The Stewpot Recipe Gallery
Pies of Paris
Elaina de Sinistre
Pies of Parys
A Boke of Kokery, from the facsimile in Duke Cariadoc's
To make pyes of paris tak and fmyt fair buttes of pork
and buttes of vele and put it to gedure in a faire pot with frefhe brothe
and put ther to a quantite of whyne and boile it tille it be enoughe then
put it in to a treene veffelle and put ther to raw yolks of eggs pouder
of guinger fugur falt and mynced dates and raiffins of corans and mak a
good thyn paifte and mak coffyns and put it ther in and bak it welle and
Tartes of flessh
Forme of Cury, 1390
(as reprinted in the Early English Text Society's Curye on Inglysch)
Take pork ysode and grynde it smale. Take harde
eyren isode & ygrounde, and do therto with chese ygrounde. Take
gode powdours and hool spices, sugar, safroun and salt, & do therto.
Make a coffyn as tofore sayde & do this therinne, & plaunt it with
smalle briddes istyued & connynges, & hewe hem to smale gobettes,
& bake it as tofore, & serue it forth.
1 1/2 pounds of minced and/or ground veal
4 pounds of minced and/or ground pork
2 cups of beef broth
3 cups of white wine
1 cup of currants
1 cup of chopped dates
1/4 teaspoon saffron
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered ginger
salt to taste
In a large skillet or Dutch oven (the “faire pot”), brown all the meat
together. Add the broth and white wine and let in simmer over
low heat for an hour or more (“tille it be enoughe”)
Now add the dates and currants and cook for 15 minutes more. At this
point most of the liquid will be gone. After adding the fruit, line
two deep dish pie crusts with pastry. Remove the meat and fruit with
a slotted spoon to a large ceramic dish and move away from the oven to
Add another two cups of wine (or a cup of wine and a cup of broth) and
your seasonings to the liquid and bring just to a boil. At the same
time, beat your four eggs (or just four egg yolks if you prefer) together.
Dribble a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid slowly into the eggs while beating
Turn down your heat as low as possible and slowly pour the egg mixture
into the simmering liquid while beating continuously. (These last procedures
work best with two pairs of hands.) Keep stirring with a whisk until
the liquid thickens well and remove from heat.
Spoon the slightly cooled meat and fruit mixture into the pie shells and
the pour or spoon the thickened liquid over it.
Cover with a top crust of pastry and crimp the edges with your fingers.
Beat up the last egg and brush it over the top of the crust. Use
a sharp knife to cut a few small slits (for steam) in a decorative pattern
in the crust.
Bake at 350 degrees F for thirty minutes. Remove from the oven and
cool for at least 20 minutes. You can then serve the pies hot, or
place them in the refrigerator to cool thoroughly.
Number of Servings
Not given; recipe is for two pies.
These pies are based mainly on a recipes from A Noble Boke
Off Cookry ffor a Prynce Houssolde, an 1882 reprint of a manuscript
(Harlian Manuscript #4016) scribed shortly after 1467 (the date of one
of the feasts described at the beginning of the text) but including a number
of much earlier recipes. Several of the recipes in this manuscript
are literally identical to recipes found in the 1390 text of Forme of
Cury. I was also influenced by several other meat pie recipes,
one of which I have reproduced here for it’s suggestions of saffron as
an additional spice. The pies can be eaten hot or cold, and the same
filling can be used for pasties.
I became interested in period recipes for meat pies after learning to
bake mincemeat pies from my great-aunt. She was born in 1876 and
learned to cook in an era of woodstoves and no refrigeration. Her
pies, made for the holidays, bore little resemblance to the modern mincemeat
that is mainly candied fruit and perhaps a little suet. Their main
ingredients were beef brisket, cooked and ‘flaked’ and chopped, and brandy,
with some raisins and citron for flavor.
There are quite a few meat pie recipes in the medieval and renaissance
corpus. Most tend to have be a mix of meats that include birds (whole
or in large pieces) and other types of game. I like the Pies of Parys
recipe because it seems more of a precursor of the later mincemeat - all
the meat is chopped small and fruit and liquor are added. The liquor
used is wine instead of brandy, but that makes sense for the period from
which it comes.
I have used this recipe to pre-bake large numbers of pies to serve at
SCA feasts. A pie of this size will serve good portions to eight
to ten people (servings containing a quarter pound to a third of a pound
of meat) - making it ideal to serve as a hearty meat course at a feast
where you can very simply provide one pie per table. It works well
because several people can each cook up two to four pies and bring them
to the feast, thereby saving oven space at the event. When working
on a feast budget, I usually stretch the meat by adding two to three chopped
apples to each pie. This mix has an excellent and appealing flavor,
but would probably not have been common in period since veal (a spring
meat) and apples (a fall fruit) would not often have been eaten together.
However, if you premise stored or dried apples saved through the winter,
or pies made largely of pork, perhaps with beef instead of veal, the
mix is not out of the question.
In making the entry for this contest, I tried to keep closely to the
original recipe, although I did add saffron for both flavor and color.
I used a basic white jug wine, and used a mix of ground and chopped veal
mixed with chopped pork. Most modern cooks would add the seasonings
to the filling while it simmered, but it seems to me quite clear that the
period method was to add the seasonings to the liquid after the meat had
been removed. No quantities are given for the spices, so I use proportions
that I find yield a pleasing flavor.
A Boke of Kokery, from the facsimile in Duke Cariadoc's Cookbook
Hieatt, Constance B., and Butler, Sharon. Curye on Inglysch:
English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth Century (Including The Forme
of Cury). Oxford University Press (for EETS), 1985.
Date Of Redaction