Do you make fruit mince pies for Christmas? Once upon a time the English mince pie, known as Christmas Pye, was a large dish filled with various meats.
As Knights returned from the Medieval Crusades with spices, these exotic flavours were gradually added to pies until over the years the meat was fully replaced.
I tried a recipe for a tasty fruit pie called ” Ryschewys close and fryez“, mince pies fit for the King. The Ryschewys is the pasta parcel filled with a spiced fruit and nut paste, to “close and fry” tells you what to do with them. Are these pies hard to make? Not at all, no need to decipher the language, it’s already been done.
Ryschewys close and fryez? It doesn’t even sound like English!
There was still a lot of old French being spoken in Tudor times. I believe ryschewys was originally quelque chose, so let’s make ‘something’. Then we can seal and fry it.
The Original Recipe
It’s pretty hard to find a copy of A Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye: Margaret Parker’s Cookery Book(declarynge what maner of meates be beste in season, for al times in the yere, and how they ought to be dressed, and serued at the table, bothe for fleshe dayes, and fyshe dayes,), but a number of the recipes are also in Martha Washington’s Booke of Cookery and Booke of Sweetmeats
Martha didn’t write these recipes, this book is made up of two culinary manuscripts of Tudor-Jacobean (recipes dated about 1580-1625) which she passed down to her granddaughter.
So here’s how I made little fruit pies from the old recipe – Ryschewys close and fryez