In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings you a recipe from the past. In this article, a vegetable pie from the Tudor era.
Sam writes: 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. I enjoyed it, but was glad I’d reduced the sugar content.
Pancakes were (and still are) served on Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day), which marks the last day before Lent. Christians began fasting on Ash Wednesday and certain foods were forbidden throughout Lent. Eggs and milk were used up before Lent began, which is why we make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.
The finished pancakes are a little like small, crispy doughnuts, with a wonderfully frilly shape. The batter puffs up in the hot oil. You need to work quickly to keep them crisp and serve them as soon as the last ones are cooked. They are quite rich and so are particularly nice dipped in a slightly sharp fruit sauce.