Last year, when we posted the recipe for a modern Strawberry Pie, many of you objected that there was no medieval version accompanying it. We’d tried several recipes, and thought they were all gross, so never posted them. To make amends, I’ve been looking for a good medieval recipe ever since, and finally found one.
It’s simple, easy, and perhaps best of all, filled with sweet wine. None of the blah almond milk mush that I found so objectionable in previous recipes- just vivid, strawberry color and sweet juicy filling. The sweetness comes mostly from the strawberries themselves, but also from the port. The filling seized up somewhat once the tarts were cool, but I think with the right balance of baking times, might do so more. I’ll have to test that. In the meantime, this recipe makes for a delicious, authentic dessert that’s right at home in the world of Westeros.
Recipe for Medieval Strawberry Tarts
Make a pastry shell and let it become firm in the tart pan. Afterwards take strawberries and lay them around on top as close together as possible, after that sweeten them especially well. Next let it bake a short while, pour Malavosia over it and let it bake a while, then it is ready. -Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, 1553
Makes 8 small tarts, or 1 large one.
Cook’s Notes: The pastry recipe is also taken from the same cookbook as the tart recipe; it makes a pliable elastic dough that holds up well to the juicy filling of the tarts. Given my baking dish situation, I opted for smaller tarts, and the times in the recipe reflect that.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup fat, lard, or crisco
- 2 cups flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 quarts of strawberries, sliced thin
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup port wine, or other sweet red
Make the pastry dough: Heat 1/4 cup water to just under a boil, and add the lard, simmering until it has melted. Pour half of this over the flour and salt, and mix thoroughly. When the dough is reasonably cool to the touch, add the eggs and mix. If the dough is still too dry, continue adding the water until the dough comes together in a nice mass.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to just under 1/4″ thick. Press the dough into tart pans, and set each on a baking sheet. Chill the prepared tart shells for a couple of hours, or until the dough is a bit hard (I found this step was not strictly necessary, but for the sake of authenticity, kept it in).
Slice the strawberries thinly, and arrange as closely as possible in the tart shells, layering until all the berries are used up. Sprinkle with a little sugar, and bake for 15 minutes at 350F.
Remove from oven and pour an equal amount of port over each tart, and bake for another 15 minutes (longer for a large tart). Remove from oven and let cool.