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Tansy, or Tansy Pudding


A pudding or omelette of green leaf vegetables with fillers such as breadcrumbs, flavoured with tansy. Formerly popular at Easter-time.

Original Receipt in the verse cookery book 'Liber Cure Cocorum', 1430 (Liber Cure 1430);

For a tansy cake.

Breke egges in bassyn and swyng hem sone,
Do powder of peper žer to anone;
Žen grynde tansy, žo iuse owte wrynge,
To blynde with žo egges with owte lesynge.
In pan or skelet žou shalt hit frye,
In buttur wele skymmet wyturly,
Or white grece žou make take žer to,
Geder hit on a cake, ženne hase žou do,
With platere of tre, and frye hit browne.
On brode leches serve hit žou schalle,
With fraunche mele or ožer metis with alle.

Original Receipt in the 15th Century 'Austin Manuscripts' (Austin 1440)

Tansye: Take fair Tansye, & grind in a morter; thanne take eggs, the yolks & the whyte, & strayne them thorw a strainer; & strayne also the Ius of the Tansye, & melle to-gederes; & take fair Freysche grease, & put ther-on over the fire, tylle it melte; than caste the stuf ther-on, & gadere to-gedere with a Sawcer or a dish, as thou wolt it, lasse other more, & turne it in the panne; & than serve it forth.

Original Receipt in 'The Accomplisht Cook' by Robert May, 1660 (Robert May 1660);

To make a Tansie the best way.
Take twenty eggs, and take away five whites, strain them with a quart of good thick sweet cream, and put to it grated nutmeg, a race of ginger grated, as much cinamon beaten fine, and a penny white loaf grated also, mix them all together with a little salt, then stamp some green wheat with some tansie herbs, strain it into the cream and eggs, and stir all together; then take a clean frying-pan, and a quarter of a pound of butter, melt it, and put in the tansie, and stir it continually over the fire with a slice, ladle, or saucer, chop it, and break it as it thickens, and being well incorporated put it out of the pan into a dish, and chop it very fine; then make the frying pan very clean, and put in some more butter, melt it, and fry it whole or in spoonfuls; being finely fried on both sides, dish it up, and sprinkle it with rose-vinegar, grape-verjuyce, elder-vinegar, couslip-vinegar, or the juyce of three or four oranges, and strew on good store of fine sugar.

Original Receipt from 'The Lady’s Own Cookery Book, And New Dinner-Table Directory' of 1844

Tansy Pudding.
Beat sixteen eggs very well in a wooden bowl, leaving out six whites, with a little orange-flower water and brandy; then add to them by degrees half a pound of fine sifted sugar; grate in a nutmeg, and a quarter of a pound of Naples biscuit; add a pint of the juice of spinach, and four spoonfuls of the juice of tansy; then put to it a pint of cream. Stir it all well together, and put it in a skillet, with a piece of butter melted; keep it stirring till it becomes pretty thick; then put it in a dish, and bake it half an hour. When it comes out of the oven, stick it with blanched almonds cut very thin, and mix in some citron cut in the same manner. Serve it with sack and sugar, and squeeze a Seville orange over it. Turn it out in the dish in which you serve it bottom upwards.

Formerly strongly associated with the spring festival, a 16th Century book of church music has "Soone at Easter commeth alleluya, With butter cheese and a tansay", and the Connoisseur magazine could say in 1767 that "Mince-pie... is as essential to Christmas, as..tansy to Easter."

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