The Complete Practical Cook

After a long and unusual blog on butchering a pig, I thought something light would be nice. For the last year I have been looking at the picture of a Banniet Tort from a receipt of Charles Carter. I first saw this tort on Ivan Day’s* site and knew I would one day want to make it. Ivan Day is best known for his recreations of historic table settings, and has forty year’s experience of cooking period food. A Banniet Tort is made of many layers of pancakes, sugared fruit, sack and orange juice. We were having company that evening, so I thought it was time to make the tort.

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I started in the afternoon making paste and candying oranges peels. I had a jar of candied lemon and orange peels leftover from Christmas but wanted more orange. Next, I made the pancakes. I did not want them to be very thick so I made a very loose batter, somewhere between a pancake and a French crepe. I ended up with eight lovely brown thin pancakes. In a bowl, I mixed the fruit, some sugar and squeezed in a bit of orange. I would have used the sack, as in the receipt, but forgot to pick it up at the store. Not much cooking liquor in the cabinet after the holidays. I buttered the pan and cut parchment paper for the bottom and sides. I buttered the bottom paper and put the pasty in the pan. I sprinkle some of the fruit on the bottom of the pasty then started layering the pancakes and fruit. I brushed the pancakes with a little butter.  I folded over the sides and put a top on it and I squeezed the oranges so I would have juice for later.


I had a brisk fire going and put the kettle right inside to heat it up for about 20 minutes. Carter says to bake it off pretty quickly. In went the tort and I turned it every eight minutes or so. Well it was a hot kettle alright. After 15 minutes I looked and the top was flaky but black. Quickly I took the tort out of the kettle and brought it to the kitchen where I found the top peeled off very nicely. I thought for sure it was so burned it would be inedible. However, the rest of the tort was golden brown. Next time I won’t put so many coals on the top.

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We had swordfish for dinner, so something fruity and sweet was a perfect finish to the meal. After I cut it up, I poured in more orange juice and served it. Everyone liked it, and I’ll make this tort again, however, I’ll watch just how much heat I pile on the top.


  *Iva Day –



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About Sandie

Since I was a small child I have loved early fireplaces and the smell of smoke in an old house. However it was not until about Fifteen years ago that my journey into hearth cooking began. It all started at the Hurd House Museum in Woodbury Ct. I was the director of the Junior Docent program and among the programs each week we cooked. At about the same time a group of us started the Culinary Historians of Connecticut meeting once a month to discuss equipment used, receipt (18th century term for recipe), and anything between the late 1600 to late 1700 that had to do with hearth cooking. We were fortunate to try our hand at cooking at several Museums throughout Ct and many more private homes. We made cheese; we held a late 1600 dinner and shared our knowledge with others. Our group designrd our own tours such as the Kitchens of Old Wethersfield. In 2000 we were delighted to host the Historic Foodways group of ALFAM at the Hurd House during their conference at Mystic Seaport. We put together a great workshop of Puddings, Sausages, Brown Bread, Beverages you name it we offered it. I am now a member of the ALFAM foodways group. Then it was off to Colonial Williamsburg for the seminar The Art of 18th-Century Cooking: Farm to Hearth to Table. During the years I joined many workshops in Sturbridge Village plus their Dinner in a Country Village and breakfast at the Freeman Farm. So I was pretty much hooked on heart cooking and the 18th century way of life. I joined a wonderful group of ladies and we started the “Hive” a place to improve and grow your 18th century impression and offer research about material culture in 17070’s New England. We also travel with friends and have displays of clothing and teas at Museums in Massachusetts. Many events are held at the Hartwell Tavern at Minute Man National Park. They have been gracious enough to let us play there and entertain and share our knowledge with their visitors. Please visit our “Hive” site if the 1700 interest you. Then the move to New Hampshire and a job at Strawberry Banke in Portsmouth as the co-coordinator of the Junior Role Playing workshop and eventually cooking in front of the hearth at the Wheelwright house. Not only did I enjoy making my evening meals at the hearth to take home but also talking with the visitors. I am an entertainer after all, check out my program page. Most recently I am working at the Museum of Old York in Maine as an educator, hearth cook and organizer of the Junior Docent cooking program in the summer. See some photos in the archive file Because I do make food with the docents and serve food to the public at our Tavern Dinners I took the National Restaurant Association tests called ServSafe and now have my Certification as a Restaurant Manager. I look forward to the Museum of Old York opening again this March 2012 and getting back to the hearth and teaching, however for now I’m cooking at home and enjoying doing so.

3 thoughts on “BANNIET TORT

  1. Oh, I am going to do that one! Sounds and looks delicious. I surely wish I had not given away my crepe maker from the 70’s. It would be such a novelty, today. Will have to see if I can find another.

  2. Talk about a wonderful item to have this time of the year. It is like comfort food. Wish I was there to eat it. One day I may try it myself.

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