Ye Olde GBBO Week 5 – Pastry

When you put the words ‘pastry’ and ‘history’ together the first thing that probably springs to mind is big, stodgy, suet crusted, meat filled pies at the centre of a lord’s table (as seen in everyone’s favourite Game Of Thrones scene were a certain someone gets killed by one…) Food was theatre, especially within the royal court, and pies were often used as a display of wealth, ornately decorated and crammed full with various meats such as beef, lamb, pork and venison. The more meat the better. Whilst those pies were definitely common in the middle ages, there’s more to historical pastry than just that. From the savoury pies to Tudor ‘Maids Of Honour’ tarts, fruit flans, even cheesecake! 

Paest Royall (basic pastry dough, ‘A Propre New Booke of Cokery, 1545, English) 

Original recipe: 

To make Pyes…and if you will have paest royall, take butter and yolkes of egges and so to temper the floure to make the paest.

Venyson Y-bake, Another manere (variation on venison pie, 15th century, Harleian MS. 279) 

Original recipe: 

Take hoghes of venyson, and parboyle hem in fayre water and salt; and whan þe Fleyssche is fayre y-boylid, make fayre past, and cast þin venyson þer-on: and caste a-boue an be-neþe, pouder pepir, gyngere, and salt, and þan sette it on þe ouyn, and lat bake, and serue forth. 

Direct translation: 

Take hocks of venison, and par boil in salted water; and when done, make pastry, and put the venison on: cover above and beneath with pepper, ginger and salt, and set in the over and let it bake, and serve forth. (Via

Sambocade (elderflower cheesecake, ‘Forme of Cury’, 1390, BL manuscripts) 

Original recipe: 

Take and make a crust in a trap and take cruddes and wrynge out þe wheyze and draw hem þhrough a straynor and put hit in þe crust. Do þerto sugar the þridde part, and somdel whyte of ayren, and shake þerin blomes of elren; and bake it vp with eurose, and messe it forth. 

My translation: 

Take and make a crust in a tin, take curds and wring out the whey and pass through a strainer and put it in the crust. Add thereto a third part of sugar, and some whites of eggs, and shake therein blooms of elder, and bake it up with rose water, and serve it forth. 

Modern recipe: 

9 inch pie tin/pre made pie shell, 1 1/2 lbs cottage cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar, 3 egg whites, 2tbs dried elderflower, 1tbs rosewater 

  • Make pastry  (if using from scratch) and line a pie tin 
  • Combine all ingredients and blend well (you can use a food processor/blender).
  • Pour mixture into the pie shell. 
  • Bake at 350 F for 45 mins or until golden and filling has set 

(Modern method via

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