A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

For tarts owte of lente

PERIOD: England, late 15th c. | SOURCE: MS Pepys 1047 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: An egg and cheese tart.

Facsimile of receipt from the original manuscript:

Original recipe in modern script:

For tarts owte of lente

Take neshe (23.1) chese and pare hit and grynd hit yn A morter and breke egges and do ther to and then put yn buttur and creme and mell all well to gethur put not to moche butter ther yn if the chese be fatte make A coffyn of dowe and close hit a bove with dowe and collor hit a bove with the yolkes of eggs and bake hit well and serue hit furth.

Modern translation:

For tarts out of Lent.

Take soft (23.1) cheese and pare it and grind it in a morter and break eggs and do thereto. And then put in butter and cream and mix all well together. Put not too much butter there in if the cheese be fatty. Make a coffin (pie shell) of dough and close it above with dough and color it above with the yolks of eggs and bake it well and serve it forth.

(23.1) neshe - soft; see Austin, p. 137.

Modern recipe:

  • 2 cups freshly grated cheese - modern cheeses to use appropriate for this recipe that were either in existence during the middle ages or are very similar include: Beaufort, Brie, Camembert, Cheddar (first recorded use is in 1500), Comté, Emmenthal, Farmer's (similar in both taste & texture to medieval cheese), Grana (first recorded use is in 1200), Gorgonzola (first recorded use is in 879), Gruyére, Maroilles, Mozzarella, Port-Salut, Reblochon, Romano, Roquefort (first recorded use is in 1070), and Stilton.
  • 6-8 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbs. softened butter
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • optional - pinch salt & pepper; not specified in the medieval recipe but often expected in both medieval and modern foods.
  • 1 nine inch pie shell, with lid
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
Combine first five ingredients; place in pie shell and top with pastry lid. Brush top lightly with egg yolk; reserve/refrigerate remaining yolk for later use. Bake at 350º F for 1/2 hour - 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and brush top with remaining egg yolk. Return to oven for no longer than 10-20 seconds to allow yolk to set. Remove and serve.

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