Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Manus Christi

The treasury of commodious conceits, and hidden secrets: commonly called the good huswiues closet of prouision for the health of hir housholde.  Meete and necessarye for the profitable vse of al estates.  Gathered out of sundrye experyments, lately practised by men of greate knowledge: and now amplified and inlarged with diuers necessary and newe additions. by John Partridge, transcribed by Joanna Holloway[1573] PDF

"Manus Christ" means "hands of Christ," and this confection is called that because... uh... they are healing?  They are the shape of communion wafers?  They are sparkly?  They are supposed to prevent the plague and cure everything in the world.  Since I have made these, no one at my house has gotten bubonic plague, so they are 100% proven.  SCIENCE.  From transcribed letters I've seen, these seem to have been a popular gift from and to nobility during the reign of Henry VIII.

Take halfe a pownde of white Suger, put therto .iiii. ounces of Rosewater, seethe them vpon a softe fier of Coales, tyll the water be consumed, and the Sugre is become hard, then put therin a quarter of an ounce of the powder of Pearles, stirre them well togither, put for euery spoonfull a peece of a leafe of Golde cut of purpose: caste them vpon a leafe of white Paper, announted fyrste, with the Oyle of sweete Almonds, or sweete butter, for cleauing too.


Manus Christi Simple and Pearled.
Take of the best Sugar a pound, Damask-rose-water half a pint, boil them together according to art, to that thicknesse that it may be made into Lozenges, and if toward the latter end of the decoctiom, you ad half an ounce of Pearls prepared in pouder, together with eight or ten leaves of gold, it will be Manus Christi with pearls.

It is naturally cooling, apropriated to the heart, it restores lost strength, takes away burning feavers, and false imaginations, (I mean that with pearls, for that without Pearls is ridiculous) it hath the same vertues Pearls have.  A physicall directory, or, A translation of the London dispensatory made by the Colledge of Physicians in London ... by Nich. Culpeper, Gent. [1649]


Manus Christi
2 C. sugar
4 t. vinegar
3/4 C. water
1/8 t. cream of tartar
1/4 C. white corn syrup
Rose absolute, about 1 t.
Gold leaves

Mix the first five ingredients together carefully.  Bring to a boil, then put the lid on the pot for 2 minutes to melt the sugar off the sides.  Bring up to hard crack, then stir in rose oil and gold.  Spoon onto a buttered marble slab (or jelly roll pan) in little puddles.

If it hardens up while you are doing this, warm it up gently over low heat, just to get it liquid again.

Again, just as with the penydes, the vinegar, cream of tartar, and corn syrup aren't going to affect the texture or taste.  They just make it easier to work with and keep it from getting gritty longer.

Here are some failed attempts, from when I tried to cheap out and use edible gold spray paint, pearl luster dust, and gold luster dust.

Here is the best of the lot.  The pearl luster dust works the best, I think, and a little goes a long way.  If I make this again, I will try mixing it in.  While the gold is stunning, pearl luster dust may be the easiest way to go.

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