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(or Fertes, Fartes)
A tiny spherical titbit (OED). A Whet, or Subtelty. Early references are to spheres of light sweetened pastry, a later receipt (Huswife 1594) is of minced mutton and fruit.
The name is not a mis-reading of 'tarts', but is known from several sources, including AW 1591. The designation 'Portingale' means 'Portuguese-style'.
Customs records show that in the autumn of 1480 Martin Rodkyns imported 4,000 farts from Portugal, and that 'Fertes with other subtilties' were served with hippocras at Archbishop Warham's enthronement feast in 1504.
Archbiship William Warham
Original Receipt in 'A book of cookrye. Very necessary for all such as delight therin', gathered by "AW" (AW 1591);
To make Farts of Portingale.
Take a quart of life Hony, and set it upon the fire and when it seetheth scum it clean, and then put in a certaine of fine Biskets well serced, and some pouder of Cloves, some Ginger, and powder of sinamon, Annis seeds and some Sugar, and let all these be well stirred upon the fire, til it be as thicke as you thinke needfull, and for the paste for them take Flower as finelye dressed as may be, and a good peece of sweet Butter, and woorke all these same well togither, and not knead it.
Original Receipt in Huswife 1594;
How to make Farts of Portingale.
TAKE a peece of a leg of Mutton, mince it smal and season it with cloues, mace pepper and salt, and dates minced with currans: then roll it into round rolles, and so into little balles, and so boyle them in a little beefe broth and so serue them foorth.
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