In this section I have taken what I feel are my best recipes and advice from the Cookbooks that I have published previously within the Middle Kingdom. For the most part these are excerpts from the original cookery books. I hope you enjoy them.
Peter Pieman Pie Book
   Sausage and Meat Pye
   A French Meat Pye
   Steak And Onions Pye
   Mince Meat Pye

Journey Food
   Pennsic Porridge

A Swedish Smorgasbord
   Steket(Roast Goose)
   Inlagd Gurka (Pickled Cucumber)
   Fiske Kaker (Saffron Tuna Cakes)
   Frugt Suppa (Fruit Soup)
   Julglogg (Christmas Wine)

Vegetarian Delights
   Leeks cooked in Spiced Wine
   Chestnut Apple and Onion Pie

The Honey Pot
   Honey Butter
   Honeyed Cheese
   Honey Cake
   Honey Pie
   Apple Pudding

A fruit Tart
   Ingredients and Methods

Period Desserts
   Honey Saffron Pie

Peter Pieman Pie Book
I have always liked meat pies, or as written in Middle English "Mete Pys". It was the first medieval dish that I ever tried and for that reason I have been making meat pies for almost every occasion. They come in all shapes, sizes and ingredients. There are as many varied recipes as their are imaginations. I originally put together this book for a friend who didn't cook much, but thought she could do meat pies. Later I self-published it for about 4 years, selling over 75 copies in various forms.
One of the ways in which leftover meat was savered and thereby stretched to serve yet another meal, was to "hack it into gobbets" (little tiny pieces), place it in a "coffin" (pie crust), add eggs, spices and milk (this forms a custard) and bake it till done. If you see the origins of quiche in this you are not far off.
They did not have the same ideas about food that we have, sweet and savory could be mixed, spices were not traditionally used only for certain foods and a cook had to create edible food from what could have been inedible parts. As a result some very interesting combinations of foods were invented.
In meat pies try combing several meats, as seen in the Grete Pye. In this pie they had a layer of chicken combined with spices and fruits, topped by a layer of sausage.
A simple pie that is cost effective, easy to prepare and travels well is one that I created a few years ago with just the items I had on hand. I browned some ground beef, drained off the fat, added sautéed onion, raisins and cinnamon, put the mixture into a two crust pie shell, then baked at 350 degrees until the crust was browned, about 40 minutes. It may not have been strictly period, but it sure had a lot in common with them.
There are many versions of meat pies available, everyone has heard of Steak and Kidney Pie, Shepherd's Pie, and Pot Pies. There latest incarnation being the hot pocket which is not to unlike the Cornish Miners meat pies. Below is the first meat pie that I created for the very first event where I prepared feast. That was over 20 years ago and I have served it often since then at Dark River feast. It is based loosely on period recipes, but is really a compilation of lots of recipes that I read. I hope you enjoy it.

Sausage and Mushroom Pye

1 pound sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, washed and chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 - 9-inch two crust deep dish pie shell
Brown the sausage, rinse to remove excess grease. Brown the beef, rinse to remove excess grease. Combine meats and set aside. Sauté the onion and mushrooms in butter until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender. Drain and rinse to remove excess butter. Put meat in the bottom of the pie shell, top with onions and mushrooms, then top with the cheese. Put on the top crust. Crust air slits. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes. This is good hot or cold. The pie may be frozen for 1 month, but should be reheated when you thaw it. I have a signature top for this pie, if you have any pie crust dough left, make a hole in the center of the pie and then ring with eaves cut from the excess dough.

A French Meat Pie

1 - 2 crust pie shell
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon fresh sage, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a large skillet, except the pie shell. Cook stirring constantly until the meat is done, but not dry. Cool. Fill the pie shell and top with the second crust. Bake at 425 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Steak and Onion Pie

1 lb med onions, peeled and sliced
1 lb round steak, cut into 1 inch squares
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1-9 inch pie crust

Cook onions in butter. Dip steak in flour and brown. Salt and pepper when done. Mix onions, steak and spices in a bowl. Make a gravy from the steak drippings. Place meat mixture in crust. Pour gravy over it and top with crust. Flute edges and slit top to allow steam to escape. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until crust is brown.

Mince Meat Pies

Mince meats are a way of preserving meat. Meat was ground along with fruits, spices, sugar and a good measure of brandy. The mixture was then kept until Christmas. It was kept in a crock, sometimes with a lard coating around the crock surfaces and across the top of the meat mixture to seal. In this brew anything would keep. This recipe is a traditional English version. In period there would have been more meat, I experimented with adding 3 lbs of meat and the original amount of the rest of the ingredients. It was very good.
1 lb lean beef, simmer 1 hour and mince. This doesn't mean grind or to put through a sieve. You should still be able to see that this is meat.
In a soup pot add:
the Minced Beef
1/2 cup beef suet, chopped also fine
1 1/2 cups chopped tart apples
1/4 cup chopped raisins
2 tablespoons minced lemon rind
1/2 cup whole currants
1/4 teaspoon mace
1 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, allspice
1/2 nutmeg grated, use fresh if you can manage it.
1 cup broth, leftover from simmering the beef
1 cup cider
1 1/2 tablespoon vinegar
3 tablespoons honey (or molasses)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons of orange juice
1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Simmer all of this for an hour or two hours, you will know its done when it starts to thicken ever so slightly. Stir frequently. Longer time on lower heat is better.

1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup chopped nutmeats, I recommend almonds (optional)

You can store this mixture in a canning jar for a week or more in the refrigerator. If you plan to keep it longer I recommend you do the entire canning process or freeze it up to 3 months. If you don't want to simmer it on the stove (because you must stir it quite often) you may wish to do it in the oven instead. In a glass or ceramic crock you can bake at 300 degrees for an hour or so. When you are ready to bake this in a pie, fill a crust really full of the mince meat. Cover with a tight crust top and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Journey Food or Camp Cookery

I started my Pennsic career at Pennsic 7 and at that first outing I was invited along with the Shire of Carrig Ban to attend a feast by a Duchess, it consisted of chicken rolls, apple sauce, meat pies, bread and cheeses. This was the second feast that I had ever attend and I was duly impressed with the fact that it was done over a camp fire. This was the second cookery book that I produced, it was inspired at Pennsic, when most of the people that I camped with knew little to nothing about camp cooking and managed to do the entire weekend on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Filling but not very inspired. Also, at that war I bought my very first SCA Cook Book, called Dagger Lickin' Good. A thin volume that has grown quite well over the years. I went home and started cooking for the next war and kept notes. Most of what I produced could be found commercially, but learning to do it on my own was fun, educational and somewhat filling.
General Tips
Don't try to find small sizes. Bring the regular sizes of condiments, salt, pepper, etc. You will use them, if you are skimping to save on packing space, the kitchen box isn't the place to do it. You need to eat and drink well on SCA weekends.
If you must skimp do the back packing trick of premixing everything into plastic bags. Just don't forget the recipes and mark everything carefully. Mystery food may be an adventure but is it edible?
Never be a martyr. If you are cooking for your camp make it plain, up front, that they get to help. There is plenty for everyone to do. Fire building, water lugging, and dish washing comes readily to mind.
If anything in your cooler or premixed supplies looks or smells "funny" or out and out "rank", dispose of it immediately. Eating spoiled food is a Medieval pastime, but if you read the histories you will see that it is a practice that can be fatal.
Do not pack your entire kitchen, one or two of everything should be sufficient. A better plan is to look at your menus and then pack only the utensils that you need for those meals. Why bring a strainer if you don't intend to cook pasta? Bring only the utensils you will need for the dishes you intend to cook.

Camp Kitchen Packing Check List

  Oven mitts
  dish towels
  paper towels
  dish sponge
  scrub brush
  dish pan
  strainer for drying dishes
  dish soap
  water containers
  tin foil
  garbage bags
  plastic food bags (ziplock)
  lighter fluid
  pan spray
  olive oil
  salt and pepper
  dutch oven
  1 quart sauce pan
  coffee pot
  cookie sheets
  pie plate
  turning fork
  wooden spoons
  rolling pin
  mixing bowl
  cutting board
  sharp paring knife
  sharp carving knife
  table service

Here are some of my favorite recipes. This first recipe actually evolved at Pennsic from my dislike of cooking breakfast.
Pennsic Porridge
Soak half a cup of dried apples overnight in 1 cup of water or cider. If your stew pot has a lid put it in there, and put the lid on until morning. In the morning add:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup of honey or 1/3 cup sugar
(recommend turbinado sugar as it has a molasses taste to it).
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1/2 cup almonds

Make up enough oatmeal for 6 people, this can be the quick oats, when these are done add the fruit mixture, stir it in well and eat. This is better with oatmeal that actually has to cook, because the flavors meld better. But the quick versions are good too.


These were used extensively during the Middle Ages because they could be made up quickly, were made of anything on hand, could be served hot or cold, and were designed to feed a lot of people in a hurry. They were the fast food of the times. Fritters are basically pancakes with meat, vegetables, cheese or fruit minced in them. They could be savory or sweet and the dough could range from crepe thin to as heavy as a modern day biscuit. It changed regionally. Most modern people do not eat pancakes except for breakfast, but for most of history they were served for dinner. I recommend using a batter mix for your fritters. Buckwheat or Wheat mixes are probably the closest to period. Experiment with various fillings, leftovers are great for this type of dish. Start with a pancake batter, mix in your fillings, fry on a griddle or skillet that is well oiled. For those of you with Scottish or Irish persona you might want to try the fillings with a scone mixture and brown them on a griddle. One thing to remember is that if you are using yeast you are making a more period item as baking soda and baking powder are modern inventions.
Filling Ideas

1. Chopped ham and shredded Swiss Cheese
2. Cooked beef or pork, chopped onion, mushrooms, topped with gravy
3. Mandarin Oranges, 1 tablespoon honey, and cinnamon
4. Chopped apple and cooked sausage
5. Leftover Chicken, sage, onion and apple.

A different version of fritters is to make them up without fillings, fold them like a taco and fill with various combinations.

1. Sliced meats and cheeses
2. Chicken or Tuna Salad
3. Apple Pie Filling

Or place fritter flat on a plate and smother with stew. Its very versatile.

A Swedish Smorgasbord

The Smorgasbord is a very old Swedish tradition, rumored to have its origins in the late 1500's, originating at country gatherings to which each guest brought some kind of food. All the food was arranged on a long table around which the guest walked, filling their plates. The idea was different then modern buffets. The idea was not to pile your plate with a mixture of all the various dishes, but to make several trips to the smorgasbord, to relax and digest in between trips. When eating the Smorgasbord one always begins with bread, butter and herring, accompanied by a small glass of cold brannvin or beer.
A Smorgasbord may consist of a variety of breads and butter, anchovies, herring, smoked or boiled salmon, cold meats such as goose, ham or beef, pickled vegetables such as cucumbers and beets, shrimp, liver pate, omelets with a variety of fillings, sausages, olives, pickles, radishes, cheeses, open faced sandwiches, fruit soup, and a variety of desserts and cookies. Here are my favorite of the Swedish Recipes.

Steket gas

(Roast Goose)
1 young goose (10 to 12 lbs)
1 1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
6-8 apples, peeled and cut into quarters
20 prunes, pitted
1 to 2 1/2 cups stock

Rub goose inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff with prunes and apples. Bake with a little water at 425 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Baste frequently. When almost done baste with 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water to make the skin brittle and leave oven door slightly open. Remove the goose to a platter and carve leaving slices in place. Make gravy from drippings.

Inlagd Gurka
(Pickled Cucumber)

1/2 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sugar
dash of salt and pepper
1 tablespoons chopped parsley

Slice one 7-inch long cucumber thinly. Place in a deep bowl. Combine all other ingredients. Pour over cucumbers. Allow to stand at least 3 hours before serving, best to allow to stand 2 days before serving.

Fiske Kaker
(Saffron Tuna Cakes)

This is a recipe that I created, with a great deal of help from my Mom. I tried several fish cake recipes and either didn't like the textures or the overall flavor. So I decided to use the salmon cake recipe that my Mom used as I was growing up. Then I decided that I didn't like the mess of deboning and skinning the salmon that came in cans (boned and skinned salmon is very expensive) so I decided to try the recipe with tuna. Then I saw a recipe that had saffron in its fiske kaker and I added that as well. The result of this often changed recipe is pretty good.

1 can white tuna
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup minced onion
1/8 teaspoon powdered saffron
3 slices of bread, dried and grated into crumbs
1/4 cup milk

Flake the tuna into a bowl, add the beaten egg, onion and saffron. Mix well. Stir the milk into the bread crumbs and add to the fish mixture. Mix well. Add enough milk to make the mixture stick together. Bake in muffin tins at 350 degrees until done about 30 minutes. Makes about 24 small cakes or 12 large ones. These can also be fried in a skillet as patties.

Frugt Suppa
(Fruit Soup)

1 1/2 pounds dried fruit (apples, apricots, peaches, pears, prunes, and raisins)
1/2 cup tapioca
7 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup maraschino cherries

Put everything in a crockpot except for the cherries. Cook 4 to 6 hours on low. Add Cherries. May be served hot or cold. If its to thick add more water.

(Christmas Wine)

1 bottle (1 liter) aquavite
1 bottle claret or red wine
10 cardamoms
5 cloves
3 bitter orange peels
4 figs
1 cup blanched almonds
1 cup raisins
1 1/2 inch stick cinnamon
1/2 lb lump sugar

Pour spirits into a kettle. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the lump of sugar. Cover and heat slowly to the boiling point. Take out about half the glogg and put in another pan. Put sugar on iron grill and place over kettle. Then put match to the glogg and pour burning glogg over sugar until melted. Remove grill and cover kettle. Cool to drinking temperature (hot but not boiling). Serve in wine glasses with raisins and almonds. This makes a lot of glogg and its somewhat dangerous. Keep all children well away from the process and make sure you have fire precautions well at hand. I add it here because it is rather spectacular, one year everyone came into the kitchen to watch "The pouring of the glogg", we even dimmed the lights.

Vegetarian Delights

This is not strictly an SCA cookery booklet. A friend of mine did a stint at Oxford's Woman's College of Medieval Studies. She spent a glorious summer in England and came back a devoted vegetarian. The problem that many chefs have is serving a growing number of vegetarians when most people think that all medieval feast and recipes were mostly meat. But if you look at the number of fast days when meat was not allowed you will discover that over half of the year was devoted to fish and vegetarian foods, not to mention all the monks and nuns that were never allowed to eat meat at all. So I thought that I would make a fast day feast which would be basically vegetarian fare. To that end I went through some of her vegetarian recipes and some period recipes and came up with some similarities. This section of recipes is the results of that cross search. I have always wanted to do a fast day feast. Maybe someday I will.

Leeks cooked in Spiced Wine

1 1/2 lbs leeks sliced into 2 inch lengths
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
6 peppercorns
a pinch of salt
5 ounces white or red wine

Heat oil and add leeks. Fry gently stirring often for 5 minutes. Add bay leaf, spices, salt, and the wine. Simmer covered for 15-20 minutes or until leeks are tender. Remove bay leave and whole spices before serving.

Chestnut Apple and Onion Pie

In the south of France, chestnuts were once a cash crop and was relied upon as a staple by the peasantry. The original recipe contained pork as well and had a scribbled note in the margin that it was from the 14th century originating in a monastary. You may have to go to a health food store in order to get chestnuts either canned or in a vacuum pack. If you use fresh, cook and peel them.

1 - 9 inch pastry
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups onion chopped
1 lb apples, chopped
10-11 ounces cooked, peeled chestnuts - cut in quarters
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon sage
3 medium eggs beaten
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan and sauté onions until they are golden brown. In a large bowl combine onions, apples, chestnuts, herbs, salt, pepper and eggs. Fill the pie shell and place on top shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. You can serve with a cucumber sauce (basically you chop about a cup of cucumber finely and add to 1 cup sour cream or yogurt).

The Honey Pot
For Poo's Everywhere

Honey has been the primary sweetener for most of history, and as SCA cooks we should be at least familiar with it and how it works within our recipes.
A Very Brief History of Honey
From cave drawings and straining vessels from the Neolithic period it can be assumed that honey was discovered as a food and source of sweetness very early. A cave painting dating 7,000 B.C. in Bicorpin, Spain shows a hunter taking honey comb from a bees nest. Another prehistoric painting in Valencia, Spain which is estimated to be about 15,000 years old shows men gathering honey from a hole in a cliff.
Sugar was commercially available by 300 B.C. from its native China. But the high cost of refining along with easy spoilage made it impractical. It was taken to Greece in 325 B.C. introduced into Europe in the 8th century by the Moors via Spain and brought back from the crusades in the 13th Century. It was generally used as a medicine. The Chinese believed that bees flew to paradise and collected nectar from the Celestial Gardens and returned to earth with it.
Sweeteners came from fruits or honey. Sugar made from sugar cane was very expensive and was sold in large cones. Only the very rich could afford to use sugar on a regular basis. It was used mostly on High Holidays.
Most of the sugar was only partially refined or was very close to a raw state. In most cases the sugar would have tasted like Molasses, which they called treachel. Molasses is a byproduct of refined sugar and for many years only a small amount of it was produced, and then it was used medicinally. But the molasses taste was very well known as it was part of the sugar which was distributed in cones or blocks. Cooks had to grate the sugar off the cone, which results in a fine powder. If you are ever in Williamsburg, VA, you can still buy sugar in cones wrapped in blue paper. The indigo dye in the paper discouraged bugs. You can experiment with the cones to see just how fine a product you can achieve. I think you can also get cone sugar in Mexican specialty stores.
Bee's are the source of honey and some castles kept their own hives, but in England it was the monasteries that kept bees and sold the honey to help support their holy orders. When Henry the VIII started shutting down the monasteries and forcing the clergy from their homes there was a wide spread shortage of honey.
Buying Tips
When purchasing honey you should be aware that there are many types. Honey varies from region to region, because of the type of plants the bees have access to and from the time of year the honey was made. A simple way in which to pick a honey is to look at its color. The darker the honey, the stronger the flavor. Clover honey is light and mild. Buckwheat honey is very dark and strong. Use mild flavored honey most of the time as it is the one that is most readily available and the one most people are familiar with. Use dark honey when glazing meats, such as ham or fowl. You might also try it in gingersnaps or any recipe that calls for molasses.
Storage Tips
If you leave your honey uncovered it will lose its scent and pick up odors and flavors. Store honey at room temperature. Light will also discolor your honey, so store in a cool, dry preferably dimly lit area, such as a pantry or cupboard. Do not freeze honey, as it will deteriorate.
If you honey crystallizes, remove lid and place jar in warm water until crystals dissolve. Or, microwave 1 cup of honey in a microwave safe container on high 2 to 3 minutes or until crystals dissolve. Stir every 30 seconds and do not boil or scorch. To much heat will cause the honey to change color and flavor, so watch closely to make sure honey is heated but not burnt. Crystallized honey can be baked into some things, I have done so with bread and pound cakes.
If your honey has been diluted with water or other liquid you should keep it refrigerated to prevent molding or fermentation.
Cooking Tips
Remember that honey is sweeter than sugar, but you can convert most sugar recipes to honey recipes by following a few simple rules.
Honey can be substituted for all the sugar in some recipes. You can substitute honey measure for measure, in puddings, pie fillings, custards, salad dressings, glazes, sweet and sour dishes and any type of drink. In cakes use 1/2 to 3/4 cups of honey in place of every cup of sugar. For hard or crisp cookies use 1/3 of required sugar, and for soft cookies use 1/2 of required sugar. When making bread you may use honey to activate your yeast. 3 teaspoons of honey for each package of yeast is a good mix. Reduce the amount of liquid in baked goods recipes by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used.
Coat your measuring spoon or cup with a small amount of oil or spray with a vegetable cooking spray. This will eliminate the problem of the honey sticking to the spoon or cup.
Honey retains and absorbs moisture. This is why some honey flavored cakes improve in flavor and texture when aged a few days. Store where the temperature won't go over 75 degrees and drops no lower then 40 degrees.
Honey has a natural acidity so you might want to add a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) baking soda for each cup of honey used in baked goods.
Reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees F (12 degrees C) to prevent overbrowning of baked goods. Additional time may be needed, so add 5 to 10 minutes. Honey helps baked goods to stay soft.

Honey Recipes
Two Standards at SCA Feast

Honey Butter
- Beat 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of honey or spun honey together until well blended. I like to use the spun honey as it blends well with the butter and doesn't seep back out again.
Honeyed Cheese
- Beat 6 ounces of cream cheese and 1/3 cup of honey until well blended. Serve either or both of these with the bread and cheese course.

Honey Cake

1 cup honey
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon each of ginger and nutmeg
2 tablespoons warm water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Whip honey and butter together. Beat in egg. Sift sugar and flour. Stir nuts into flour. Stir into butter mixture. Combine water and baking soda. beat into batter. Pour into a prepared 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Honey Pie

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell
1 cup cottage cheese, drained
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs beaten
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
chopped nuts

Mix cheese, honey, eggs, and cinnamon. Fill pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and more cinnamon.

Apple Pudding

3/4 cup butter
1 cup honey
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped

Cream butter and honey. Beat in egg. Sift all dry ingredients. Stir into creamed mixture. Stir in apples, turn into greased oblong pudding pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm with heavy cream.

This recipe I have deciphered, recreated for an Arts & Science competition. I have left in my documentation and processes of working up the recipe. I hope that this helps when you start with a period recipe.

A Fruit Tart
This dish was originally developed for a class I was giving on Period Desserts. I have created a tart that is decorative, Period, and very tasty. My primary source for the Tart is: The Good Huswifes Jewell, by Thomas Dawson, 1596 imprinted in London for Edward White, dwelling at the litle North doore of Paules at the Sign of the Gun.
To Make all maner of Fruite Tartes.
Original Recipe: You must boyle your fruite, whether it be apple, cherrie, peach, damson, peare, Mulberie, or codling, in faire water and when they be boyled inough, put them into a bowle, and bruse them with a Ladle, and when they be colde, straine them, and put in red wine or Claret wine, and so season it with sugar, sinamon and ginger.
My interpretation: Boil Peaches in water until they are tender. Mash them a bit in a bowl (not to mashed as a ladle doesn't chop as much as it crushes). Stain the peaches. Add wine. Season with sugar, cinnamon and ginger. It doesn't tell you when to place in crust, so I decided to place the peaches in the crust before adding the other pie ingredients. It really doesn't say to soak the peaches in the wine, like a modern recipe suggested.
So that my Tart would have an overall period taste and look I also decided to use a period recipe for the crust. I decided that to get the proper feel for the era, it should be one from the same time and culture, so I again looked to Thomas Dawson. The primary source for my Crust is: The Second Part of the Good Hus-wives Jewell, 1597.

To Make Fine Paste.
Original Recipe: Take faire flower and wheat, & the yolkes of egges with sweet butter, melted, mixing all these together with your hands, til it be brought down paste, & then make your coffins whether it be for pyes or tartes, then you may put Saffron and suger if you will have it a sweet paste, having respect to the true seasonings some use to put to their paste Beefe or Mutton broth, and some Creame.
My interpretation: Take flour and wheat flour, yolks of eggs and sweet butter melted, cream, sugar and saffron. Mix with hands until it forms a dough.

For the Crust:

1 1/2 cup regular flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of saffron, (crocus sativus) ground in a mortar (my pinches do seem to vary).
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup melted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons milk

Combine the dry ingredients. Make sure you have ground your saffron very fine. Mix well to get the saffron throughly blended. Add the yolks and melted butter, work that in well and then start adding milk. I added it one tablespoon at a time. Generally 3 tablespoons are enough, but occasionally four are necessary. When you have a good consistent dough, it is ready to roll out. Make a bottom crust and line a pie plate with the crust. Because the filling is very juicy I baked the bottom crust for 10 minutes at a very slow oven, 300 degrees, not so much to fully bake the bottom crust, but to dry it out enough to remain firm when the pie was completed. Fill with your fruits, and place a top crust over the top. I like to crimp the edges of the pie, there isn't instruction to do so in these recipes, but it's a habit.
Crust Decoration: I have painted a design on the top of my pie crust, decorated pies were a common thing. See the plate of pie crust designs that were originally printed in Robert May's The Accomplished Cook, 1660 Reprinted in Dining with William Shakespeare, page 241. This design is painted on with a saffron soaked in water mixture.
The use of this particular design comes from a much earlier time as chronicled by Matthew Paris (1243) on a bouquet that was presented after the coronation of Henry V, one item from the long list of dishes called "flampeyne" which was a pie or tart was described as "flouryshed with a scotchone royal, and therein three crowns of gold plantyd with floure de lyce and flowers of enamyll wrought of confections." The design was inspired by this description, although the entire design on the aforementioned pie was not used, just the "floure de lyce".
You will see in the plate that has shapes of breads and pastries, a very destinct shape of the modern pie shape, complete with fluted edges. For that reason I used a regular pie plate with slanted sides.
For the Filling:

7 small winter peaches
1 cup of water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
1/4 teaspoon ginger (zingiber officinale)
1 tablespoon red wine

Peel and slice the peaches. Place them in the water and simmer until they are almost tender. Do not over cook them, as they still have to bake and you don't want them to become mushy. Drain them very well. Place them in the crust. Combine the sugar and the spices. Sprinkle the pie with the mixture. Sprinkle the red wine over the sugar. Put on the top crusts and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or longer, at a moderate oven, which is somewhere between 325 and 350 degrees, depending on how your oven works. I baked my pie at 325 degrees for about 50 minutes. You might also need to adjust the time it bakes, the top crust may look done, but the bottom crust because of the heavy liquid content of this pie, may still be only half baked. The trick is to get the bottom crust done without burning the top crust.

Discussion of Ingredients and Methods:
For this entry I have decided to use peaches. Peaches in period would have been smaller and a little more tart. Peaches were available in Anglo-Saxon England as early as the 10th and 11th century, it would stand to reason that they were well used by the period of this recipe. For that reason winter peaches work very well. I have made a two crust pie, tarts I believe are generally open faced, but experimenting with this recipe I have found that it is very juicy, making a two crust pie a better idea. I have used milk in place of cream in the recipe, because so small amount would mean I wasted the rest of the carton. I did however use whole milk.
In the recipe for the paste there are extra ingredients listed at the end of the recipe, but I have take them to mean that you can change the crust to whatever dish you are making. If you have a beef pie, add beef broth to the crust. Since this crust was to be used for a fruit pie, I made the crust with the sugar and saffron, broth would be inappropriate for this recipe. The sugar and saffron were added to the dry ingredients of the crust, if you merely sprinkle them into the pie shell you would be flavoring the filling not the crust.
I did experiment with using a spoon to stir, but hands really do work better in this process, please note for sanitary reasons I wore plastic gloves while mixing the dough.
This is a very juicy pie, for that reason I did not choose to drown my fruit in the wine. Wine brings out the flavor of fruit, it should also color the peaches a little.
Spices: All of these spices are in period as they are mentioned in the original recipe.
Saffron - botanical name crocus sativus is derived from the dried stigmas of the purple saffron crocus, it takes anything from 70,000 to 250,000 flowers to make one pound of saffron. Records detailing the use of saffron go back to ancient Egypt and Rome where it was used as a dye, in perfumes, and as a drug, as well as for culinary purposes. It reached China in the 7th century and spread through Europe in the Middle Ages. Most notably within my research were the towns of San Gimignano, in Italy and Saffron Walden which is in the north-west corner of Essex, England. Saffron Walden produced enough saffron to create enough wealth within the community that it changed the towns name to include Saffron. In 1228 the Town Council of San Gimignano paid its debts, incurred during the siege of the "Castello della Nera", partly in money and partly in saffron. In 1276 the Council introduced taxation on imports and exports. The export duty produced such a great deal of money that in 1295 the Council decided that it was worth assigning two officials adept in the weighing of saffron to be permanently present at the gates of the City where the export duty was levied.
Culpeper's The Complete Herbal, 1649 - SAFFRON The herb needs no description, it being known generally where it grows. Place : It grows frequently at Walden in Essex, and in Cambridgeshire.
Government and virtues : It is an herb of the Sun, and under the Lion, and therefore you need not demand a reason why it strengthens the heart so exceedingly. Let not above ten grains be given at one time, for the Sun, which is the fountain of light, may dazzle the eyes and make them blind; a cordial being taken in an immoderate quantity, hurts the heart instead of helping it. It quickens the brain, for the Sun is exalted in Aries, as he hath his house in Leo. It helps consumptions of the lungs, and difficulty of breathing. It is excellent in epidemical diseases, as pestilence, small-pox, and measles. It is a notable expulsive medicine, and a notable remedy for the yellow jaundice. My opinion is, (but I have no author for it) that hermodactyls are nothing else but the roots of Saffron dried; and my reason is, that the roots of all crocus, both white and yellow, purge phlegm as hermodactyls do; and if you please to dry the roots of any crocus, neither your eyes nor your taste shall distinguish them from hermodactyls.
Saffron powerfully concocts, and sends out whatever humour offends the body, drives back inflammations; applied outwardly, encreases venery, and provokes urine. The use of it ought to be moderate and reasonable, for when the dose is too large, it produces a heaviness of the head and sleepiness. Some have fallen into an immoderate convulsive laughter which ended in death.'
Cinnamon - It has a long history; Egyptian embalming mixtures; Roman costly purchases. It is largely responsible for the 1400's world exploration Cinnamomum zeylanicum originates from the island Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon), southeast of India.
Culpeper's The Complete Herbal, 1649 Cinnamonum. Cinnamon, and Cassia Lignea, are hot and dry in the second degree, strengthens the stomach, help digestion, cause a sweet breath, resist poison, provoke urine, and the menses, cause speedy delivery to women in travail, help coughs and defluxions of humours upon the lungs, dropsy, and difficulty of urine. In ointments it takes away red pimples, and the like deformities from the face. There is scarce a better remedy for women in labour, than a dram of Cinnamon newly beaten into powder, and taken in white wine.
Ginger - Ancient texts of the Chinese, Indians, and other Middle East cultures include references to ginger as a culinary and medicinal spice. By the Second Century A. D., dried or powdered ginger was being exported from China via caravans to flavor the foods on the Romans' tables. It remained popular throughout the centuries, despite the fact that it was an imported food and therefore quite expensive. In Elizabethan England a pound of ginger was worth the price of a grown sheep. Nevertheless, it was the most common spice used, after pepper. This high cost of importing spices they could not grow domestically (including ginger) was a significant impetus in the great exploration voyages of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In folklore, ginger is associated with heat, and therefore hot tempers. In Medieval times, it was believe that ginger could make a person more lively. This association with liveliness and heat seems to have rubbed off onto people with red hair, who were generally believed to be more susceptible to having a hot temper. How did the connection between ginger (which is more of a blond color) and red hair came about? My best guess is that it may have to do with the color of pickled ginger, which is bright red. Culpeper listed ginger as a root that was hot in the 3rd degree, which was also associated with the color red and temperment.
Oven Type: Since I live in a small house with no available fireplace or woodburning oven, I used a conventional gas oven to bake my pie. In period, if they had access to an oven, they would have baked the pie in a wood burning, front loading oven with a wooden or metal door. Since this is a late period recipe the oven would have been made of brick or stone with the coals banked in front of the oven opening to allow the oven to evenly heat without a temperature drop when the door was opened. The pie would have been put in and out of the oven with a pele which was a long handled paddle or clamp which allowed the person to position it in the back oven where it would have been the hottest or most evenly heated area. The distribution of heat in this type of oven is very different from the ovens that we use today. One way in which you can get a similar heat distribution is to bake the pie on a stone, such as a pizza stone. I also used a glass pie pan which helped in the correct distribution of heat.
I work up most of my feast recipes one at a time in this manner, deciding which ones I like well enough to serve to my guest. This makes an excellent dish for a feast, it is not overly time consuming, can be prepared the day before (provided there is adequate refrigeration), and it is (besides being very tasty) decorative. All feast dishes should be rated individually for their visual presentation as well as their overall taste. Then the dish should be combined with other dishes from the same period and country that compliment one another to be the basis for each course in your feast.
Ideally this pie should be presented to your guest warm or slightly hot, straight from the ovens. But we do not always work in ideal conditions, it also taste good cold. I hope you enjoy the pie, and that you might want to try the pie in other the other fruits mentioned in the original recipe. I have done other fruits but found that I like the peach pie the most personal preference, the ginger especially with the peach has a good flavor.

Outline for Cooking Class
Period Desserts
Presented March 1999 by Lady Annyse Lionstone
At Rush back to Rum in the Shire of Dark River


We will be using two different types of wafer recipes. This section of the class is based on the work of Johnnae Llyn Lewis who wrote articles about cooking for TI issues #62 and #63.
Batter Recipe - Wafers with Orange or Rose Water
8 oz of flour
5 oz sugar
3 large eggs
2 oz melted butter
2 1/2 oz milk
orange flower water or rose water
lemon zest (opt)

mix the eggs with the sugar and flour. Add the milk, butter, small amount of the lemon zest and enough of either the rose or orange water to make a smooth batter. Bake in your iron.
Dough Recipe - Honey Wafers
8 oz flour
a pinch of salt
4 oz butter
1 ounce of double cream (I always use milk)
2 tablespoons honey

Rub the butter into the salt and flour. Add the honey and cream and work the dry ingredients into the cream and honey until the mixture holds together. Then roll the mixture into small balls. Ready the wafer irons and place one of the balls in the iron. This is a 15th Century recipe adapted from Ayrton's Cookery of England.
Other additions. We can add cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, or aniseed. I prefer the cinnamon in the Honey Wafer recipe, and I like to add bit of orange flavoring to the batter recipe.
Period Recipe:
To Make Wafers.
Take a pinte of flowre, put it into a little creame with two yolks of eggs and a little rosewater, with a little seared Cinamon and Sugar, work them altogether and bake the paste upon hote Irons. Sir Hugh Plat's Delightes for Ladies, 1609.

Honey Saffron Pie

1 cup cream (use light cream or half and half)
3 eggs (I hate to waste eggs)
3 tablespoons of honey
2 pinches of saffron
Gram pie shell

Whisk the cream and eggs until well blended. Blend in the honey (make sure it doesn't settle to the bottom). Add the saffron and pour into your pie shell. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. You may serve this hot or cold.
To make a tart of Strawberries (Good Huswifes Jewell) Wash your strawberries, and put them into your tart and season them with sugar, cynamon and ginger, and put in a little red wine into them.
About a pint of strawberries (frozen works as long as they are whole berries) 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons red wine.
Put the strawberries, either cut in half or as whole berries, into your pie shell. Mix the spices, sugar and wine. Spoon over the strawberries. Bake at about 350 degrees until the crust is done about 30 to 40 minutes. Watch this closely so it doesn't get over done.
A different type crust for this was found with a different strawberry tart recipe and you can always try it with this recipe if you like.
To make short paest for tarte (A proper Newe Book of Cookery) Take fyne floure and a cursey of fayre water and a dysche of swete butter and a lyttel saffron, and the yolks of two eggs and make it thynne and as tendar as ye may.
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon water
2/3 stick butter
large pinch saffron
1 egg
Make as you would a regular pie crust. It is basically a shortbread crust.


Original recipes (make a basic cookie). Using premade dough make the checky shields and the decorated cookies. We could make small tarts with a cookie crust.
Shortbreads are fairly old in origin with a basic cookie made from flour, sugar and butter. Shrewsberry Cakes as written down by John Murrell in A Delightfull Daily Exercise for Ladies and Gentlewomen uses nutmeg and rosewater for flavoring and a silver cup or glasse about 3 to 4 minches round to cut them to a uniform shape.
Originating in shrewbery these cakes are mentioned in 1561 in the bailiffs accounts as having cost the town 2 shillings when the town council presented Lord Stafford with "a dossen of fyen kakys." Other shortbreads or butter cookies were made with eggs, seed cakes are a shortbread cookie that has some kind of seed added to them.
Shrewberry Cakes

2 cups flour
2/3 cup butter
1 teaspoon rose water or 1/2 teaspoon rose flavoring
1 tablespoon water
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix, cut out using a glass or cup. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Basic Shortbreads

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 to 2 tablespoons water
almond flavoring

Mix well, work the dough with your hands until it begins to hold together. Add a little of the water to help make a dough. Use either the almond or the cinnamon to flavor your dough. Use either shortbread molds or shaped tins. Use food coloring to paint, tint or otherwise decorate these cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cookie.

Orange Omelette for Harlotts and Ruffins. This was a taster dish for those attending class.
Orange Omelette for harlots and Ruffians - Take eggs and break them, with oranges, as many as you like, squeeze their juice and add to it the eggs with sugar. Then take olive oil or fat and heat it in the pan and add the eggs. This was for ruffians and brazen harlots.
5 eggs
2 oranges
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon or less of olive oil

Juice the oranges leave in some of the orange pulp. Beat the eggs, add the juice, the sugar. Heat the olive oil in the skillet until it is hot. Cook the eggs, roughly into an omellette. They also do well as scrambled eggs. Serve immediately.
Excerpt from the Medieval Kitchen, recipes from France and Italy. Differences in their recipe: they added salt and a lemon. In the 1430's Johannes Bockenheim was the cook to Pope Martin V and wrote a brief but highly original cookbook. He categorized his recipes by the persons who were fit to consume them, ranked by social class from prostitutes to princes.