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Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Examples of Dried Fruits
Almonds, Dates, Hazelnuts and Raisins
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ar. bunduqiyya, Fr. quatre mendianys (four beggars), Eng. hazelnuts, walnuts, raisins, figs, etc., dried fruits and other small items bought by pilgrims during their pilgrimages. They came to be known as “pardons” during the Middle Ages in northern Spain. Actually, they have come to mean a small present taken to someone who for some reason could not join someone else on a trip. Upon the traveler’s return, therefore, this little token showed that the traveler pardoned the other for not accompanying him.

Hazelnuts are produced by the European filbert or hazel tree (Sp avellanas, OCast auellanas, OCat velanes, valanes, avalances, avellanes,  L. Corylus avellana, Fr. aveliuieer, OFr coudree, OE coudre en tens de nois (fruit from the hazel-tree). It is a low tree common to the mountains in Catalonia, Valencia and Alicante. The nuts are eaten raw or toasted. They are added to cakes and other desserts or served plain or caramelized for centuries.

Valencians have converted hazelnuts into horchata, a refreshing drink in hot weather. The nut contains 50-66% oil, which means that they can keep for a long time. As the French, the English made Coudree en temps de nois, hazelnuts sauce. The bark of the tree, for its astringent properties, is boiled in water and drunk. It was used also to stop diarrhea and hemorrhaging. The skin from the roots is more efficacious than that of the branches. The pollen is drunk in warm water as a sudorific. See higo, nuez and pasa.

Sent Soví provides a recipe for walnuts carmelized with honey, cloves, ginger, pine nuts  and pistachios., which must have been quiet a treat when given as a pardon in the Middle Ages.

 [Anón/Grewe. 1982:
LXVIIII:111:CLXIIII:178:166:178 etc; Curye. 1985:181; Dialecto. 1947:288; and Villena/Calero. 2002:23a]



Caramelizing Walnuts and Pistachios
Photo by: Lord-Williams
3 lbs honey
2 c water
1 lb green walnuts (250 walnuts)
500 cloves
500 pistachios
ginger roots
500 pine nuts


Make a cut in the middle of every walnut on both sides and both ends.

Soak them in cold water for nine days and nights. Change the water daily.

Then scald them on boiling water. Soak them overnight. Put them in a pot with 3 lbs honey and 1 qt of water and cook it to reduce it to ½ qt.

Remove the walnuts from the pot and put them in a basket to drain overnight. Then spread them out on a screen and put them on their ends; leave them overnight.

Heat 13 lbs honey. When it boils, skim well and add the walnuts. Cook until the honey is sticky. Stick every nut with a clove on one end, a pistachio nut on the other a shaving of ginger and 1 pine nut.

Put all the nuts in a sauce dish and pour hot honey over them.

A simplified recipe created by the Medieval Spanish Chef:

Candied Walnuts with Chopped Pistachios
Photo by: Lord-Williams

3 c walnuts
¼ c chopped or ground pistachios
¼ c chopped or ground pine nuts[1]
1 tbsp ginger scrapings
1 tsp ground cloves
1 c honey
1 c butter



Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Heat honey in a sauce pan. Mix it with the other ingredients. 

Spread the ingredients on the parchment paper. Bake 5 more minutes.

Remove from oven. Let cool 10-15 minutes. Break them up and serve.

[1] As pine nuts were not available, more pistachios were added.

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