So here’s a wacky one.
At first blush, the historical recipe (included below) seems like it will produce a nice and simple candy. Then you skim over the word “chyconys”… Go on, say it. “Chicons…chick… chickens?” They really want me to put chicken in my candy?!
Now, I have to admit that I, well… chickened out, and left the chicken out of the candy. This time. I’m eager to try it again, and will certainly update the post when I do. In the meantime, here’s the “vegetarian” version, which turns out to make a simple yet tasty sort of candy. You get all the goodness of the honey flavor offset by the myriad spices. I have to warn that the candy, while quite brittle for the first couple of bites, then softens so as to stick quite firmly to one’s teeth. At that point, it becomes more of a sucking candy than a chewing one, which is no less pleasant a sweet. Here and there, the pine nuts give off their delightfully nutty flavor along with a textural give. On the whole, it’s a visually interesting treat, and easy enough to try out for yourself!
Where in Westeros?
As with so many of these dishes, I suspect that there would be regional variations throughout the south of Westeros, and possibly even up in a few of the wealthier Northern holdfasts, like Winterfell. This version, with its Christmasy spices, would fit in just as well there as anywhere. But what about a Dornish version, with bits of candied citrus peel and agave nectar? Or a Braavosi version, with exotic honey and bits of fig? What would be your choice of ingredients?
Pynade. Take Hony & gode pouder Gyngere, & Galyngale, & Canelle, Pouder pepir, & graynys of parys, & boyle y-fere; than take kyrnelys of Pynotys & caste ther-to; & take chyconys y-sothe, & hew hem in grece, & caste ther-to, & lat sethe y-fere; & then lat droppe ther-of on a knyf; & if it cleuyth & wexyth hard, it ys y-now; & then putte it on a chargere tyl it be cold, & mace lechys, & serue with other metys; & if thou wolt make it in spycery, then putte non chykonys ther-to.Put honey, spices, and pine nuts into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Keep boiling the mixture until it reaches 300°F (what’s called “hard crack stage” in candy making). Pour onto a baking sheet or piece of aluminum foil. Allow to cool and then break it into pieces and serve. -Two 15th c. Cookery Books
Cook’s note: Some folks are not fond of pine nuts, and others are not fond of their hefty price tag. You can easily substitute other nuts in this recipe, although you may have to chop them down a little first. Pistachios would lend a pretty color, while walnuts are a classic pairing with spiced honey. You can also mix and match the spices, based on what you have on hand.
- 2 cups honey
- pinch each ginger, galingal, cinnamon, ground pepper (black or long), and grains of paradise
- 3/4 cup pine nuts
Combine the honey and spices in a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat, and begin cooking. When the mixture reaches 300F, or hard-crack stage, remove from heat. Add the pine nuts, stirring vigorously to incorporate them. Pour the whole mix onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone pad. When cool, snap the brittle into pieces. Store tightly sealed at room temperature for several days.