Original [Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book (1604)]

Sweet potatoes in rose and orange syrup

‘Boile your roots in faire water until they bee somewhat tender then pill of the skinne, then make your syrupe, weying to every pound of roots a pound of sugar and a quarter of a pint of faire water, & as much of rose water, & the juice of three or fowre oranges, then boile the syrupe, & boile them till they bee throughlie soaked in the syrupe, before you take it from the fire, put in a little musk and amber greece.’

My recreation
3 lbs of sweet potatoes
1 lb of sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cups rose water
3 oranges

  1. Bake sweet potatoes at 350 F for 45 minutes
  2. Once the are cool enough to touch, peel the skin off, then cut into bite sized cubes
  3. Juice the oranges
  4. Add sugar, water, rose water, and orange juice to a pan and bring to a boil
  5. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes
  6. Add sweet potato pieces to syrup, bring back to the boil, then reduce to simmer
  7. Simmer for 10 minutes and move to a heat proof bowl

What I learned.

  • Late 16th/Early 17th Century cooks would have had oranges closer to Seville oranges. Bottled sour orange juice is not sour orange juice but doctor orange juice. I will try this again when Seville oranges are in season
  • The recipe called for a one to one ratio sweet potatoes to sugar. That seemed excessive. However if these were candied sweet potatoes, that might not be too bad. I will try this ratio in the version with the fresh Seville oranges.