Sunday, October 18, 2009

Medieval pies

During this last week the authors of Haandkraft were all camped at Spøttrup castle in Salling, Denmark. We had a wonderful week, and got some time to try out a lot of stuff. One thing being cooking some medieval food.
Of course there is no such thing as a truly authentic medieval dinner, but we made some food inspired by sources from the period.

The course that got the best response were the pies, wich I will describe here.
It won't be a specific recipe, as I don't have one. but I will give some pointers in what direction to go.

Konzil von Konstanz (ÖNB 3044, fol. 48v), c. 1465-1475

To make pies you first need to make some dough. In this instance we made a so-called "Hot water-crust pastery"-dough, wich is mainly made from flour, water/milk and lard.

500 g wheat flour
2,5 dl water (or half water, half milk)
250 g lard

The water/milk is brought to boil in at pot. When the lard is all molted the liquid is poured into the flour and mixed with a spoon.
After this you should knead the dough until it is uniform and without lumps.
Leave the dough to cool for a while. The cooler the dough the easier it will be to work with. Room temperature should be fine.

We made two different types of filling. One with chicken and one with minced pork and beef.

Chicken filling:
Pluck the meat of one cooked chicken and roast it in butter, with some garlick, fresh ginger, thyme and cinamon. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar.

Pork/beef filling:
Roast some minced pork/beef in butter. Add chopped mushrooms, sage and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Shaping the pies:
We shaped the pies using a small wooden bowl (ca. 15cm in diameter). First make a flat piece of dough about 5mm thick. Push it down into the bowl so that the edge go over the edge of the bowl, and place some filling in it.

Then make a small disc to cover the filling, and cut the edges flush with the edge of the bowl.

Fold down the edge, and make sure the folds stick in place. If you don't the pie will come open when you bake it. You could probably glue it with egg or water, to make sure it stays in place.

Tip the pie out of the bowl, and poke a small hile in the top.
After the pie has been baked you can pour different kinds of sauces into the hole or seal it with lard or butter.

Bake the pies in the oven until thay are golden brown. In a normal oven that will be somewhere around 30 minutes at 200 degrees (celsius).

We had a butter and honey sauce with these.
Equal parts butter and honey melted togeather in a small pot and seasoned with a pinch of salt.

Enjoy! (I know we did)


  1. Arrgh! Now you've made me hungry. I'm going to have to try that. Thanks.


  2. *head desk* I have been wondering how to shape ‘coffins’ (pie crusts) in an easy manner without a pan to bake them in. I haven’t had a chance to really play with any ideas on this yet – instead I’ve just been cheating and using pottery pie pans.

    Your solution of forming them in a bowl is so simple. I love it! Hope you don’t mind if I use it in future?

    1. The guy from Jas. Townsend & son (search via You Tube) used a glass bottle as a mold for his meat pies, in another episode he shows how to 'blind bake' a larger coffin-crust for larger pies.

    2. Yes, he uses an "inside" method while here it's an "outside" support one.
      The pyes look scrumptious, I'll try them this weekend. 😊

  3. I love it! I'm going to try this pie recipe I remember seeing AS long time ago, was a veal, bacon and mushroom pie, but have failed to find it since.

  4. They are definately worth making. I have made them on several ocations, and they are getting better every time.
    The hard part is to get the shape right.

    And make sure the filling is moist enough. Because the dough sucks up some of the moisture from the filling, thus manking it rather dry.

  5. Oh, that looks soooo good... I too have to try that sometime.

  6. Thx!
    Take a look at ours:

  7. hellow, mi name is luis, I from Chile, I like the recipe, congratulation.

  8. After reading this post I couldn't help but be reminded of the meat pie scene from the movie Sweeney Todd!!

  9. Cool beans! Is the outside more like a bread or a crust? It look edible (as opposed to a salt dough), and delicious!

  10. Gorgeous pies. I cannot wait to make them!. Your roast chicken was so beautifully bronzed in the picture. I was hoping that you would share your recipe with a novice, apsiring medieval cook? Thank you!

  11. Thank you for the recipe. It tried the chicken and the pork/beef one today and they turned out perfect.

  12. They look delicious! I love meat pies!

  13. They look delicious! I love meat pies!

  14. use this crust recipe and method with all of my hand pies now. everyone prefers this crust to the pre-packaged...i added a few tablespoons of sugar for fruit pies and a teaspoon of salt for the meat pies. also works with muffin tins for a bake-able mold if the filling is a little too soupy to stand on its own.

  15. I'm going to make this for a marked event for my group. I love the little tutorial. Thank you!

  16. Hello! I've been making these now for almost 2 years, they are always a hit (brought a large batch to an SCA event this weekend and they disappeared quickly). Are you able to update the photobucket links for the images?


  17. This sounds wonderful, we love meat pies. For some reason my email is not here, but my sisters is. mine is I entered this site from my Pinterest which is my TopGunn50 email. Regardless, these sound divine. Thank you, CG

  18. Can you freeze these before you bake them?

    1. Havent tried it, but I see no reason why that would not work.
      - Mikkel Frederiksen

  19. Hola, que es 2,5 dl de agua? No entiendo esa medida, gracias

    1. Decilitros "dl". 2,5 dl = 1 cup =250 ml = 1/4 litro

  20. We made these to take to a picnic event in San Jose, CA yesterday. They were very good and traveled well. I added salt and pepper to both meat recipes. As well as a dash of cinnamon to the pork and garlic and rosemary to the chicken. It was fun making them because my daughter, a classically trained vocalist, sang excerpts from Sweeney Todd whilst I worked.