Jadwiga Zajaczkowa's version of
"How to Make Comfits"
Comfits are sugar-coated things-- usually seeds-- that were used in period
as breath mints and digestives. Comfits can be made with seeds such as anise,
fennel, coriander, caraway, and others (See the section of Rumpolt's
Ein New Kochbuch, c. 1581 that Mistress Gwen has translated,
) You can also make candied citrus peels and candied ginger, and they are
sometimes called comfits, or, if moist, suckets.
There are directions in Rumpolt, but the syrup method is the one I use. (I learned
it from a web page by Hauviette d' Anjou)
- Make a sugar syrup by combining 1/3 cup water with 1 cup sugar, and heating
until it reaches the soft-ball stage (235-240 degrees F on a candy thermometer).
- Reduce the heat to keep the temperature in that range (if it becomes too
hot, add a little water and stir, then wait until it comes back up to temperature).
- In a small (4-6 cups) curved-bottom metal bowl with high sides, put 1/3
- Using a tablespoon, put a spoonful of the syrup on the seeds.
- Immediately mix with a fork in a circular, side-scraping motion, as if you
were mixing batter.
- Keep mixing until the clump of seeds dries and separates back into the component
- Repeat with 1-2 tablepoons of sugar syrup, drying between coats, until your
comfits are well-coated with sugar (5-10 coats). If you have trouble getting
it to dry out between coats, try putting the bowl in the freezer for a few
minutes to reduce the ambient heat.
The comfits will be somewhat ragged and grayish-- color will improve if you
let them sit in an open bowl overnight.
More info on comfits: