Sour cherry cooked in wine from “The Science of Cooking, a Medieval Transylvanian Cookbook” (late 1500s Transylvania)

This was redacted for the Virtual cooking challenge #6 – Sour cherry cooked in wine which was posted on the SCA Virtual Classroom and Artisan Display.

This is a picture of a recipe from “The Science of Cooking” (late 1500s Transylvania). (Hard copy:

I don’t have easy access to sour cherries.. so instead I used sweet cherries and added 1/2 tsp of citric acid to mimic “sour”. The recipe is good. I’m unclear how close this falls to the recipe if it were made with actual sour cherries. *shrug*

Sylvie’s redaction for Sour cherry in wine
1 lb sweet cherries, stem removed, washed and pitted
1/2 tsp citric acid
1 cup dry sherry wine
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
3 slices soft french white bread, cubed
4 Tbsp salted butter
Sprinkle sugar (optional)

Remove stems from cherries, wash cherries and then pit them (it’s probable that these were used whole in the original recipe and not pitted). Add cherries, citric acid and sherry wine to a sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until cherries are a bit soft. Add honey and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Set aside.
In a frying pan melt butter. Add cubed bread to the frying pan and stir so that all croutons are coated in butter. Fry until croutons are a golden brown on all sides.
Add croutons to the cherries. Stir to combine. Serve it forth.

Post Mortem:
I had expected the cherries to break down into a sort-of mashed cherry consistency when cooked but instead they stayed whole. In fact if I hadn’t pitted them they probably would not have broken down at all. I do think if I were to do it again I’d use one more slice of bread (and maybe a bit more butter to fry the bread) to soak up all of the rendered juice.

The dish paired well both with roast meat and when dressed out as a dessert with Snowe(link to Snowe recipe).

The final dish has the consistency of bread pudding made with cherries. It also had an almost unfinished look to it (which could be my very modern hangup) that was caused by it being a fairly uniform red color.

All in all this is a good dish. If I were making it modernly I might be tempted to pour the final product into a baking pan and coat the top with more butter (or possibly more bread bits) and see about browning it off to give it a more finished look.

Final note
While discussing this with someone it occurred to me that this could make a very easy dessert/side dish. You could make the cherries and wine up in advance and freeze the mixture in a seal-a-meal bag and then float that in boiling water at an event to reheat the cherries and serve it with butter fried croutons.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.