Recipe for 'custarde'


  • Intro

    This cookery manuscript, entitled A Boke of Kokery (Book of Cookery), was written around 1440, and contains 182 recipes. It is likely to have belonged to the chef of a wealthy household. In general the recipes are quite imprecise. They do not provide the reader with quantities for ingredients or cooking times. However, detailed directions tell the cook to hew (chop), mele (mix), powdr (salt) and strain. This page shows a recipe for custard.


    At this time, a custarde was a kind of open pie containing pieces of meat or fruit, covered with a sweet and spicy egg and milk sauce (the sauce was rather like today’s custard). These pies were also known as crustardes, showing us that the word 'custard' is closely related to the word 'crust', as in pastry crust.


    Shelfmark: Harley MS 4016

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  • Transcript

    Recipe for 'custarde'

    Original text:


    Custard lumbarde

    Take good creme, and leuys of Percely, and yolkes and white of egges, and breke hem thereto, and streyne hem all þorg a straynour till hit be so thik that it woll bere him self. And take faire Mary and Dates, cutte in ij. or iij. and prunes, and put hem in faire coffyns of paast. And then put þe coffyn in an oven, And lete hem bake till thei be hard. And then drawe hem oute and putte the licoure into þe coffyns. And put hem into þe oven ayen. And lete hem bake til they be ynogh, but cast sugur and salt into þi licour whan ye putte hit into þe coffyns. And if hit be in lenton, take creme of Almondes and leve the egges. And the Mary.


    In present day English:


    Take good cream, and mix in leaves of parsley. Break the yolks and whites of eggs into the mixture. Strain through a strainer, till it is so stiff that it will bear (support) itself. Then take good marrow, and dates cut in 2 or 3 pieces, and prunes, and put them in nice coffins (pastry cases). Put the pies in the oven, and let them bake until they are hard. Then take them out and put the liquid into them, and put them back in the oven. Let them bake together until done, but add sugar and salt to the liquid when you put it into the coffins. And if it is in Lent, take cream of almonds and leave out the egg and the marrow.

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