Medieval Royal Recipes Tudor Mince Pie
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.
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 (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 Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye. 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
For the Pastry
- 100 g plain all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- Pinch of saffron dissolved in 1/3 cup water
- Pound the figs in a mortar. Add the dates and currants, pound.
- Slice, chop and finely grind the spices
- Add spices to the fruit. Combine
- Make the pastry and roll out very fine. Cut out small circles
- Add a very small amount of the filling to the pastry circles. Fold over to form a small pocket like a ravioli pasta packet
- Dampen the edges of the pastry with water and close
- Gently shallow fry in a light vegetable oil until golden brown - about 2 minutes
- Serve hot, dusted with sugar
Watch the Video
Have friends around for a Medieval Party
Tudor Cooking from the Royal Kitchen
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?
© 2011 Susanna Duffy