Two Anglo-Norman Culinary Collections

edited and translated by Constance B. Hieatt and Robin F. Jones

[the original recipe, translated]

Take best white flour and eggs, and make pasta dough; and in the pasta dough put find choice ginger and sugar. Take half of the pastry, (which is or should be) colored with saffron, and half (which is or should be) white, and roll it out on a table to the thickness of your finger; then cut into strips the size of a piece of lath; stretch it out on a table as illustrated; then boil in water; then take a slotted spoon and remove the cressees from the water; then arrange them on, and cover them with, grated cheese, add butter or oil, and serve.

[The "as illustrated" refers to a small drawing showing a grid--like a checkerboard, save that all squares are white.That plus the name suggests that the strips are being interlaced, which gives roughly that visual effect.]

Flour: 1 1/3 c

Eggs: 2

Ginger: 3/4-1 t [it would be interesting to try it with much more ginger]

Sugar: 2T

Saffron: 12-50 threads (see below)

Cheese: 3 1/2 oz parmesan, grated

Butter or oil: 1 T


Knead the eggs and the flour together until smooth; a tiny amount of water may help. Divide the dough in half. Grind the saffron in a mortar, than add 1/2 t water to extract the color; add the resulting liquid to half the dough and knead it in.

Roll out each half to about 3/8" thick. Cut in 3/4" strips. Interlace the strips, with the yellow going one way, the plain the other. I use a drop of water at each point where the strips cross to stick them together, then roll the whole thing slightly with a rolling pin at the end. The result is a criss-cross fabric of strips of dough.

Cressee before cooking

Cook in boiling water for about ten minutes. Remove from the water, drain.

Cressee after cooking

Spread half the cheese on a plate, take the cressee out of the water, drain it, put it on the plate on top of the cheese, put the rest of the cheese on top of the cressee, add olive oil or butter, serve.

Cressee with cheese

Using about 12 threads of saffron tastes fine but gives too pale a yellow from an aesthetic point of view. Using four times that much saffron makes it look good but has too strong a saffron taste unless you really like saffron. The pictures show the latter version.



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