This Saturday, I got together with friends to try out some recipes, and this meeting had a histpry. When I had just found a publisher for my Landsknecht Cookbook, a friend in the SCA joked the only step down in respectability would be Pirates of the Caribbean. Soon after, left with some time on my hands, I skimmed Alexandre Exquemelin‘s De Americaensche Zee-Rovers for food references and was surprised to find quite a few. The project grew from there, and I am proud to announce that Zauberfeder Verlag has now commissioned a book on the subject. This sumptuous feast celebrated the annoucement.
The complete set of dishes, following a variety of seventeenth-century writers on the Caribbean, made a profoundly ahistoric meal of soup, main course, and dessert, but every single dish is documentable, and all were initial experiments. I will post more details on some of them in the coming days. For today, my object is the centerpiece of the dessert course: Guava pie.
The entire reconstruction is based on a line in William Dampier‘s New Voyage Round the World (p. 222) in which he states that, along with being boiled in stews while unripe and poached when ripe, guavas were used to make pie. Luckily, I was able to find some guavas in reasonable shape during my shopping (this is not always possible here), so I turned them into a relatively tame version of a seventeenth-century pie.
The crust is a basic combination of butter, flour, and eggs, though I suspect the local version would not have been. I covered the bottom with grated bread, then layered the sliced guavas alternating with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and butter. More adventurous contemporary recipes sometimes parboil, puree, or fry the fruit, and add meat, dried fruit, and interesting aromatics, but without any such evidence, I went with a simple approach and it paid off.
The filling came out soft and aromatic, with a nice balance of sweet and tart. The fruit cooked perfectly soft without soaking the crust. The only minor annoyance were the seeds that crumnched between the teeth every now and then, but this was not a real problem. I am happy with this recipe and will definitely do it again to refine it and maybe add a few contemporary tricks.