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by Mary Morman
Pies of Parys
To make pyes of paris tak and fmyt fair buttes of pork and buttes of vele and put it to gedure in a faire pot with frefhe brothe and put ther to a quantite of whyne and boile it tille it be enoughe then put it in to a treene veffelle and put ther to raw yolks of eggs pouder of guinger fugur falt and mynced dates and raiffins of corans and mak a good thyn paifte and mak coffyns and put it ther in and bak it welle and ferue it.
Tartes of flessh
Take pork ysode and grynde it smale. Take harde eyren isode & ygrounde, and do therto with chese ygrounde. Take gode powdours and hool spices, sugar, safroun and salt, & do therto. Make a coffyn as tofore sayde & do this therinne, & plaunt it with smalle briddes istyued & connynges, & hewe hem to smale gobettes, & bake it as tofore, & serue it forth.
1 1/2 pounds of minced and/or ground veal
I became interested in period recipes for meat pies after learning to bake mincemeat pies from my great-aunt. She was born in 1876 and learned to cook in an era of woodstoves and no refrigeration. Her pies, made for the holidays, bore little resemblance to the modern mincemeat that is mainly candied fruit and perhaps a little suet. Their main ingredients were beef brisket, cooked and 'flaked' and chopped, and brandy, with some raisins and citron for flavor. There are quite a few meat pie recipes in the medieval and renaissance corpus. Most tend to have been a mix of meats that include birds (whole or in large pieces) and other types of game. I like the 'Pies of Parys' recipe because it seems more of a precursor of the later mincemeat - all the meat is chopped small and fruit and liquor are added. The liquor used is wine instead of brandy, but that makes sense for the period from which it comes.
I have used this recipe to pre-bake large numbers of pies to serve at SCA feasts. A pie of this size will serve good portions to eight to ten people (servings containing a quarter pound to a third of a pound of meat) - making it ideal to serve as a hearty meat course at a feast where you can very easily provide one pie per table. It works well because several people can each cook up two to four pies and bring them to the feast, thereby saving oven space at the event. When working on a feast budget, I usually stretch the meat by adding two to three chopped apples to each pie. This mix has an excellent and appealing flavor, but would probably not have been common in period since veal (a spring meat) and apples (a fall fruit) would not often have been eaten together. However, if you premise stored or dried apples saved through the winter, or pies made largely of pork, perhaps with beef instead of veal, the mix is not out of the question.
In this redaction, I have tried to keep closely to the original recipe, although I did add saffron for both flavor and color. I used a basic white jug wine, and used a mix of ground and chopped veal mixed with chopped pork. Modern cooks would probably add the seasonings to the filling while it simmered, but it seems to me quite clear that the period method was to add the seasonings to the liquid after the meat had been removed. No quantities are given for the spices, so I use proportions that I find yield a pleasing flavor.