Medieval recipes

Gourmet dishes by Jacques Bouchut.

Translator: Bruce Lee

Prepare a modern dish using a historical recipe from medieval Europe

Gastronomy and history

Nowadays, may a cook prepare a historical recipe, which is not a modern dish? How do we know the taste of the dishes found in Libre de Sent Sovi (1324) or Maistre Chiquart (1420), or that of Lancelot de Casteau (1585)? Specifically, in all these cookery books we do not know the quantity of ingredients in the recipes nor the precise quantities of spice mixes. Also, the vegetables we use today no longer taste like those of the past.

In the spirit of medieval gastronomy in Europe, using the work of historians and my own modern cooking talents, I have created several gourmet dishes. Sometimes I used a few historical recipes to develop my own interpretation.

When a recipe is developed by someone else, the name of the author is given.

Copyright: The recipes of medieval cuisine are available to all interested parties for private use only. They cannot be published without the written consent of the author.
On the Web: On the page of your website or blog, you may add a link to our webpage you are interested in, quoting us TAMBAO books.


Attention with the broth and bread

Beef or chicken broth
No industrial broth: they are very perfumed with aromatics and spices!

Make a simple broth with beef or chicken, simple is best (no herbs, condiments, aromatics, spices, or salt): cook meat pieces in water. In fact, it is essential not to add additional flavours that might interfere with the spices used in the recipes.

Bread, breadcrumbs
No industrial breadcrumbs (too perfumed). Beware of industrial toast (too sweet).

Choose a good bread, well-dried, either oven-dried or lightly-grilled. Cut into pieces. Breadcrumbs: crush the dry bread on a plank with a rolling pin or a thick-walled glass bottle (Burgundy or Champagne).

Powdered spices

The spices should be either crushed or ground or powdered: they are easier to use and mix better in the dish.

Gastronomy: choosing good ingredients

To obtain good dishes from good recipes, you need good ingredients. That is to say as natural as possible: free-range chicken and quality meats, fruits and vegetables from the garden when possible, if not than seasonal produce. In short, pay attention to your ingredients (oil, vinegar, verjuice, spices, etc.) if you want to enjoy the aromas and tastes of gourmet cuisine.


All the weights are net, when the ingredients are ready to cook. When buying, account for the fact that some fruits and vegetables will need to be peeled (such as apples, onions...).

All teaspoon (tsp) / tablespoon measurement should be filled to the brim of the spoon without overflowing. The excess powder should be removed by scraping the back of the knife on the edge of the spoon to ensure a good measurement.

List of Medieval recipes for a modern banquet

The order of service is open for discussion: it is just to give an idea. In particular, grilled meats and sauces, highlights of the banquet, are absent here (I will not tell you how to set up a barbecue). The 4th course could correspond to the entremet, the interlude music and acrobatics (often placed after the meat) during which they served pies, disguised foods, etc...

1st service

2th service

3th service

4th service

5th service

Chronology of recipes

All recipes classed by medieval book or cook.

Top of page

White wine with honey and sage

from Ut vinum salviatum ..., Tractatus de modo preparandi... end of 13th century.

1 litre of white wine
130g of honey
8 to 11 fresh sage leaves
Recipe with a standard-size bottle of white wine: 750g wine +
100 g honey + 6-9 fresh sage leaves

Heat a small amount of wine with honey and finely chopped sage leaves. Let infuse 10-15min covered. Mix with the rest of the wine and let rest for 24hr in a cool place.

Filter and conserve in a cool place. Serve decanted (so the wine is clear) or not (so the wine is cloudy).

The result depends on the wine, honey, and sage. Adjust the proportions to your taste. I used a dry white wine in the Chardonnay-style from Die (France) and a garrigue honey (thyme). A sweet Côtes du Rhône paired with a perfumed honey should work perfectly as well.

Tractatus de modo - Back to the list

Soup with verjuice

from Souppe despourveue (Improvised soup),
Ménagier de Paris, 1393.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
broth (1 kg)
vinegar (1 tablespoon)
verjuice (3 tablespoon)
2 eggs
80g breadcrumbs
1/10 tsp ginger
1/10 tsp nutmeg
1/10 tsp saffron
a pinch of cloves
3g salt

Recipe (cooking time = 5min)
Heat the broth. Beat the eggs. Mix eggs in hot broth, off the heat, while whisking the mixture constantly. Add the breadcrumbs, then the spices (which have been diluted in verjuice and vinegar).

Cook for several minutes while stirring and serve.

Be careful when choosing a broth: avoid commercial broths that are already flavoured!

Make a broth with beef or chicken: meat + water + leeks, carrot, onion. A simple chicken broth would be excellent.

To keep the idea of an improvised soup, freeze the broth to keep it handy.

Ménagier de Paris gives 7 recipes but does not specify which spices, except for saffron.

Ménagier de Paris - Back to the list

Soup with chicken, herbs and spices

from Brodio martino, Liber de Coquina (end of 13th or beginning of 14th century).

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
For 5 people
240 g chicken breasts
1,25 l water
120 g onions (peeled)
100 g lardons
70 g breadcrumbs (dried bread)
14 g parsley
4 g nana mint from Morocco (26 leaves)
Oregano (17 leaves)
Rosemary (10 leaves)
Powdered spices:
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/10 tsp Cloves
7 g coarse salt.

Recipe (Cooking time = 15 mn)
Cut chicken breasts into small pieces; fry them with finely chopped onions and lardons. Add water and chopped herbs: parsley, mint, oregano and rosemary. Mix. Add bread crumbs (use dried bread since commercial bread crumbs are already flavored). Cook for 10 mn.

Add spices. Finish cooking for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

In French: Liber de Coquina - Back to the list

Carrots with cumin and olive oil

Recipe by Marie Josèphe Moncorgé, from Apicius,
De re coquinaria, 5th century.

This is my modern interpretation of 2 recipes from Apicius; it is an original and tasty way to season carrots, closely-related to jazar (medieval Moroccan recipe):

Brown a minced onion in olive oil. Deglaze with vinegar. Add minced carrots, cumin and salt. Cook in the pressure-cooker for 10 mn.

In French: Apicius - Back to the list

Celeriac or turnips with cumin and rue

Recipe by Marie Josèphe Moncorgé, from Apicius,
De re coquinaria, 5th century.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
3 large celeriac (or turnips)
olive oil
1tsp cumin (powdered)
3 rue leaves
1tsp honey
2tsp red wine vinegar
1tsp sapa or grape jelly (cooked grape must, not to be confused with the Greek wine called retsina
1tsp Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam, thus no salt is needed).

Peel celeriac (or turnips) and dice. Boil in water. When the celeriac is cooked, drain in a colander and press with ladle, reducing them to a paste.

Put a little olive oil in a pan, add the puréed celeriac. Mix powdered cumin, finely-minced rue leaves, fish sauce, and grape jelly or sapa. Dilute honey in the vinegar. Mix all ingredients with the puréed celeriac. Cook for 5 mn over low heat. Serve.

To respect the original recipe, you can use laser (silphium), which can be found in pharmacies in tincture form and add a few drops to the preparation (I have not yet tried this).

In French: Apicius - Back to the list

Eggplant caviar

Recipe by Marie Josèphe Moncorgé, from Aubergines,
Ibn Razin Tujibi, Fudalat al-Khiwan, 1238-66.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
4 eggplants (2 kg unpeeled)
5 cloves of garlic
5 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of vinegar
1/2tsp cumin

Remove the stem portion of the eggplants, but don't peel them. Cut the eggplans in large slices. Steam for 15 min with cloves of garlic whole and unpeeled.

After cooking, crush the garlic to extract the juice. Place the cooked eggplants and the flesh of garlic cloves into a flat dish. Add oil, vinegar, salt, and cumin. Mix together.

Keep in a cool place. When ready, serve on grilled bread as an apéritif or on plates as an appetizer.

Tujibi boiled the eggplants in salted water and drained them afterwards. Steaming the eggplants seems like a simpler method to achieve the same result.

In French: Fudalat al-Khiwan - Back to the list

Sweet pasta with parmesan and cinnamon

Recipe by Marie Josèphe Moncorgé, in the spirit of the cuisine during the Italian Renaissance: Messisbugo or Scappi.

Cook 200g of macaroni in chicken broth, drain and add a tablespoon of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of cinnamon. Mix well. Sprinkle 30g of grated parmesan (or you may substitute grated gruyere). Serve.

The art of cooking pasta - Back to the list

Omelette with herbs

from Arboulaste, Ménagier de Paris, 1393.
Recipe by Laetitia Cornu, in The good herbs from the Middle Ages.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
6 leaves of tansy
1 rue leaf
4 leaves of Apium (wild celery)
4 mint leaves
4 sage leaves
6 leaves of marjoram or oregano
handful of fennel (aromatic foliage)
large handful of parsley
2 handfuls of the mixture: violet leaves, spinach, lettuce, green chard
16 eggs
1tsp of ginger

Wash the herbs, chop coarsely and place in a bowl. Add the eggs and ginger, beat. Divide into two equal portions for two omelettes.

Cook in a hot pan with a knob butter. Serve very hot.

A little fresh cheese can be added during the cooking.

Ménagier de Paris recommends adding grated cheese once the omelette is cooking in the pan and not before. Otherwise, the cheese may stick to the bottom of the pan. It suggests eating the omelette neither too hot nor too cold.

In French: Ménagier de Paris - Back to the list

Sausages with apples, cinnamon and nutmeg

from Saulcisses en potage, Lancelot de Casteau,
Ouverture de cuisine, 1585.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
4 smoked sausages (about 700g)
1,1 kg of tart apples
340g onions
40g butter
3 tablespoons of sugar (30 g maxi)
200g of red wine
3/4tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt.

Recipe (cuisson = 3/4 h)
Brown the sausages with butter (reserve), brown the onions which have been cut into rings (reserve), and brown the apples which have been cut into pieces.

Add the sausages, apples, and onions in a pot with wine, sugar, salt, and spices. Cover and cook for 30 mn.

Lancelot de Casteau browns the apples and onions together. If you want to caramelize the onions, it is better to brown them separately from the apples.

In French: Lancelot de Casteau - Back to the list

Pan-fried chicken with coriander and cumin

from Gallina frita y cocida, Anonyme andalou (13th century).

A whole chicken
6 tablespoons of vinegar
3 tablespoons of soja sauce
olive oil: a little oil to brown the chicken and 2 tablespoons for the sauce
Pepper: 10 turns of the pepper mill
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 clove of garlic
Pinch of saffron.

Recipe (cooking time for the chicken = 1h)
Brown chicken pieces. Put aside. Heat a clean pot, add vinegar, soja sauce, oil, garlic, and spices. When the mix begins to boil, add chicken pieces and cook covered over low heat until the chicken is done.

To replace almori (vegetable-based garum), we used soja sauce. In fact, we have found on the Internet an American who made this recipe for mori (which requires several weeks): the result would be similar to the taste of soya sauce.

In French: Anonyme andalou - Back to the list

Chicken with crayfish

from Tuille de char, Ménagier de Paris, 1393.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
1 chicken (1.5 kg)
280 g of crayfish or large shrimp (4 to 5 per person)
30 g lard or oil
60 g whole almonds
50 g grilled country bread
wine for broth
250 g verjuice
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp ginger
1/4tsp long pepper
1/4tsp cloves
3 g salt.

Recipe (cooking time for the chicken = 1 h)
Cut the chicken into pieces and make a stock with water and wine. Remove the chicken pieces when almost cooked; leave the carcass to finish the stock.

*Medieval sauce (potage):
Cook 4 to 5 crayfish per person (5 mn, just covered with water). Remove and crush the shells and leftovers (save the meat and the cooking liquid).

Blanch the whole, unpeeled almonds, and crush with grilled country bread, mix with crushed crayfish shells and leftovers. Add a little broth and crayfish cooking water, then filter through cheesecloth (twice).

Dilute spice in a little verjuice. Add the rest of the verjuice. Boil everything for a few min, until the sauce thickens.

Brown the chicken pieces. Serve in a plate, covered with sauce, with the crayfish meat garnished in tiles on top.

Ménagier de Paris suggests sprinkling with sugar before serving.

It also suggests making a broth with capons, Cornish hens and hens, or with veal, cut into pieces. Then, the meat is browned according to the medieval cooking principle of boil-brown. It would be better to pour the sauce beside the chicken.

In French: Tuille de char - In French: Ménagier de Paris - Back to the list

Grilled chicken with almond milk

from Qui parla con se ffa mig-raust ab let de melles
(How to make a mid-roast with almond milk),
Libre de Sent Sovi, 1324.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
1 chicken (1.4 kg)
2 chicken livers
200 g powdered almonds
130 g verjuice
2tsp cinnamon
3/4tsp ginger
1/4tsp pepper
1/10tsp clovers
25 g sugar and a pinch of salt.

Recipe (cooking time for the chicken = 1 h 10)

* Preparing the almond milk:
Cut the chicken into pieces. Make a stock with carcass and 2.5L of water (boil for an hour over low heat).

Filter the stock (1,4kg), mix with powdered almonds and rest for 1 h. Filter through a cheesecloth, press well.

* The picada:
Mix the chicken livers with spices.

Finish the almond milk by adding the picada. Filter. Add the sugar and salt.

*Cooking the chicken:
Grill the chicken pieces in a barbecue (10 mn). Then, cook uncovered for 1hr in almond milk.

Sent Sovi notes that hens are necessary to make the stock needed for the almond milk. Some other hens are roasted on a spit (mig raust = half-roasted) and cut into pieces then cooked in almond milk.

We may thicken the sauce near the end of cooking with 2 large tablespoons of crushed dry bread. Although not mentioned in the recipe, this method of thickening sauces was common in the Middle Ages.

In French: Mig-raust - In French: Sent Sovi - Back to the list

Chicken with wine and verjuice, flavoured with cinnamon and ginger

from Hochepot de poulaille, Viandier de Taillevent, around 1380.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
1 chicken (2.9 kg)
120 g fresh liver
70 g lard or oil
300 g grilled country bread
800 g wine
800 g beef stock
400 g verjuice
3tsp cinnamon
2tsp ginger
1/2tsp guinea pepper
5 g salt.

Recipe (cooking time = 1 h 15)
Cut chicken into pieces (keep the liver) and brown using lard or oil. Skim excess grease.

Blend the bread, liver, wine, stock in a blender. Mix with chicken, salt and simmer for 1 h.

Then add the crushed spices and dilute with a spoonful of verjuice (ginger, cinnamon, guinea pepper) and the rest of the verjuice. Finish cooking (15 mn).

We may replace 2 chicken with a goose or 2 ducks, adjust the quantity of ingredient accordingly. In the beginning: roast in the oven or brown in a skillet and degrease.

In French: Viandier de Taillevent - Back to the list

Hen in a pot with cinnamon and almonds

from Brouet de canelle, Viandier de Taillevent (around 1380) and Ménagier de Paris (1393).

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
1 hen (around 2.9 kg) or a roasting chicken
30 g lard
1250 g water and 750 g white wine
800 g beef or hen stock
120 g verjuice
150 g unblanched powdered almonds
1/4tsp ginger
3tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp cloves
1/2tsp guinea pepper
6 g salt.

Recipe (cooking time = 1 h1 5)
Cut the hen into pieces, cook 1/2hr in a mixture of water and wine. Remove, drain, and brown the chicken pieces in pan with lard.

Place the hen in a pot, add the powdered almonds, spices, stock, verjuice and salt. Mix well. Cook for 1/2 h while stirring occasionally.

The sauce must be thick at the end of cooking

Ménagier de Paris cuts the chicken into pieces before cooking and does not add verjuice. Taillevent cuts the chicken after cooking in water and wine.

In French: Viandier de Taillevent - In French: Ménagier de Paris - Back to the list

Great Britain
Sweet-and-sour lamb flavoured with cinnamon and ginger

from Egurdouce (Sweet-and-sour), Forme of Cury, 1390.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
2 kg of lamb 120g fresh lard and a little bit of shortening (oil)
600 g red wine
140 g vinegar
30 g breadcrumbs
60 g unblanched almonds
350 g onions
140 g currants
2tsp cinnamon
1,5tsp ginger
1/2tsp pepper
3 g salt.

Recipe (cooking time = 1 h 20)
Cut the meat into pieces and pan fry. Add the currants and blanched onions, brown. Deglaze with vinegar. Then, add the wine, spices, crushed almonds and salt. Simmer (a good hour) with “a good amount of white fat” (shortening).

Finally, add the breadcrumbs moistened with a bit of stock to thicken.

Notes et variantes
Forme of Cury includes: rabbit and kid. It does not mention the vinegar or the bread. It includes sugar (highly-prized in the Middle Ages). There are no almonds.

Egurdouce of pork is easy-to-make and delicious. Quantity adjustments: 2,3kg porc, 220g lard, 150g vinegar, 450g onions, 160g raisins, 5g salt, other ingredients stay the same; cooking time is 2 h.

In French: Egurdouce - Forme of Cury- Back to the list

Rabbit stew with spices

from Civé de connin (Rabbit stew), Ménagier de Paris, 1393.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
1 rabbit (about 1.4 kg)
30 g lard or oil
70 g grilled country bread
150 g wine
80 g good red wine vinegar
500 g beef or chicken stock
60 g verjuice
250 g onions
2tsp ginger
1/2tsp cinnamon1/4tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp long pepper
1/4tsp guinea pepper
a pinch of ground cloves
2 g salt.

Recipe (cooking time = 1 h 30)
Roast a rabbit on the grill or on a spit, cut into pieces. Sweat the onions. Pan fry the rabbit pieces and onions. Deglaze with vinegar and reduce a little.

Grill the bread then soak with stock and wine. Mix, add the powdered spices that have been diluted with verjuice, add the rest of the verjuice. Mix liquid with rabbit. Cook together for 45 mn.

The Civé should be brown, its richness should be cut by the vinegar, and it should be moderately salted and seasoned.

Note et variantes
In principle, the historical recipe uses long pepper. Variations: hare, duck, chicken (attention: connin = rabbit)

In French: Civet de conin - In French: Ménagier de Paris - retour liste

Sweet-and-sour pork with ginger

from Broet d'Alamaniz (Brouet of Germany),
Maître Chiquart, Du fait de cuisine, 1420.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
2 kg pork
700 g beef stock
350 g onions
lard or oil
90 g red wine (white wine if using capon)
60 g vinegar (verjuice with capon)
75 g whole almonds, crushed
1,5tsp ginger
1/3tsp guinea pepper
1/4tsp nutmeg
1/8tsp each of: pepper, cloves, mace
saffron for colour
20 g sugar
4 g salt (be careful!).

Recipe (cooking time = 1 h 20)
Brown the minced onions.

Brown the cubed pork. Add onions, stock, salt. Simmer covered for 1 h.

Add almonds, sugar, wine and spices diluted in vinegar. Simmer again for 15 mn. Serve.

Notes et variantes
Maître Chiquart suggested capon accompanied with several other meats: pork or lamb or mutton or veal.

Rather than cooking stock + almonds, he made almond milk with the hot stock (filter through cheesecloth while pressing firmly).

He recommends not cooking the meat, kid, and veal to a more tender consistency than the poultry. This is a dish fit for a banquet.

In French: Brouet d'Allemagne - In French: Maître Chiquart - Back to the list

Galettes of chickpeas

from Civera Fracta, Liber de Coquina (end of 13th or beginning of 14th century).

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
For 6 people
150 g Dried chickpeas (370 g cooked)
90 g 1 Onion (peeled)
7 filaments Saffron (soaked in a little water)
35 g parmesan cheese
1 egg (beaten)
2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, pepper.

Cooking time for chickpeas = 20 mn
Baking time in oven = 15 mn

Cook chickpeas in water (20 mn in a pressure cooker with soda of bicarbonate). Drain. Reserve a little cooking water. Blend the chickpeas. Mix this puree with the beaten egg and soaked saffron, then the grated parmesan, salt and pepper.

Sweat finely chopped onions in olive oil. Mix the puree with the onions and blend again to obtain a paste that is neither thin nor too thick (if necessary, thin with a little water used to cook the chickpeas).

Put the puree on a well-oiled oven dish (rectangle of 2 cm thick). Bake in hot oven (mark 7) for 15 mn. Cut into slices. Serve lukewarm.

In French: Liber de Coquina - Back to the list

Pie with garlic, cheese, raisins and spices

from Torta d'agli (Garlic pie), Anonimo Veneziano,
15th century (Frati).

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
Shortcrust pastry: 500g flour, 1 egg, 180g butter, 8g salt, water

500 g shortcrust pastry
600 g fresh cheese
200 g peeled garlic
200 g lardons
100g raisins
3 eggs
1tsp ginger
1tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp nutmeg
1/4tsp cloves
1/8tsp pepper.

Recipe (cooking time = 1 h)
Make the shortcrust pastry dough.

Cook the peeled garlic in boiling water for 10-15 mn then place in cold water to stop cooking. Mix drained garlic and add cheese and spices. Mix with lardons, then eggs, and raisins.

Fill a pie mold with a portion of the shortcrust dough, pour in the mixture, and cover with the remaining shortcrust dough (seal the edges). Bake in a hot oven (6-7, 230°C) for 1 h.

The historical recipe lists light and strong spices.

In French: Libro di cucina - Back to the list

Pie with chicken, pork, cheese, herbs and spices

from Tourte parmesane, Modus (1380-1390)

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
Shortcrust pastry for pie
For example: 1kg flour + 300g butter + 2 eggs + 14g salt + water

400 g chicken breasts
400 g pork
500 g pork belly (or jowl)
100 g grated gruyere cheese
3 eggs
1tsp ginger
1/4tsp pepper
1/8tsp cloves
20 g parsley
10 g mint
10 g fresh marjoram
15 g salt.

Recipe (cooking time = 1 h)
Make the shortcrust pastry dough.

Finely chop the pork and pork belly. Chop the chicken breasts into small cubes.

Mix the chopped pork belly with spices, then herbs, eggs, salt, and finally cheese. Add the chopped pork and the chicken. Mix well.

Roll out the dough and fill a pie mold with a portion of the shortcrust dough (1/2cm thick). Add the stuffing. Spread the stuffing then seal the pie crust. Score the top of the pie crust 2-3 times.

Roll a small strip of parchment paper to obtain a cylinder of 2-3 mm in diameter and 1-2 cm high. Stick the "chimney" in the dough to let steam escape during cooking (ensure the hole does not close).

Cook for about 1hr as such: 20 mn in a hot oven, 30-40 mn in a medium oven (according to the size of the pie dish), leave for 5min in the oven after turning off the heat.

Let cool and unmold. Cut into slices just before serving.

In French: Modus - Back to the list

Apple pie, with figs, raisins and spices

from Tartres de pommes, Viandier de Taillevent,
15th century edition.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
Shortcrust pastry: 500g flour, 1 egg, 180g butter, 8g salt, water

1 kg net of tart apples
120 g figs
80 g raisins
1 onion
1 tablespoon of wine
70 g sugar
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp nutmeg
2 pinches of saffron
a pinch of cloves
a pinch of salt.

Recipe (cooking time = 3/4 h)
Make the shortcrust pastry dough.

Mix the apple (peeled and cut into pieces) with diced figs and raisins.

Add onions, which have first been minced and fried in butter or oil and deglazed with wine. Sprinkle the sugar first mixed with spices mixture (saffron, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves) on top.

To make the turnover: roll out the dough and spread a thick layer of stuffing over half the dough. Fold the other half on top and seal the edges by pressing with fingers. Glaze with saffron (soaked in a little water). Cook for 3/4 h in a hot oven (7-8, 240°C).

In French: dessert médiéval - In French: Viandier de Taillevent - retour liste

Great Britain
Pears in wine, with cinnamon and ginger

from Wardonys in syryp (Pears in syrup),
Harleian (15th century) and other English recipes.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
1kg net cooking pears
600 g red wine
200 g sugar
2tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp ginger
(1tsp vinegar)
1/8tsp clovers
pinch of saffron.

Recipe (cooking time = 30 mn)
Mix the wine and cinnamon, rest (1/2hr) and filter through a cheesecloth several times.

Heat the wine with the sugar until it reaches the consistency of syrup.

Peel the pears, cut into quarters, and poach (30min) in the simmering "syrup" (if Williams pears poach 10 mn). Add the ginger, saffron, and cloves (possibly the vinegar) and chill the pears in the "syrup" before serving.

Notes et variantes
In the recipes that use cinnamon, anise, cloves and mace, the ginger is added at the end of cooking.

We can add dates and raisins.

We can cook the pears in a lighter "syrup" (shorter heating), with all the ingredients, for several hours in a low oven.

In French: dessert médiéval - Medieval cookery books in English - Back to the list

Compote of apples and almonds

from Ung emplumeus de pomes (A boil of sugared apples), Maître Chiquart, Du fait de cuisine, 1420.

This is a recipe for curing illness. That’s why the recipes specify exact amounts of sugar and other ingredients. During medieval times, sugar is considered a form of medicine.

Tart apples are preferred.

1 - Modern simplified recipe (excellent)

800 g net of apples (1 kg unprepared)
80 g powdered almonds
100 g sugar
200 g water.

Peel the apples and cut into pieces. Cook over low heat for 10 mn with water.

Add the powdered almonds and sugar, mix well and cook again for 10 mn.

Blend to make an apple puree. Serve cold.

2 - Historical recipe with almond milk

800 g net of apples (1 kg unprepared)
150 g powdered almonds
100 g sugar
250 g water

Peel the apples and cut into pieces.

Boil water, add the apple, and cook covered (10min or more depending on the variety of apple). Drain the apple and keep the cooking water.

Remove the almond skins and crush the almonds, or simply use powdered almonds. Dilute the almonds with cooking water to make thick almond milk. Let rest for 1 h then filter the almond milk using a cheesecloth (press the pulp firmly).

Then, boil with a pinch of salt and add the minced apples and the sugar. Serve cold.

The historical recipe specifies that a lot of sugar and almonds are required.

In French: dessert médiéval - In French: Maître Chiquart - Back to the list


from Per fare pizza a un'altro modo (Another way to make pizza), Bartolomeo Scappi, Opera, 1570.

There are many recipes for pizza in Italy, but up until the end of the 19th century, none of these are similar to what we know as pizza today (since the base of a pizza is tomato, which was unknown in Europe during the Middle Ages). Thus, during medieval times, pizza is a tart or cake that can be sweet or savoury.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
330 g flour
70 g grated parmesan
3 egg yolks
40 g sugar
30 g butter
1,5tsp cinnamon
1/3tsp nutmeg
1/8tsp cloves
1,5 tablespoon of rose water
40 g breadcrumbs
150 à 160 g fatty broth [commerical broth is heavily-seasoned, better to use homemade simple chicken broth (just boil a whole chicken in water) otherwise the taste will be completely changed].

Recipe (cooking time = 20 à 25 mn)
Reserve a bit of broth. Soak the breadcrumbs in the rest of the broth. Mix the sugar and spices. Mix the grated parmesan and flour, then add the egg yolks. Add the soaked bread, sugar and spices, and the rose water. Make the dough with just enough broth to obtain dough that is soft but not sticky. Roll into a ball and rest for one hour.

Oil the baking tray with melted butter. Roll out the dough until 0.5cm thick and make strips (33cm x 2.5cm to 3cm, for a tray of 40cm depth). Braid the strips by 2 (flat weave, 4 times) on the tray by stretching them slightly, which provides five braids 33cm x 5cm, which are cut into 2 parts before cooking (10 portions total). Brush the braids with melted butter.

Bake in oven (gas mark 6, 220°C) for 20min to 25 mn (depending on thickness of the braids). When done, they should be cooked, fairly soft not crunchy.

Let cool and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

Notes et variantes
We may dilute the sugar and spices in a portion of broth and rose water.

To simplify, rather than braid the strips of dough, roll the dough thicker and cut the strips into rectangles.

The Scappi recipe suggests than the pizza be served hot.

In French: dessert médiéval - Scappi - Back to the list

Rissoles of apples, figs, raisins, nuts, and spices

from Rissoles, Ménagier de Paris, 1393.

Ingredients (1 tsp = 1 teaspoon)
Dough for at least 25 rissoles:
1 kg flour
200 g butter
2 eggs
16 g salt
water (about 200 g).
Make the dough and rest for at least 1 h (3 h is better), in a cool place, covered with a towel.

Stuffing for about 10 rissoles:
2 apples = 300 g net
200 g figs
60 g raisins
50 g nuts (net)
1tsp star anise
1/2tsp ginger
1/2tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp nutmeg.

Make the compote: cook ground apples with a little water. Add the chopped figs and raisins, continue to cook. Add the chopped nuts and powdered spices. Mix well.

Roll the dough finely. Cut some spreads 12cm wide. Cut each strip into 14cm rectangles. Stuff halfway down the narrow side. Pass the three edges around the stuffing with a brush moistened with water. Fold the longest side to make a chausson. Press the 3 edges with three fingers to seal.

Fry in hot oil for 5min until golden brown and slightly crispy. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the dough and oil temperature, which should be similar to the temperature of oil when blanching fries (1st cooking).

We made rissoles about 12cm x 6cm x 2cm to 2.5cm, about 120g raw (160g paste and 200g stuffing for three rissoles).

In French: Dessert médiéval - In French: Ménagier de Paris - Haut de page

Recettes médiévales