Pieter Claesz, Still Life with Peacock Pie, 1627
For those of you planning to cook something Elizabethan (and edible) for Shakespeare's birthday, here are two recipes from the Shakespeare's Kitchen author Francine Segan, by way of the Huffington Post:
Meatball "Pears"—The meatballs, with their sage leaf stems, resemble tiny speckled pears.
8 ounces ground pork or turkey
1/4 cup dried whole wheat bread crumbs
1 large egg
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 small green seedless grapes
12 sage leaves, with stems
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth, warm
Pinch of saffron threads
Combine the ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg, thyme, parsley, and salt in a bowl. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions. Wrap each portion of meat around a grape and form a pear shape. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
Preheat the broiler. Place "pears" upright on a well-greased pan. Broil 4 - 5 inches from the heat for 4 minutes, or until done. Using a toothpick, gently embed a sage leaf into the top of each pear. Serve warm.
Citrus Tarts—"Here's the challenge, read it. I warrant there's vinegar and pepper in't"—Twelfth Night. These refreshing tarts contain both pepper and vinegar . . . .
4 large naval oranges
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground 5-color peppercorns
3 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons verjuice (or white wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon honey
15 ready-made tiny phyllo tart shells (1-inch diameter)
Use a vegetable peeler to cut the peel from the oranges and lemons, removing any white pith. Soak the peels for 10 minutes in cold water, then drain and coarsely chop.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add peels, pepper, ginger, sugar, and wine -- bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool mixture to room temperature, stir in verjuice and honey. Spoon the filling into the tart shells and serve.