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Title: Marigold Tart (Scottish Elizabethan)
Categories: Irish Medieval Herb Pie
Yield: 8 Servings

  ** British Measurements **
1/2tsSaffron strands
1tbWarm water
8ozPlain flour
2tbIcing sugar
5ozButter; unsalted
2 Egg yolks
3tbDried marigold petals
  Water; as needed
2ozCaster sugar
8ozCream cheese or fromage
  . frais
2 Eggs; separated
3tbSingle cream
1 Orange rind; finely grated
1ozPlain flour
  Crystallized borage flowers
  . as garnish

Make the pastry first. Crumble the saffron in warm water in a basin and leave until cold.

Sieve the flour and icing sugar together into a bowl, then cut and rub in the butter until it forms fine crumbs. Beat the egg yolks with the saffron water and add to the rubbed-in mixture until it forms a firm dough. Knead lightly until smooth, then wrap in foil or plastic and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then roll out the pastry and line a greased 9-inch loose bottomed flan tin. Prick the base lightly with a fork.

To make the filling, bring a small saucepan of water to simmering point and sprinkle in the marigold petals. Wet thoroughly, then drain and reserve. Beat the sugar with the cream cheese or fromage frais until soft and smooth, then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, followed by the cream. Stir in the grated orange rind, the marigold petals and the flour. Whisk the egg whites until thick, then fold them into the cream cheese and egg yolk mixture. Pour into the pastry case and cook in the centre of a fairly hot oven (400F / 200C / gas mark 6) for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until firm to the touch in the centre. If the top is getting too brown, lay some foil gently over it.

Leave the tart to cool a little in the tin, then loosen the sides with a knife, and transfer to a serving plate. Decorate with crystallized borage flowers and serve lukewarm.

Makes about 8 servings. ** A Book of Historical Recipes ** by Sara Paston-Williams The National Trust of Scotland, 1995 ISBN = 0-7078-0240-7

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A Tarte of Borage Flowers (dated from 1572 AD)

"Take borage floures and perboyle them tender, then strayne them wyth the yolkes of three or foure egges, and swete curdes, or els take three or foure apples and perboyle wythal and strayne them with swete butter and a lyttle mace and so bake it."

To Make a Tarte of Marigoldes, Prymroses or Couslips (ditto)

"Take the same stuffe to every of them that you do to the tarte of borage and the same ceasonynge."

To Make Short Paest For Tarte (ditto)

"Take fyne floure and a cursey (cup) of fayre water and a dyshe of swete butter and a lyttel saffron, and the yolkes of two egges and make it thynne and as tender as ye maye."

Historical note:: Tarts of flowers were prepared during spring and summer Cowslips, primroses, borage flowers or marigold petals were beaten small and combined with eggs and cream or curds, then baked in a pastry case. They were served at the second course or the banquet.