SOURCE: Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book, dated 1604. Volume 1, page 23 Lady Elinor Fettiplace and Lady Rachel Fane— Elizabethan Country House Cooking, 1986 (Viking Salamander, London).
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1“To make white bisket bread. Take a pound & a half of sugar, & an handfull of fine white flower, the whites of twelve eggs beaten verie finelie, and a little annisseed brused, temper all this together, till it be no thicker than pap, make coffins with paper, and put it into the oven, after the manchet is drawen.”
A facsimile of Lady Rachel Fane’s recipe for Meringue, 1630, England.
“To make Pets Take a pownd of Drye fine searsed [sifted] suger, & beat the whites very wel then take off froutgh [froth] & put your suger, bye litle & litle in to it — contineually stiring it & beating it with a spoone ore laydle, and when it is exceedingly well beaten, then have some pye plates ready buttred & wipe the buter of because the lesse buter it hath the beter, then drope them upon the plate & put in to every drope a carieway seede or coriander then let your oven be very temparate and watch them with a candle all the while & if they be right they will rise and looke very white, it is good at the first to set a scilet of water, with them in to the oven,& when they be thowrow drye then take them out, you must in the mixing of them put 12 graines of muske & 12 of Abergrisse which you must bruse with suger before you stire it in to the egge & suger.”
3 egg whites
½ cup sugar
Beat egg whites until stiff and frothy. Gradually add sugar.
Place raw meringue into a pastry bag. Pipe “stems” by creating vertical tubes of meringue. Pipe “caps” by creating mounds of meringue on a parchment covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon, nutmeg and clove to resemble “dirt.”
Bake at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. Turn off heat and leave in warm oven for two hours.
After the meringue is dry, scrape a hole into the base of the “cap”. Insert the stem into the hole. Seal with a dot of meringue. Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes to cook the egg white.