Tagged ‘tarts’

Making Whoopie (Pies)

September 1st, 2013 by KM Wall

Whoopie! But no whoopie pies in the 17th century.

A month of pies. No tarts, one cheesecake, and so much more that there just wasn’t room for.

Some people have stars in their eyes…lately I’ve had pies. Which would make me pie-eyed, if pie-eyed didn’t already mean something else.

My kind of pie-eyed

My kind of pie-eyed

About pie charts….

Playfair's piechart - the original

Playfair’s pie-chart – the original from 1801

Soon there will be pie-charts about pies:

  • Is ” to make a pie ” the same thing as “to bake a pie”?
  • What is the real and measurable difference between apple tarts and apple pies? Quince tarts and Quince pies? Or is it a subjective difference?
  • What about paste and pastry and coffins and lids?
  • How may kinds of  pastry are there?
  • Venison pies are their own category – to be served hot, to be served cold, of fallow deer, of roe deer, to be kept long, as well as Mutton to taste lie venison, and beef to taste like venison.  The roe and the faux.
  • Meat pies, mince pies, and we’ve only scratched the bits surface. Cockscombs, lambstones,  ox palates – all have pies, too.
  • Across the time access, how do pie shake out? Are there pies from 1588 that disappear before 1688? Do certain pies emerge as the 17th century moves on?
  • Lears and caudles and creams and other sauces to add to pie, speaking of shaking and shogging….what’s their story/backstory?
  • What are the obvious questions that I’m overlooking and should be asking?

Time to take a break from pies, stand back and get some perspective, let the pie dust settle, as it were.

September is harvest time and harvest means


total transition recipes:

To make a tarte of bread.

Take grated bread, and put to it molten Butter, and a litle Rosewater and Sugar, and the yolkes of Egs, and put it into your paste, and bake, and when you serue it, cut it in foure quaters and cast sugar on it.

1591. A. W. A Book of Cookrye.

To make a tarte of bread.

Take grated bread, and put to it molten Butter, and a litle Rosewater and Sugar, and the yolkes of Egs, and put it into your paste, and bake, and when you serue it, cut it in foure quaters and cast sugar on it.

1594 Good Huswifes handmaide to the kitchen.

Entertaining Pie-Eyed

Entertaining Pie-Eyed

Three Rice tarts

May 14th, 2013 by KM Wall

Three tarts of rice, each a little different. They were in three columns to compare and contrast, but they don’t want to seem to stay that way. Sigh.

But the line divisions did remain, so compare away.

BTW – Oranges are pretty unlikely for New England in 1627, but rice is a common commodity on ships; eggs easy to come by in May; and milk – from goats, if not from cows – would be new enough to New England, and still scarce enough to be special .

To make a Tart of Ryce.

Boyle your Rice,

and put in the yolkes of two or three Egges into the Rice,

and when it is boyled, put it into a dish,

and season it with Suger, Sinamon

and Ginger,

and butter,

and the juyce of two or three Orenges,

and set it on the fire againe.

1596. T. Dawson. The Good Housewifes Jewell



To make a Tart of Rice.

Boyle your Rice, and pour it into a Cullender, then season it with Cinnamon,



and Pepper,

and Sugar,

the yolkes of three or four Eggs,

then put it into your Tart with the juyce of an Orange,

then close it, bake it, and ice it,

scrape on Sugar,

and serve it.

1653. W.I. A True Gentlewomans Delight.: 1991.p. 51.


To make a Tart of Rice.

Boil the rice in milk or cream, being tender boil’d pour it into a dish, & season it with nutmeg,






and the yolks of six eggs, put it in the tart with some juyce of orange; close it up and bake it, being baked scrape on sugar,

and so serve it up.

1671. Robert May. The Accomplist Cook (third edition). p.245.


Now we tend to think of tarts as being open, and pies being closed, even though there are pies without a top crust….think lemon meringue, coconut cream, tarte tartin ,….

Thomas Dawson doesn’t mention pastry or baking, yet both W.I and Robert May have an upper crust as in, “close it, bake, it, ice it” and “close it up and bake it”.

There are clearly tarts with tops on.

Cranberry Tart

November 14th, 2012 by KM Wall

“…as why are Strawberries sweet and Cranberries sowre, there is no reason but the wonderfull worke of God that made them so…(John Eliot, 1647)


Fen grapes, marish worts, mosse-berries, moore-berries, fenberries, bearberries, cramberries…..how can one little bouncing berry have so many aliases? Whatever they’ve been called, cranberries, especially in sauce form, have long been part of the traditional Thanksgiving table.

But sauce isn’t the only thing they’re good for. John Josslyn in 1672 suggests: “Some make Tarts with them as with Goose Berries.” So take your favorite gooseberry tart recipe…..right, we’re not making many gooseberry tarts these days. Since that’s the case, try this one:

To make Gooseberrie Tarts.

Take a pint of Gooseberries, and put them into a quarter of a pound of Sugar, and two spoonfuls of water, and put them on the fire, and stir them as you did the former. ‘

- I., W. A True Gentlewomans Delight. London:1653. Falconwood Press, Albany NY: 1991. p. 19.


How many berries in a pint? A Pint’s a Pound the World Around. Cooking berries in a little water with an equal amount of sugar reminds me of the recipe on the back of the cranberry bag for cranberry sauce. It seems now we’re using cranberries like gooseberries!

Cranberry tarts and cranberry pies were a part of the New England  table  through the 20 th century. They are a very refreshing way to end a big turkey dinner. So this year, skip the sauce and make your cranberry TART.


Cranberry Tart



“…yn take a quart of fine flower, & put ye rest of ye butter to it in little bits, with 4 or 5 spoonfulls of faire water, make ye paste of it & when it is well mingled beat  it on a table & soe roule[2] it out.”

- Martha Washington’s Book of Cookery. Karen Hess, ed.  pp 130-1)

[1] pastry

[2] roll



2 cups all purpose FLOUR

6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) BUTTER

½ teaspoon SALT

1 teaspoons SUGAR

6 tablespoon cold WATER


Mix flour with salt and sugar. Work butter in until it’s crumbly. Add water and mix and mash until it holds together. Add a little more it it’s not holding together, but not too much. When it forms into a great big ball, divide into two parts, Shape into 2 disks, cover with plastic wrap or put into a plastic bag so it doesn’t dry out and let it sit in the fridge for at least 10 minutes and up to overnight. This makes enough for TWO pastry shells or a top AND bottom crust for a pie. If you’re making one tart, you can freeze the other half of the pastry for up to two months.  Let thaw overnight in the fridge before using.



12 oz CRANBERRIES (1 bag) – pick out sticks and leaves


1 or 2 Tablespoons WATER

Put water, sugar and picked over cranberries in saucepan. Put them on medium high heat. Stir frequently. When the berries are mostly popped and the sauce is thick remove from heat. (If this sounds almost exactly like the recipe for the sauce on the back of the cranberry bag, that’s because so far it is!) Let cool.


Roll out half the pastry to line a 9” pie pan. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and bake in a 375 oven for 7-10 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool slightly.

Scraped cranberry into baked pie shell and smooth over the top. Bake in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Cool completely before serving. Makes on 9” tart.

Pie Baker on the GO - c. 1465-75

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