1596 English torte

Tort anglijskij


Ingredients (for 6 persons and for 2 layers)

  • lb butter
  • lb sugar
  • lb, or glasses, sugar
  • 5/12 lb, or 1⅓ glasses, flour
  • 2⅔ eggs
  • 5–6 bitter almonds, or lemon zest
  • ½ glass cranberry juice and ½ glasses fine sugar
  • ingredients for icing


Beat 1 lb fresh, unsalted butter until white. Sprinkle on 1 lb sugar and lbs flour, mixing constantly. Finally beat in 8 eggs, add 10–12 bitter almonds or lemon zest for flavoring, and mix as long as possible. Spread this dough onto 2 circles and set in the summer oven. When baked, spread 1 layer with thick cranberry* syrup, cover with the other layer, top this with the same cranberry syrup, and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

Small pastries also may be made from this dough by spreading the prepared mixture with a knife onto a baking sheet dusted with flour. Set in the summer oven to bake. When the sheet of pastry is half cooked, cut it into rectangles without removing them from the sheet, and return the sheet to the oven. When they have finished baking, spread with fruit purée or cranberry syrup, stick them together in pairs, and cover each pair of cookies with icing.

*The European cranberry (Vaccinium oxycoccus var. palustris) is smaller than the American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), but its flavor is said to be superior. Although the plant is native to Britain, Northern Europe, and Siberia, the name cranberry, or craneberry, is comparatively recent in English and seems to have been adopted by the American colonists and brought back to England along with the larger American berries. Although cranberries were clearly known in England from an early date, references to them, under any name, are uncommon in English cookery books. They may have still been gathered and preserved in rural areas, but they seem to have disappeared from English middle class recipes by the nineteenth century. Why Molokhovets called for cranberries in an English torte is somewhat of a puzzle.