at 180C for 20 min.
Prince Bisket: I forgot to take a photo until they’d been half eaten already.
They are delicious. The caraway and the rosewater really make this a flavour that’s unusual and morish. After trying the first one I was a little worried that the flavour might not suit the modern palate (particularly as I was feeding them to people who hadn’t experienced medieval foods before), but I’ve had multiple requests now for the recipe. I’d say that’s a winner.