14th Century Tart de Bry

October Redaction Challenge

Tart de Bry, a 14th century English cheese quiche or pie

The original recipe

From Hieatt & Butlers’ 14th century Curye on Inglish:
174. Tart de Bry. Take a crust ynche depe in a trap. Take yolkes of ayren rawe & chese ruayn & medle it & þe yolkes togyder. Do þerto powdour gynger, sugur, safroun, and salt. Do it in a trap; bake it & serue it forth.

Gode Cookery translation: Tartee. Make a pie crust an inch deep in a pie pan. Take yolks of eggs raw & Autumn cheese & mix it & the yolks together. Do there-to powder ginger, sugar, saffron, and salt. Do it in a pie shell; bake it & serve it forth.

Ingredients suggested: One 9-inch pie shell, raw egg yolks, cheese (semi-soft, but not so soft that it can’t be grated), ginger (powder), sugar, saffron, and salt.

Learning opportunities: “Pie crust” and “cheese.” This recipe provided an opportunity for folks to research cheeses available to a 14th century cook, and to play with what “pie crust” meant and how to make it.

Tart de Bry
Simon and Angelika’s Tart de Bry, as posted on Facebook. (photo by Simon)

We brought six different Tarts de Bry (and two Rice Moulds) to practice in total. Big thanks to all who participated in our first redaction challenge! It was amazing to see, and taste, how one recipe turned into six very different tarts!

Each tart was delicious, in its own way. We loved having the two gluten-free options made by Angelika and Don Matteo Pesci. Elska loved the aged cheese version, which was by far the most savory interpretation. The bread cheese tart had a wonderful bouncy consistency, and the goat cheese version was the sweetest of all. Elska had assumed from the sugar ingredient that it was supposed to be more like cheesecake, and due to the freshness of the goat cheese it even had an otherwise unexpected delicate hint of lemon.

Five tart slices
Left to right: Angelica, Armegard, Meadbh, Algirdas, Elska. (photo by Algirdas)


Myrkfaelinn variations:

Algirdas and Aldanza Wolthus:

Filling: 6 yolks, 15 oz. basket cheese (fresh cheese made the previous morning from whole cow’s milk and cream), 1 Tbsp sugar, 8-10 strands powdered saffron, and 1 tsp salt.
Crust: butter, lard, einkorn flour, wheat flour, and water.

Result: between sweet and savory, with a smooth filling.

Angelika and Simon St. Laurent:

Filling: 6 yolks, 0.64 lb. Fontina and 0.32 lb. Bucherondin cheeses, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 cup sugar, 6 saffron threads, and 1/4 tsp salt, with the sugar sprinkled on top of the tart.
Crust: 2 cups oat flour, 1-1/2 sticks butter, 1/2 tsp salt, and 5 Tbsp cold water.

Result: savory – strong cheese flavor.

The mother and daughter team of Armegard and Emily:

Filling: 4 yolks, 32 oz. ricotta cheese, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 4 Tbsp white sugar, a few threads of saffron, and a dash of salt.
Crust: a store-bought shell.

Result: sweet – close to a modern cheesecake.

Elska á Fjárfelli:

Filling: 12 yolks, chevre (fresh goat’s cheese started Saturday and strained Sunday morning), 1 cup sugar, no saffron, and a pinch of salt.
Crust: 2 cups flour (wheat and all-purpose), 2 sticks butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and some cold water.

Result: sweet – close to a cheesecake, with notes of lemon.

Don Matteo and Alden:

Filling: 12 egg yolks, 8 oz. cheese (gouda-ish, grated); 2 tsp grated ginger; 2 Tbsp honey; 1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed; and 1/4 tsp salt.
Crust: 1-1/2 cups oat flour, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 tsp salt.

Result: savory – smooth texture.

Meadbh ni Clerigh

Filling: Wisconsin Bread cheese (grated), powder fine, and some ground saffron threads.
Crust (based on Paest Royall from A Proper New Booke of Cookery, 1545): 2 cups flour, 2 egg yolks, 2/3 cup butter, and 3-4 Tbsp cold water.

Result: savory – more spongy texture, with balance of saffron and powder fine spice notes.


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