by THFool Dagonell the Juggler
This recipe is from Harleian ms. 279, “Dyed Bake Metis” (“Various Baked Dishes”), which is commercially available as the second half of “Two Fifteenth Century Cookery Books,” published by the University of Michigan Press.
Chawettys. Take Porke y-sode, & mencyd dates, and grynd hem smal to-gederys; take yolkys of Eyroun, & putte þer-to a gode hepe, & grene chese putte þer-to; & whan it ys smal y-now, take Gyngere, Canelle, & melle wyl þi commade þer-with, & put in þin cofyns; þan take yolkys of Eyroun hard y-sothe, and kerue hem in two, & ley a-boue, & bake hem; & so noyt y-closyd, serue forth.
Small pies. Take pork seethed & minced dates, and grind them small together; take yolks of eggs, & put thereto a good heap, & green cheese put thereto; & when it is small enough, take ginger, cinnamon, & mix well thy mixture therewith, & put in thine coffins (pie shells); then take yolks of eggs hard seethed, and carve them in two, & lay about, & bake them; & so not closed, serve forth.
Comments: My wife and I have a huge chest freezer in our basement. We literally buy our beef by the half cow from the farmer down the road. I didn’t have any pork, but I have lots of ground beef. The recipe calls for small pies. I keep frozen pie shells on hand, so I made full-sized pies and cooked them longer than I would for tarts. Professional food historian (now I know what I want to be when I grow up! :D) Cindy Renfrow speculates in “Take a Thousand Eggs or More” that green cheese was literally green cheese, what we now call blue cheese. (Wikipedia says, according to legend, blue cheese was discovered when a shepherd accidentally left his cheese behind in a cave and found it again three months or so later.) If green cheese is actually blue cheese, I’m wondering if the moon being made of green cheese wasn’t simply a way to describe the color. ‘So not closed’ means it’s an open face pie, like a quiche.
3 lbs. ground beef
1 cup minced dates
1/2 lb. blue cheese
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 commercial pie shells
Leave the pie shells and frozen beef in the fridge to thaw overnight. Pre-heat oven to 435°. Hard-boil six eggs. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, minced dates, 6 egg yolks (reserve the whites for tomorrow’s breakfast), crumbled blue cheese, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly. Scoop the mixture into two pie shells, pushing it down to fill the crust evenly.
Shell the hard-boiled eggs, cut them in two, and ‘lay about’ six half egg yolks in a circle on the top of each pie. Save the whites for tomorrow’s breakfast. For tarts, I would put one on each tart. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool. May be eaten hot or cold.
I took them to Heronter’s Twelfth Night. They were well received. This would make a good feast dish; combine, cook, serve. Serves 12.