A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Pye Ellisif

PERIOD: 13th century and Modern | SOURCE: Contemporary Recipe | CLASS: Semi Authentic

DESCRIPTION: A chicken, bacon, & white wine pie

Pye Ellisif is an original recipe that was created for a Medieval feast being held by the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (the SCA), in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on November 26, 1991. The person in charge of the event requested a dish for the feast called Koken van Honer, a meat & chicken pie recipe from A Miscellany by David Friedman, which in turn was taken from An Early 13th c. Northern-European Cookbook by Rudolf Grewe. The other cooks who were working on the feast instead wanted to do only a simple chicken pie. Pye Ellisif, then, was my compromise between the two requests. Since I did not have Grewe's original recipe to consult, I adapted elements of Friedman's version along with instructions for making Pyes de Pares, as found in Two 15th c. Cookery-Books, p. 53, and came up with a pie that was easy to prepare but had the taste and flavor of the more complicated version.

  • 1 1/2 lb. cooked chicken, minced or in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced cooked American-style bacon OR: 1/2 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 cups Gode Broth (with additional bread crumbs)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 9" pie shell (lid optional)
  • 1 egg yolk
Make the Gode Broth according to the instructions, reserving additional bread crumbs. Keeping the broth over medium heat, add the wine and thicken with the extra bread crumbs to the consistency of gravy. Mix with the chicken & spices. Mixture should be slightly runny. In the bottom of the pie shell, spread out the ham or bacon; pour the chicken mixture on top. Add pie shell lid, if using. Bake at 375° F for 30-45 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is set. Remove pie from oven, brush beaten egg yolk over the top of the pie or lid, then return to the oven for approx. 1 minute, or until glaze has set - be careful not to overcook, as the egg yolk will turn brown and the pie will lose its golden shade.

Like David Friedman's recipe, Pye Ellisif is a pie shell lined with bacon or ham and filled with chicken meat. In addition, there is the use of broth made with wine, as described in Pyes de Pares, with its main seasonings being pepper and cumin, the spices featured in A Miscellany. Pyes de Pares also calls for the pie to have a lid, which I have left as an option. A Miscellany calls for saffron and egg yolks to be added to the meat mixture to give the entire filling a golden cast. I instead simply endore the top of the pie (or the lid) with egg yolk. Pye Ellisif is named after Monica Cellio, known to her SCA friends as Meistari Ellisif Flakkari, the woman who originally requested Koken van Honer.

This recipe was submitted in a SCA arts & sciences competition at an event called Gathering of the Ladies Confederation, held in the Shire of Nithgaard (Central Pennsylvania) on May 9, 1992. Pye Ellisif won first place in the Domestic A & S category.

    Austin, Thomas. Two 15th c. Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279...and Harleian MS. 4016. London: Early English Text Society, 1888.

    Friedman, David & Betty Cook. A Miscellany. Chicago: privately published, 1988.

    Grewe, Rudolf. An Early 13th c. Northern-European Cookbook. Boston: from Proceedings of a Conference on Current Research in Culinary History: Sources, Topics, and Methods, Culinary Historians of Boston.

    Mead, William Edward. The English Medieval Feast. New York: Barnes & Noble, Inc., 1967.

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