January redaction pies.

Basic Meat Pie

January Redaction Challenge

The new year brought a new redaction challenge, with far less guidance from previous versions: the basic medieval meat pie. Starting with a general background (download the challenge here), participants created their own versions. As a result, we had dishes with goat, beef, chicken, and venison grace the sampling table.

We offered a “sugar cake” recipe to the youth, based on Judith Carr’s redaction from Gervase Markham, The English Huswife (16th. c). Find those recipes at the end.

Chicken Pie

Cristina inghean Ghriogair

From The Medieval Kitchen, Italian recipe.

Chicken and venison pies
Chicken pie (top), venison pie (bottom – see recipe below)

1 lb. chicken breast chopped
1 lb. ground pork
1 tbsp lard
1 tbsp bacon grease
1 tsp ground pepper
4 eggs
1 pastry crust

Mix meats and fats. Season with spices. Add eggs. Put into a pastry crust. Cook at 425 for 45 minutes.

Venison meat pie

Meadbh ni Clerigh

1 baked pie crust (shortening, salt, flour)
1.5 pounds venison, cooked (simmered. broth saved), and chopped into small pieces
3/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. raisins
1/8 tsp. liquid smoke
4 eggs
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1.5 tsp powder forte (Auntie Arwin’s blend)
1 c. venison broth
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
splash of sherry

Combine all ingredients and place into pie crust. Bake at 350 for 1 hour (until heated through).

Even with the cup of broth, the pie was a bit dry. Some did not prefer the gamey tasted of the venison. I think that the balance could have shifted from the meat by at least 1/2 pound to the eggs and cheese. Another 1/2 tsp of spices would have benefitted the end flavor.

Gluten-free beef and pork medieval meat pie

Simon St. Laurent

Cookies and meat pie.
Beef and pork pie at top right. Left, top and bottom, sugar cakes (see below)

• Two cups oat flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
Mix together, roll. Put in pie pan to await pie.

• ¾ pound pork cut for stew
• ¾ pound beef cut for stew
• 12 whole cloves
• Red wine
• ½ cup chopped hazelnuts
• ½ cup chopped cheddar
• ½ cup dried currants
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• 2 teaspoons allspice
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
• 2 eggs
• 1 tablespoon oat flour
Parboil pork and beef with cloves. Cut into smaller pieces, and discard cloves. Mix one cup of broth made from parboiling with pork, beef, and all other ingredients. Stir, pour into pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

 I’d leave out the tablespoon of oat flour that isn’t in the crust.

Goat pie

Elska á Fjárfelli

Based on “Venyson Y-bake Y-nother manere”, England, 15th century, Harleian MS. 279

Meat pies.
Goat pie (top), beef pie (bottom).

1 1/2 pound goat stew
1/3 cup honey
4 egg yolks
2 tsp powder forte

Olive oil crust
1 cup flour
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup cold water

Mix all ingredients and place into pie shell. Add lid. Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.

I did not add the cooking liquid, and after tasting Julia Buerger Phillips and Simon St.Laurent pies I will add both cooking liquid and raisins to the next redaction.

Beef Pie


1 1/2 lb chuck roast, cut into chunks & browned with onions & garlic.
Added some water & put it all in the oven for an hour and a half or so.
After it cooled cut the meat very small, added:
some sherry
the remaining cooking liquid (which I didn’t realize until I poured it was pretty much just fat)
powder fine
4 egg yolks
shredded swiss cheese and parmesan.

Baked in a pie crust.

If I did it again I think I would add some beef broth instead of the cooking liquid to take out some of the fat – but it did make the crust extra flaky once it soaked back in after baking!

Sugar Cakes

Original recipe:

To make fine cakes: take a pottle of fine flour, and a pound of butter, a pound of sugar, a little mace and a good store of water to mingle the flour into a stiff paste, and a good season of salt and so knead it, and roll out the cake thin and bake.

Cookies and meat pie.
Top left, Sungiva’s gluten-free version, Bottom left, Mary of Harford’s version

Mary of Harford

1/2 lb. butter
1/2 lb. sugar
4 c. flour
1.5 tsp mace
1 tsp salt
water to form a dough (12 tbsp)

Cream together butter, sugar, salt and mace. Mix with flour, add water to form a dough. Knead slightly, roll to 1/4” thick. Cut into small cakes with a round cookie cutter. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until bottoms are slightly browned.

Sungiva (gluten-free version)

2 sticks / 1 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 cups oat flour

Sungiva rolled it into balls, but it mostly kind of melted down and joined edges. Everything else as per the recipe.

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