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Medieval Royal Recipes Tudor Mince Pie

Updated on December 5, 2014

A Pie fit for a King - Recipe from the Royal Kitchens

Do you make fruit mince pies for Christmas? Once upon a time the English mince pie, known as Christmas Pye, was a large dish filled with various meats.

As Knights returned from the Medieval Crusades with spices, these exotic flavours were gradually added to pies until over the years the meat was fully replaced.

Here's a lovely recipe for a tasty fruit pie called " Ryschewys close and fryez", mince pies fit for the King. The Ryschewys is the pasta parcel filled with a spiced fruit and nut paste, to "close and fry" tells you what to do with them. Are these pies hard to make? Not at all, no need to decipher the language, it's already been done.

Skipton Castle

What kind of name is that for a pie?

Ryschewys close and fryez? It doesn't even sound like English!

There was still a lot of old French being spoken in Tudor times. I believe ryschewys was originally quelque chose, so let's make 'something'. Then we can seal and fry it.

The Original Recipes

It's pretty hard to find a copy of Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye (declarynge what maner of meates be beste in season, for al times in the yere, and how they ought to be dressed, and serued at the table, bothe for fleshe dayes, and fyshe dayes,), but a number of the recipes are also in Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats.

Martha didn't write these recipes, this book is made up of two culinary manuscripts of Tudor-Jacobean (recipes dated about 1580-1625) which she passed down to her granddaughter.

But here's the mince pye recipe

Mince Pye with Meat

To make Pyes - Pyes of mutton or beif must be fyne mynced and ceasoned wyth pepper and salte, and a lyttle saffron to coloure it, suet or marrow a good quantite, a lyttle vyneger, prumes, greate raysins and dates, take the fattest of the broathe of powdred beyfe, and yf you wyll have paest royall, take butter and yolkes of egges and so tempre the flowre to make the paeste.

You could make this pie with rich shortcrust pastry in your kitchen today. But we're going to make little fruit pies..

The Tudor Kitchen

For the Ryschewys filling

This is the closest I can get to the video demonstration


  • 3 - 4 dried chopped figs
  • 3 - 4 dried chopped dates
  • 1 tablespoon black currants
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Cast your vote for The Recipe for Ryschewys

For the Pastry

  • 100 g plain all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • Pinch of saffron dissolved in 1/3 cup water


  1. Pound the figs in a mortar. Add the dates and currants, pound.
  2. Slice, chop and finely grind the spices
  3. Add spices to the fruit. Combine
  4. Make the pastry and roll out very fine. Cut out small circles
  5. Add a very small amount of the filling to the pastry circles. Fold over to form a small pocket like a ravioli pasta packet
  6. Dampen the edges of the pastry with water and close
  7. Gently shallow fry in a light vegetable oil until golden brown - about 2 minutes
  8. Serve hot, dusted with sugar

Watch the Video

Have friends around for a Medieval Party

Tudor Cooking from the Royal Kitchen

All the King's Cooks: The Tudor Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace
All the King's Cooks: The Tudor Kitchens of King Henry VIII at Hampton Court Palace

I've pre-ordered my copy of All the King's Cooks. Apart from my fascination with the palace kitchens, I want the recipes drawn from contemporary sources


How do you feel about Medieval Recipes?

Would you like to try some Tudor Mince Pies?

See results

© 2011 Susanna Duffy

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    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Enjoyed learning more about Mince Pie. I don't think I have ever tried it but this old recipe does sound very interesting.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 4 years ago from Royalton

      Thanks for the history and interesting recipe. I recently learned from some British visitors to my bed and breakfast that Minced Meat Pies are considered English and are made tiny. I can hardly wait to try this Medieval Minced Meat Pie Recipe.

    • profile image

      moonlitta 4 years ago

      Food across centuries and across continents- resourceful as always, Susanna!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      You always teach me a thing or two. I had no idea that mince meat pie was originally made of meats. Another little dab of trivia to add to my already growing library of information that may one day come in handy lol. Have a great week.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow, history and food combined... I like the idea.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Old wine in a new bottle!? Fine wine and great recipes are a treat any time! Cheers to the cook! :)

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      Blessings for another interesting recipe.

    • profile image

      SandyPeaks 6 years ago

      When's the feast? Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image

      luxwebwizard 6 years ago

      Hi susannaduffy,

      Very interesting lens and also well done. Thanks a lot for sharing that... As I have created a lens about Medieval Festivals, so I have added your lens under "Related Lenses"...

      Keep up the good work...

      Have a nice day and best regards,


    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 6 years ago from USA

      Wow! Love old recipes, and this looks interesting. Thank you for sharing.