Fifteenth Century

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Possibly the earliest recipe collection devoted entirely to confectionery, the fifteenth-century Catalan manuscript Libre de Totes Maneres de Confits, gives recipes for candied fruits and sweetmeats made with honey and alternative versions of the same using sugar. Significantly, the recipes call for successive boilings of the syrup, whether honey or sugar, before pouring it over the fruit, repeating this process until done: “fins que conegau que sien fets” (literally, “until you know that they are done”). Unfortunately, the recipes do not specify whether the fruits—a great variety, including citrons, oranges, lemons, peaches, apples, quinces, melon, and cherries—are to be stored in the concentrated syrup that, in the final step, is reduced to the “thread” stage, or whether they are allowed to dry. See stages of sugar syrup. In one recipe for candied citron peel (with sugar), however, the final step calls for dipping the peel in a reduced rosewater-flavored syrup and then transferring it to sheets of paper; this process might have produced a thin, brittle sugar shell around the strips of peel.