Breakfast on the Wall
When day broke, Jon walked to the kitchens as he did every dawn. Three-Finger Hobb said nothing as he gave him the Old Bear’s breakfast. Today it was three brown eggs, boiled hard, with fried bread and ham steak and a bowl of wrinkled plums. —a game of thrones
Serves 1 Cooking: 15 minutes
Pairs well with Black Bread (page 83), Iced Blueberries in Sweet Cream (page 44), dark ale
This is a simple, hearty breakfast sure to give a good start to any day. The ham steak is more of a commitment than the other parts of the dish, but each element of the meal works well with the others. The eggs can be either fully hard-boiled, or left slightly soft so as to better pair with the fried bread, while the prunes add an appealing touch of sweetness that counters the salt of the ham.
1 breakfast ham steak
1 tablespoon oil
2 slices rustic bread
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
A handful of prunes
Sear the ham steak in a skillet with the oil until it starts browning, then set it aside on the serving plate and keep it warm.
To cook the eggs, place them in a small saucepan and cover with a finger’s breadth of water. Bring the water to a simmer (not a boil), and simmer for 6 minutes. Cool the eggs rapidly by running them under cold water for 1 minute, and set them on the serving plate. For slightly softer eggs, cook for an initial 4½ minutes.
Melt the butter in the skillet you used for the ham and fry the slices of bread. Transfer the bread to the plate, add the prunes, and you’re ready to break your fast!
Jon was breaking his fast on applecakes and blood sausage when Samwell Tarly plopped himself down on the bench. “I’ve been summoned to the sept,” Sam said in an excited whisper. “They’re passing me out of training. I’m to be made a brother with the rest of you. Can you believe it?”
—a game of thrones
Makes about 24
Prep: 20 minutes Dough rising: 1½ hours Frying: 30 minutes
Pairs well with Breakfast on the Wall (page 15), black pudding, cold milk
The clear predecessors of the modern doughnut, these medieval applecakes are soft, chewy, and bursting with warm, nutty apple filling. Called krapfen in Germany, the fluffy fried morsels are filled with nutty apple goodness.
Einen krapfen. So du wilt einen vasten krapfen machen von nüzzen mit ganzem kern. und nim als vil epfele dor under und snide sie würfeleht als der kern ist und roest sie mit ein wenig honiges und mengez mit würtzen und tu ez uf die bleter die do gemaht sin zu krapfen und loz ez backen und versaltz niht.
—ein buch von guter spise, 1350
1¼ cups milk
2¼ teaspoons dry yeast (1 packet)
2 egg yolks, beaten
3 to 4 cups unsifted flour
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced
4 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Poudre Forte (see page 6)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped nuts—walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, and chestnuts are all lovely
Oil for frying
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Warm the milk just slightly to the touch and then add the yeast to it. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until the yeast has foamed up. Add in the egg yolks, 3 cups of flour, the salt, and the butter. Mix thoroughly by hand until you have a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding extra flour if needed.
Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop or board, and knead for several minutes, pushing with the heel of your hand, then gathering the dough back into a lump, adding more flour if necessary. Allow the dough to rise under a clean dishcloth for around an hour.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the apples, honey, spices, and nuts. Cook together over medium-low heat until the honey has been absorbed. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
On the floured countertop, roll out the dough to ¼-inch thickness, dividing the dough in half if space is limited. Using a 2-inch round cutter, stamp out disks of dough, reserving the scraps to roll out again.
When you have made as many disks as possible, use a pastry brush or your fingers to wet each of them with water. On half of the dough disks, place about 1 teaspoon of the filling, then place another round on top. Press the edges together firmly to seal, and allow them to rise for around 20 minutes.
Heat 1 inch of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Gently lower each cake into the hot oil with a slotted spoon. Fry until the dough is golden on both sides, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with a little confectioners’ sugar, if you like.