Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fish Pot Pie!

tart For Lenton

This is an excerpt from Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334]
(England, 1425)
The original source can be found at R. Warner's "Antiquitates culinariae" (1791)
Tart for Lenton. Take figges and raisinges, and wassh hom in wyne, and grinde hom, and appuls and peres clene pared, and the corke tane out (the cores taken out); then take fresh samon, or codlynge, or hadok, and grinde hit, and medel hit al togedur, and do hit in a coffyn, and do therto pouder of ginger, and of canelle, ande clowes, and maces; and plaunte hit above (ornament it on the top) with pynes, or almondes, and prunes, and dates quartert, then cover thi coffyn, and bake hit, and serve hit forthe.

First, medieval cookery is my new favorite site. They have a search function that allows you to type in an ingredient (like salmon in this case) and it will pop up with all the recipes from all the online medieval cookbooks the search engine knows of that include that ingredient - even if it's not spelled the same way.

Second, my redaction:

Pastry for the coffin:

This is one I've been using for pies since last year with only a couple of minor differences.

1 1/2 cups flour
2 generous tablespoons of olive oil
1 generous tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water (maybe)

Mix all the ingredients together until they form a dough. Knead this dough with more flour (I tend to pour about another 1/2 cup on the counter) until it doesn't feel sticky anymore. Split the dough in half. Roll one half out to form the bottom of the coffin. (I just stick it in my small bread pan). Grease the pan you plan to use this coffin in. Put the first half in and bake for 10 min at 375 F. The other half will form the top part of the coffin.

The actual medieval recipe redaction:

1 salmon (the have individual sizes of salmon at MOM's now! It's only $4.50)
5 dates or figs (I used dates)
1/2 a cup of raisins
1/4 cup of almond slices
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 peeled and cored apples
1 beer or ale
1/2 cup of water

What I should have also used but didn't have:
2 peeled and cored pears
2 prunes
1/2 teaspoon of mace

Start with the salmon. I cooked it in a mix of beer and water for 10 minutes (based upon a later recipe but I've seen some *somewhere* that are 15th c calling for beer as well. I think it was a German recipe).

While it was cooking, I took my blender (so medieval, right?) and put in 2 of my frozen but already peeled and cored back in October apples, 2 dates, and 1/2 cup of raisins. Once that was blended together, I added the cooked salmon, the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. That got blended too. I then put that in the coffin.

Here's what that looks like:

Probably doesn't look that appetizing to most people. :-) Now to a cat...maybe.

Anyway, I then added the other 3 dates, quartered, to the top, and sprinkled on sliced almonds. I didn't have pears but I would have added those too. Oh well, next time!

I then put the coffin lid on and made to cuts on top so the pie could breathe.

I cooked this at 375F for 20 minutes. I probably should have cooked it at 390 or 400F but the salmon was already pretty well cooked and the rest of the ingredients are perfectly fine raw so not a biggie.

Once it was out of the oven it looked like this:

And then I took a slice to eat. You can see the insides and the almonds sticking out in this picture:

My very poorly cut slice:


It's pretty decent. I think it would taste better with the mace and the pears in it. As is, it was a pretty decent dinner. Much sweeter than our modern seafood but it was really filling and the cloves really added a nice bit of spice to the filling. I might add more cinnamon and ginger next time as well. They seemed to get lost in all the other sweet tastes of this dish.


  1. Yup, a blog award nomination: