A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

A Bake Mete

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Pear Custard Pie


Take an make fayre lytel cofyns; than take Perys, & yif they ben lytelle, put .iij in a cofynne, & pare clene, & be-twyn euery pere, ley a gobet of Marow; & yf thou haue no lytel Perys, take grete, & gobet hem, & so put hem in the ovyn a whyle; than take thin commade lyke as thou takyst to Dowcetys, & pore ther-on; but lat the Marow & the Perys ben sene; & whan it is y-now, serue forth.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.


  • Pastry dough for one nine-inch pie crust
  • 3 large pears
  • 3 T bone marrow, in large chunks
  • 3 raw egg yolks
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • Dash salt
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp saffron
1. Preheat oven to 450º.

2. Peel, halve, and core the pears. Slice one of them into strips, and layer the strips evenly in the bottom of the pie crust. Sprinkle two tablespoons of crumbled bone marrow over the pear slices.

3. Neatly arrange the remaining pear halves on top of the sliced pears, rounded side up. Place the remaining chunks of marrow at the center of the pie.

4. Put pie crust, filled with pears and marrow, into the oven for ten minutes to harden it.

5. In a bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks. Stir in remaining ingredients.

6. Reduce oven heat to 325º. Pull oven rack part way out and quickly and carefully pour custard mixture into the pie crust. The round tops of the pears should remain above the surface.

7. Bake pie for thirty minutes or until firm. Allow to cool before serving.

Serves six to twelve.


This pie is a substitute for Pastelade, a menu item from In Festo Sancte Trinitatis in Cena. It is unclear from the historical sources exactly what Pastelade was, other than pastry of some sort. I suspect that it may refer to "fancy pastry in general," so I offer in its place a fancy generic pastry. The original recipe calls for little pie crusts, but I have made this as one large pie. In Harleian MS 279, Dowcetys (doucettes) are plain custard pies, although in other sources, plain custard pies are called darioles.

A Bake Mete is featured in In Festo Sancte Trinitatis in Cena

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A Bake Mete © 2000 Rudd Rayfield | This page © 2000 James L. Matterer

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