• Tastes Of History

The Recipes: Marlborough Pie

"The ACCOMPLISHT COOK, or, The whole Art and Mystery of COOKERY, fitted for all Degrees and Qualities" was first published in London in 1660. The author, Robert May [1], had collected a substantial number of recipes for soups and stews; there were, for example, 38 recipes for sturgeon. Also contained within the book were a large number of recipes for pies variously containing fish (including sturgeon), meat (including battalia pie), and sweet fillings. In Section XI. titled "To make all manner of made Dishes, with or without Paste" is included "a made Dish of Butter and eggs" which may be the first reference to what will become known as Marlborough Pie:


A made Dish of Butter and eggs.


Take the yolks of twenty four eggs, and strain them with cinamon, sugar, and salt; then put melted butter to them, some fine minced pippins, and minced citron, put it on your dish of paste, and put slices of citron round about it, bar it with puff paste, and the bottom also, or short paste in the bottom.

As the British established colonies in the New World during the 17th-century, the settlers took the pie recipe with them. In those early colonial days, apples were plentiful but perishable. To preserve them, American colonists mashed them to make apple sauce and brewed cider. It also transpired that May's apple custard-based dessert proved excellent way of using up spoiling apples incorporating them into puddings and pies. To stretch the apple filling further when stores of fruit grew thin, cooks added a custard base of milk and eggs.


So, as this year's apple harvest is gathered, why not use any surplus or older apples to make Marlborough Pie. The following recipe by Sam Nott (published in BBC Historyextra, October 2015) has been slightly modified to include equal quantities of egg, apple and dry sherry:

Endnotes:

1. The Accomplisht Cook, (accessed April 17th, 2021 from the Guttenberg Collection).

2. 'Approved by the fifty five Years Experience and Industry. in his Attendance on several Persons of great Honour'.

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