A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Ryschewys Close and Fryez

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

DESCRIPTION: Fig and Date Fritters


Take Fygys, & grynd hem smal in a mortere with a lytil Oyle, & grynd with hym clowys & Maces; & þan take it vppe in-to a vesselle, & cast þer-to Pynez, Saundrys, & Roysonys of Coraunce, & mencyd Datys, Pouder Pepir, Canel, Salt, Safroun; þan take fyne past of flowre an water, Sugre, Safroun, & Salt, & make fayre cakys þer-of; þan rolle þin stuf in þin hond, & couche it in þe cakys, & kyt it, & folde hym as Ruschewys, & frye hem vppe in Oyle; and serue forth hote.

- 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 for three nine-inch pie crusts
  • 1 C figs 
  • 1 C dates 
  • ½ C currants 
  • ¼ C pine nuts 
  • 2 tsp. oil 
  • 1/8 tsp. each cloves, mace, pepper, and saffron 
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Oil for deep frying
1. Halve the figs and put them in a bowl. Put the bowl in the freezer for fifteen minutes.

2. In a food processor, combine cold figs and two teaspoons of oil, cloves and mace, and purée them.

3. Cut the dates into four or five. In a bowl, combine dates, ground figs, pine nuts, and remaining spices. Mix thoroughly.

4. Roll out the pastry dough and cut into circle about four inches across. Mold the fig and date paste into walnut sized lumps and wrap them in the pastry circles, crimping the edges together. Trim off any excess pastry dough.

5. In a deep fryer or large, heavy skillet, heat the oil and deep fry the rischews until they are golden brown. Drain the oil off, and serve.

Makes about a dozen.


These fritters might be described as deep-fried Fig Newtons.  Today, similar fritters are called rissoles.  The instruction to fold hym as Ruschewys is a perfect example of how these recipe collections were not for novices; one needed to know what ryschewys looked like before one could fold them.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

A Boke of Gode CookeryRecipes from A Newe Boke of Olde Cokery

Ryschewys Close and Fryez © 2002 Rudd Rayfield | This page © 2002 James L. Matterer

A Newe Boke of Olde Cokery

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