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Historical recipe: Tudor vegetable pie

  • Difficulty 4/10

In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings you a recipe from the past. In this article, we recreate a vegetarian Tudor pie

Tudor pie.

This 1596 recipe for a “pie of bald meats [greens] for fish days” was handy for times such as Lent or Fridays when the church forbade the eating of meat (another similar recipe is called simply Friday Pie).

Medieval pastry was a disposable cooking vessel, but in the 1580s there were great advancements in pastry work. Pies became popular, with many pastry types, shapes and patterns filled with everything from lobster to strawberries. This pie’s sweet/savoury combo is typical of Tudor cookery.

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Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 1lb plain flour
  • 5oz butter
  • 1 egg

For the filling

  • 8oz mixture of spinach, lettuce, cabbage, chard
  • 2oz raisins, chopped
  • 1oz grated hard cheese
  • 2oz fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 egg yolks (raw)
  • 1 hard-boiled egg yolk
  • 1oz melted butter

Method

  • Step 1

    To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour, work in egg and water, and knead lightly. Use half to line a 10-inch metal flan dish.

  • Step 2

    Remove the coarse stalks of the greens, shred leaves thinly, mix with other ingredients (I also added black pepper) and pack into the dish.

  • Step 3

    Cover with pastry, keeping some back to make decorations for the top.

  • Step 4

    Bake at 150°C for 50 mins (mine took an hour), brushing the top with a little butter and sprinkling on a little fine sugar before serving.

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