Spiced Plum Mousse

I love cooking medieval recipes. There is a challenge in finding ingredients, redacting somewhat vague instructions, and altering it to fit a modern palate. Some things I have lucked out with (Slit Sops, Sauerbraten, Cawdel of Salmon), and some things have been a failure (Armored Turnips, Saracen Pease). This is one of those in the success category.

Spiced Plum Mousse from The Forme of Cury: A Roll of English Cookery compiled about 1390:
"Take bolas and scald hem with wyne, and drawe hem thorow a straynour; do hem in a pot.  Clarify hony, and therto with powdour fort and flour of rys.  Salt it & florissh it with whyte aneys, & serve it forth."

Say what now?
Bolas- plums
Wyne- wine
Hony- honey
Powdour fort/powder forte- A collection of sharp spices; a mix of equal parts ground black pepper, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves.
Flour of rys- rice flour
Whyte aneys- Anise seeds, usually powdered. I am omitting it because licorice flavors make me gag.

This dish works equally well with yellow plums and white wine as it does with purple plums and red wine. 

  1. Wash plums, cut in half, and pull out the pits.
  2. Bring the wine to a boil in a nonreactive pan (stainless steel, or cast iron).
  3. Add plums to wine and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the wine, but reserve 1/4 cup of it for later.
  5. Press the plums through a sieve, so you get the most of their juices.
  6. Add that juice and the honey to a nonreactive saucepan.
  7. Stir in the rice flour and the 1/4 cup reserved wine. 
  8. Add salt and spices, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
  9. When it's thickened, pour into serving dishes (I prefer thick wine glasses) and cool slightly before serving.
  10. You can garnish with candied orange peel, an edible flour, a little bit of heavy cream, etc, or leave it plain. (We had it with ice cream)
Bon Apetit!

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