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The reason for my hiatus…



Baby girl is now 7 months old and I’ve missed writing about historical food. Life at home is starting to gain some semblance of order and I’m starting this up again!

Thanks for your patience!


Garlic Torta


A friend of mine originally sent me this recipe to try and had pulled it out of “The Medieval Kitchen – recipes from France & Italy, page 114” (TMK)- prior to me acquiring the book for myself.

The translated original version of their torta is below (since Italian is not something that I read):

Take the garlic cloves, and peel them and boil them; when they are cooked, put them to soak in cold water, and then pound them and add saffron and plenty of cheese, which should be fresh, and chopped pork fat, and sweet and strong spices, and moisten with eggs, and add raisins, and then make the torta.

TMK then redacted the recipe starting with a Pate Brisee and then went onto the filling:

Pate Brisee:

1 3/4 cups flour
9 tbsp butter
1/3 cup water
1 scant tsp salt

combine all ingredients and then wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for about 30 or so minutes.


5 heads garlic
7 oz pork belly
6 oz whole milk farmers cheese
5 oz cream cheese
3 eggs
scant 1/2 cup raisins
12 threads saffron
1/3 tsp – ground cloves, fresh grated nutmeg, ground ginger
1 tsp – ground cinnamon, fresh ground black pepper

Even the first time I made this, I modified this recipe as I didn’t believe it had enough flavor so I increased the sweet and strong spices.

2 lbs peeled garlic
3/4  lb bacon
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cream cheese
4 eggs
1/2 cup currants
1 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp – mace
1 tsp – cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon (to taste)
2 tsp – salt, pepper (to taste)

Boil the garlic for 45 minutes, then transfer to a cold water bath to cool them down. Then added these to the food processor to make into a beautiful cooked garlic puree – added both cheeses and the eggs. The mixture was cooled down so that the eggs didn’t cook or scramble prior to being fully combined in the garlic puree along with the spices – saffron – chopped the bacon into tiny pieces and then add to the mixture.

This actually will make sufficient filling for 1 thick pie (depth wise) and then some smaller pies as well. For baking this, I actually like to use a round 9″ cake pan and a simple pie crust – I personally don’t prefer TMK’s recipe as its had to pull together and has too much butter for their pie crust for my taste and texture. If you use less butter and a combination of lard, it will help this from dripping butter.  This is one of those pies that has both top and bottom crust.

For the full pie, bake at 375 for about 45 minutes to an hour until lightly browned on the crust and only kinda jiggly in the center.

I’ve also used this filling for hand held pies both free form (pie crust on a cookie sheet) or small cups (think cup cake pans) and for these, I like to bake at 350 degrees for 15 -20 min until cooked.

These can also be prepared outside in an open fire using free form pies that can be cooked on a fry-pan with a ceramic curfew (dome shaped lid). Use a bowl and wooden spoon to mix the ingredient and make sure that the uncooked bacon is diced small prior to mixing.