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Tartes of Flesch

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While there are numerous recipes for pork pies in medieval sources, this one is a bit unusual because of the almond milk and saffron used to add color to the top.

The portion of the source recipe that instructs, "make brode cofnys with the brerdys as thyn as thu may make" is also unusual. Here "brerdys" clearly means the crust of the pie, but similar recipes from contemporary sources call for including actual birds in the pie (e.g. quail). It's hard to know if this difference stems from a copying error or if it was intentional.

In this interpretation, I omitted the figs because I didn't have any on hand. The resulting pie has a dense filling with a pleasant spice flavor. If the pork used is very lean I would suggest adding a few tablespoons of butter into the mix.


1-2 pounds pork, cooked
6 eggs
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup raisins
2 Tbsp. butter or lard
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/8 tsp. mace
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch saffron

1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch saffron

pastry for double crust pie


Sautée pine nuts and raisins in butter or lard until nuts are golden brown. Drain off any excess fat.

Finely chop or grind pork and place in a large bowl. Add eggs, spices, pine nuts, and raisins and mix everything together well. Place mixture into pie crust and cover with top crust.

For glaize, grind salt and saffron together and add to warm almond milk. Allow it to steep for a few minutes until the milk takes on a strong color. Brust onto the top crust of the pie.

Bake the pie at 350°F until cooked through - about 1 hour.

Serves 6 - 8.

Source [Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany (Beinecke MS 163), D. Myers (transcr.)]: Tartes of Flesch. Take porke sodyn pyke hit clene from thy bonys grynd hit small boyle fyggys in the broth of the flesch or yn wyn or in ale hew hit & grynd hit with eyron pare tendyr chese grynd hit to gedyr that the most perte stond by the flesch & the lest by the chese take pynes & reysons fry hem in a quantite of fresch grece & do hit in that othir with hole clowys macys & poudyr of pepyr & canell a grete dele & poudyr of gynger & sygure claryfyd or hony claryfyd safron & salt toyl hit well togedyr tyl thy grece be hote then make brode cofnys with the brerdys as thyn as thu may make hem thu nay chese of clovys or mynsyd datys whethir thu wilte medyl hem with the stuff or els strew hem above & ley on the ledys close hem & thu may put ther yn lyghte worke & make endoryng with mylke of almondys & safron & endore hem or thu bake hem.

Published: August 24, 2016

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