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Charles Carter's Banniet Tort

Candied citrons and orangado.

Candied citron, known also as cedrat, was a popular ingredient in sweet dishes during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It was combined in Carter's tart with either orangado (candied orange peel) or alternatively, candied lemon peel. Orangeflower water and sack were sprinkled over the layers of sweetmeats and pancakes, before they were sealed under a lid of light puff pastry.

Carter instructs the cook to garnish the finished tort with cut sections of the lid, an effect probably like that in the Dutch illustration above, from Hieronymus Sweert's cookery book, De cierlijcke voorsnydinge aller tafelgerechten (Amsterdam:1664). This style of pastry ornament was derived from the medieval flampoyntys or flan pointé , a pie garnished with little points of pastry.

The titlepage of Carter's lavish book. He could count among his aristocratic employers the Duke of Argyll, the Earl of Pontefract and Lord Cornwallis. He also worked for General Wade and a number of other ambassadors. His style of cookery is a sophisticated English adaption of French baroque cuisine. An important feature of his book are its beautiful copperplate engravings of table plans. A large variety of torts and tarts feature in his schemes for second courses.

A second course of a dinner Carter designed for the month of April. Torts and tarts were important sweet dishes of this lighter course. They appeared on the table with savoury made dishes and a dish of vegetables or two.

This delicious tort, delicately flavoured with sack and orangeflower water, is made from pancakes encased in a light puff paste crust. It seems to be the original invention of the early eighteenth century cook Charles Carter, who published the recipe in his The Complete Practical Cook in 1730. He gives a number of other tort recipes, which appear in no other work of the period. Some of these are among the greatest pastry dishes of the European baroque tradition and are well worth trying. His Potatoe Tort, made with sweet potatoes, candied eryngo roots, citron and bone marrow is spectacular, as is his Prunella and Tamarind Tort.
Banniet Tort

Take a Pint of Cream, and make it into Pancake Stuff; season it as you do Pancakes, and fry off eight of them fine, crisp, and brown; sheet a little Dish with Puff-paste, and lay in the Bottom, some Slices of Citron; lay on those a Pancake; then lay more Citron and Orangado, or Lemon-peel slic'd; then have some Sack , and Orange-flower Water and Sugar mingled together, and sprinkle over; Lay another; then more Sweetmeats, and fprinkle between every one still till you have laid them all: Lay Sweet-meats on the uppermost, and sprinkle what you have on the Top, and close it with a thin Lid, and bake it off pretty quick; and when bak'd, cut it open, squeeze in an Orange, and shake it together, and cut the Lid to garnish; sugar it over, and serve it.

From Charles Carter The Complete Practical Cook (London:1730)

Pancakes

Take a Quart of thick Cream, a Pint of Flour, six spoonfuls of Canary, a dozen of Yolks, and six Whites of Eggs, half a Pound of melted Butter, a little Salt, and a grated Nutmeg and Sugar. Make a Batter and fry your Pancakes in a dry Pan.

From John Nott The Cook's and Confectioner's Dictionary (London: 1723).

Candied citron and orangeflower water were important flavours in baroque court cookery.

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