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Medieval Apple Tart Recipe

Medieval Apple Tart Recipe

What would have Sir Francis Drake enjoyed for dessert?  Most likely something similar to this apple tart recipe.  Simple, but delicious, make this old-time recipe become a new favorite of your family’s!


4 – 5 apples
6 figs, chopped
1/4 cup raisins
1 1/2 tsp.  powder douce
1/4 tsp. salt
pinch saffron

What is Powder Douce?  Many medieval recipes call for spice mixtures without detailing the exact spices. While it is tempting to assume that each particular spice mixture had a consistent recipe, there is evidence of substantial variation for different times, regions, budgets, and cooks. The recipe below is for one of the more commonly called for spice mixtures. I strongly encourage altering it to suite your own tastes.


3 Tbsp. ginger
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. nutmeg

Most of the pie crust recipes from 15th century are tacked on to the end of the recipe for some kind of pie filling. They’re usually very simple mixtures of flour and water, and often don’t call for any fat. This 16th century recipe is one of the earliest that is strictly for making short crust pastry. The addition of eggs and saffron give it a wonderful flavor.


1 1/2 cups flour
4 Tbsp. butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch saffron
about 3/8 cup water


Peel, core, and grate apples. Add figs, raisins, and spices. Mix well and put into tart crust. Bake at 350° until done – about 40 minutes. Serve warm or cold.


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