Modernizing Markham Now Available as a Book!

There has been a bit of radio silence on the blog for a few months, but with very good reason: I’ve just published Modernizing Markham as a book! For those who aren’t familiar with that project, MM is my food and book history blog, where I try to recreate early modern English recipes using modern ingredients and equipment. I also discuss the history of the cookbook I work from (The English Housewife), along with the history of the different foods I create, to try to help contextualize my work. It’s a lot of fun, and eventually it’s going to be a part of a series of books that deal with different types of recipes or different aspects of history!

All the recipes from the original blog are included, along with the historical discussions and some additional goodies that aren’t on the blog. As an added bonus, I’m donating a portion of my profits to the Center for the Book, which gave me tons of support and guidance as I worked on the project.

To order a copy, you can share the ISBN (available on the Candle Light Press website) with your favorite local bookseller, or you can order it online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  I’m also having a release party on December 14th at the Spaceport Bar (in the back of Waterworks), so if you’re in the Tallahassee area, stop by and get your copy signed if you would like!


Nutella Tart

This tart is ridiculously easy and requires very few ingredients. Best of all, it’s absolutely delicious.

I have made tart/pie crusts a number of different ways. I know most people use the method where you cut cold, cubed fat into flour, and for years that’s what I did. Then last year I learned a new (and in my opinion, easier) method when I was working on my culinary history project. Basically it involves melting the butter and then incorporating the other ingredients rather than incorporating the cold butter into other ingredients. The pie I made using this method was incredible: the crust was flaky and rich, and was almost foolproof to prepare. Best of all, it’s the way pie crusts used to be made hundreds of years ago, which made me feel like I was connecting with the past through food (I like to do that). When I ran across this post recently, it reminded me of the success I had with the hot butter method and inspired me to create something new.

Either crust recipe will work fine, the first one I used (originally found here) requires egg yolks to be beaten in the flour before a well is made and the hot butter is poured in. This crust is wonderful and flaky. The other crust recipe is equally wonderful, although just slightly more dense. Either would work well, although for this particular tart I used the second recipe since I didn’t have eggs.I spread my crust out on a cookie sheet, but you can also make it closer to the original by putting it in a pan with high sides.

To make the tart, just make the crust and bake it until it begins to turn golden (the recipe calls for 410, I think my oven was actually closer to 400). Remove the crust and allow it to cool. Then all you do it top it with a goodly amount of Nutella and some chopped, toasted hazelnuts (I toast mine in a cast iron pan on the stove). Enjoy!