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Elizabeth I Tudor (1533-1603), the daughter of Henry VIII, was the fifth and last one of the Tudor dynasty to rule. Crowned in 1558, she had a long reign and she put in place a strong commercial and naval company for England that would later colonize America. Her era was called Elizabeth’s era and it was also a flourishing period for the arts and culture. The expression “God save the Queen” was pronounced with real conviction. She was truly beloved by her subjects. She was wise, energetic and was known to give a great importance to her looks, even at 45 she was still extremely sophisticated.
“It will be a great satisfaction to my name and to my glory if when I die you read these words on my tomb – Here lies Elizabeth, she was born a virgin and died a virgin”.
Elizabeth was called the Virgin Queen because she never wanted to marry, but her affairs were famous. In 1563, she decided on a law that forced her subjects to eat lean three times a week. If you didn’t obey, the punishment was three months in jail and a fine. The point was to urge the British to explore the seas and colonize new lands. Nonetheless, people kept eating large quantities of meat and even the Queen was welcomed by Lords with lavish banquets with roasts. Chroniclers of the time reported that the day of her enthronement, the court’s pastry chefs prepared a gigantic plum-cake representing the siege of Troy which is also the inspiration for the following recipe.
Recipe for Elizabeth’s plum-cake:
Ingredients: grapes, rum, butter, sugar, eggs, pastry flour, salt, orange peels and candied lemons.
Soak to soften the grapes in rum. With a wooden spoon work the butter and sugar until it turns into a cream. Unite the egg yolks and two full eggs. Add flour and yeast with a bit of salt. Drain the grapes and keep the rum aside, add it to the flour with the orange peels and candied lemons. Work the mixture with the liquor, pour everything in a mold. Cook the plum-cake in the oven, serve in slices.
This story is taken from the book Tacuinum dè Eccellentissimi, ali&no publisher.