There are peasecods and then there are peasecods…….
Peasecods are, at their most basic, the little green containers that will grow up to hold pease on the pea plant. In the seventeenth century these were being used in a variety of ways – not unlike now…. – but these were dainty dishes. Most of the time most people wanted the pease, fully grown and mature and dried, to make into pottages to keep them fed. But every now and again, if there were some early summer occasion that called for something nice, like a sallet of peasecods or a boiled chicken with peascods.
But sometimes peasecods were little pastries in the shape of peasecods like this:
To Make Peascods in Lent
Take figs, Raisons, and a few Dates, and beate them very fine, and season it with Cloves, Mace, Cinamon and Ginger, and for your paste seeth faire water and oyle in a dish uppon coales, put therein saffron and salt and a little flower, fashion them then like peasecods, and when ye will serve them, frye them in Oyle in a frying panne, but let the Oyle bee verie hotte, and the fire soft for burning of them, and when yee make them for fleshe dayes, take a fillet of veale and mince it fine, and put the yolkes of two or three rawe egges to it, and season it with pepper, salt, cloves, mace, honie, suger, cinamon, ginger, small raisons, or great minced, and for your paste butter, the yolke of an egge, and season them, and fry them in butter as yee did the other in oyle.
- Thomas Dawson, The Good Huswifes Jewell, 1596
Redaction for flesh days version:
Flour, butter, 1 egg and salt
Minced veal (we use chicken);
Figs, raisins,dates (we use mostly, and sometimes only, raisins)
Season with salt, pepper, cloves, mace (or nutmeg), honey, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, butter and one egg yolk.
Make into finger sized pies, shaping them like peasecods (pea-pods), and fry them in yet more butter or bake them in a 375 oven until they’re golden brown.
If you bake them, brush them with another egg yolk, beaten, to give them a richer golden color.
The ones for sale at Patuxet Cafe are more turnip sized then pea-pod size. It had to do with an earlier interpretation of the recipe, with the thinking it was more of a Cornish pasty the a dainty nibble. And boy, are they popular. And tasty. When you make them at home you can make them pinky pea-pod size or full-fisted larger. Whichever you’ll enjoy best.
Tags: 17th century recipe, bake, butter, chicken, cinnamon, cloves, dates, eggs, figs, flour, ginger, green pease, honey, mace, nutmeg, Patuxet Cafe, pea-pods, peas, peasecods, pie, raisins, recipe, redaction, sugar, Thomas Dawson