A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents
Medieval Recipe Translations


PERIOD: England, 14th century | SOURCE: Forme of Cury | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Pork and fruit pie, topped with whole chicken pieces


171. Tartee. Take pork ysode; hewe it & bray it. Do þerto ayren, raisouns corauns, sugur and powdour of gynger, powdour douce, and smale briddes þeramong, & white grece. Take prunes, safroun, & salt; and make a crust in a trap, & do þe fars þerin; and bake it wel & serue it forth.

- Hieatt, Constance B. and Sharon Butler. Curye on Inglish: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth-Century (Including the Forme of Cury). New York: for The Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, 1985.


Tartee. Take pork boiled; cut it and pound it in a mortar. Do there-to eggs, currants, sugar and powder of ginger, powder douce, and small birds there among, & white grease. Take prunes, saffron, & salt; and make a pie shell in a pie pan, & do the filling there-in; and bake it well & serve it forth.


  • Pork, boiled until fully cooked then ground
  • Eggs, beaten
  • Currants
  • Sugar
  • Ginger (powder)
  • Powder Douce - this was a medieval blend of sweet spices, almost always containing sugar & cinnamon and never pepper, and with such other spices as nutmeg, clove, cardamom, etc.
  • Small, whole chicken pieces, fully cooked, bone included
  • White grease (bacon fat or shortening)
  • Prunes, sliced
  • Saffron
  • Salt
  • One nine-inch pie shell

Combine the boiled and ground pork with the eggs, currants, sugar, ginger, Powder Douce, shortening, prunes, saffron, & salt. The final consistency should be thick and slightly runny - be sure to use enough beaten egg to thoroughly saturate the entire mixture. Place this filling in the pie shell; top with the whole, cooked chicken pieces. Bake until the pastry is fully cooked and the filling has set.

The original recipe calls for small birds (hummingbirds, sparrows, etc.), which were a common medieval feature in cooking; small, whole chicken pieces, with the bone included, are probably the closest we can come to this today. These small birds are supposed to be mixed in with the rest of the pie filling; however, since modern diners are not used to encountering unboned chicken pieces in the middle of a pie, I would recommend keeping the chicken on top, in obvious sight.


A Boke of Gode CookeryMedieval Recipe Translations

Tartee © 2000 James L. Matterer

Medieval Recipe Translations

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