Pies of parys (recipe)

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These pies are based mainly on a recipe from "A Noble Boke Off Cookry ffor a Prynce Houssolde", an 1882 reprint of a manuscript (Harleian Manuscript #4016) scribed shortly after 1467 (the date of one of the feasts described at the beginning of the text) but including a number of much earlier recipes. Several of the recipes in this manuscript are literally identical to recipes found in the 1390 text of "Forme of Cury". I was also influenced by several other meat pie recipes, one of which I have reproduced here for its suggestions of saffron as an additional spice. The pies can be eaten hot or cold, and the same filling can be used for pasties.


Alternate spellings of this recipe may include "Pyes de Pares" (Harleian MS. 279) and "Pies of Parys" (Harleian MS. 4016). Forme of Cury does not grace this recipe with a title.


  • 1 1/2 pounds of minced and/or ground veal
  • 4 pounds of minced and/or ground pork
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 3 cups of white wine
  • 1 cup of currants
  • 1 cup of chopped dates
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered ginger
  • salt to taste
  • 5 eggs
  • hot water crust pastry shell


  1. Brown all the meat together.
  2. Add the broth and white wine and let in simmer over low heat for an hour or more.
  3. Now add the dates and currants and cook for 15 minutes more.
  4. After adding the fruit, line two deep dish pie crusts with pastry.
  5. Remove the meat and fruit with a slotted spoon to a large ceramic dish and move away from the oven to cool.
  6. Add another two cups of wine and a cup of broth and your seasonings to the liquid and bring just to a boil.
  7. At the same time, beat four eggs together.
  8. Dribble a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid slowly into the eggs while beating continuously.
  9. Turn down your heat as low as possible and slowly pour the egg mixture into the simmering liquid while beating continuously. (These last procedures work best with two pairs of hands.)
  10. Keep stirring with a whisk until the liquid thickens well and remove from heat.
  11. Spoon the meat and fruit mixture back into the thickened sauce and mix well to coat.
  12. Then spoon the filling into the pie shells, being sure to use all of the sauce.
  13. Cover with a top crust of pastry and crimp the edges with your fingers.
  14. Beat up the last egg and brush it over the top of the crust.
  15. Use a sharp knife to cut a few small slits (for steam) in a decorative pattern in the crust.
  16. Bake at 350 degrees for thirty minutes.
  17. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 20 minutes. You can then serve the pies hot, or place them in the refrigerator to cool thoroughly.

An Alternative (and scientific) Viewpoint

Having made these pies for several years for eating at Rowany Festival and other camping events, I've hit on something -- they are a great way of preserving meat.

I've written an article on this, including the results of taking these pies to a pathology laboratory for microbial testing, here:


Note that my recipe is a bit different to but mostly compatible with the one above. I wouldn't suggest cutting slits in the crust or brushing egg over the top of the crust, however.

The original version of this article was written by Del.