Cream Custrad Tarts

John Dauncey of Winchester & Alessandra Torrigiani d'Arezzo


The recipes used are taken from fourteenth and fifteenth century English manuscripts.

Daryols. Take creme of cowe mylke, other of almaundes; do therto ayren with sugur, safroun and salt. Medle it yfere. Do it in a coffin ii ynche depe; bake it well and serue it forth.1

Doucetes. Take Creme a gode cupfulle, & put it on a straynour, thanne take yolkes of Eyroun, and put ther-to, & a lytel mylke; then strayne it throw a straynour in-to a bolle; then take Sugre y-now, & put ther-to, or ellys hony forde faute of Sugre, than coloure it with Safroun; than take thin cofyns, & put it in the ovynne letre, & lat hem ben hardyd; than take a dyssche y-fastened on the pelys ende, & pore thin comrade in-to the dyssche, & fro the dyssche in-to the cofyns; & whan they don a-ryse wel, teke hem out, & serue hem forth. 2

I choose to use the daryols recipe as my primary recipe, however I based my quantities on those used in the redaction of the doucetes recipe in The Medieval Cookbook. Due to the differences between the two recipes I have altered the Medieval Cookbook recipe by omitting milk and using whole eggs as well as egg yolks.

In keeping with the high court theme of the Balle, I also attempted to decorate the tarts using an earlier experiment with another recipe. The idea was to make demi-sun shapes, however this did not really work, and ended up more as a glazing effect.

For to make gyngerbred. Tak & put half a quart hony in a bras panne & boyle it well ouer the fer, & stere it with a potstyk of tre that it sit nought to, & lat seth till it be thikke as wex. & thanne tak a dischful of fayre water & drop theryn of the hony, & if it fare as wax tak it doun & wete a gret treen vessel wel with water, & than por in the hony, & tak a pound of pouder gyngere & a quartroun of an vnce of pouder peper & medele hem well with the hony & lat kele. 3

The recipe goes on to describe how the honey mixture should be drawn and tempered to produce something like toffee, however I did not go onto this stage due to the runniness of my mixture. This was probably due to using the exact quantities specified, instead using what was available in my cupboards. I also substituted a non-stick saucepan for the brass pan and the wooden bowl, as I have neither, and also substituted an electric stovetop for a fire.

Final Recipe

Pulverised saffron strands and soaked in a 2 tablespoons of water. Pastry made with 225g plain flour, 65g butter, 40g lard and cold water, mixed then cut into tart shells and blind-baked in a moderate oven. 300ml pure cream, 2 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks (free range eggs), saffron water, 65g white sugar and pinch of sea salt mixed then poured into tarts. Baked in a moderate oven until almost set, taken out and decorated with honey mixture from gyngerbred recipe, then returned to the oven and cooked until set. Reheated at the hall.


Black, Maggie The Medieval Cookbook London: British Museum Press, 1992

Butler, Sharon and Hieatt, Constance B. (eds) Curye on Inglysch: English Culinary Manuscripts from the Fourteenth Century (Including the Forme of Cury) London: Oxford University Press, 1985


1 Sharon Butler and Constance B. Hieatt(eds) Curye on Inglysch: English Culinary Manuscripts from the Fourteenth Century (Including the Forme of Cury) London: Oxford University Press, 1985 The Forme of Cury no. 191 p141
2 Maggie Black The Medieval Cookbook London: British Museum Press, 1992, p96
3 7 Butler and Hieatt Curye on Inglysch Sloane 468 no 18 p 154