7. A tarte of strawberries

The previous recipe for pastry was used along with this strawberry pie.  Wild strawberries (Norwegian: markjordbær / Latin: fragaria vesca L.) have been found in the archaeobotanical record during the Hanseatic period (Hjelle in Karg, p. 178) and can be found across Norway (see web-links under sources).

I used a recipe found in Cariadoc’s Miscellany (see below) on page 49 and comes from “A Proper Newe Booke of Cokerye, ed. Catherine Frances Frere, Cambridge, W. Heffer and sons, Ltd., 1913 (16th century)” (Friedman, p. 2).  The recipe is presented as follows:

A Tarte of Strawberries A Proper Newe Book p. 39

Take and strain them with the yolks of four, eggs, and a little white bread grated, then season it up with sugar and sweet butter and so bake it.

  • 2 c strawberries
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ c bread crumbs
  • ⅓ c sugar
  • 4 T butter, melted
  • 8" pie shell

Force strawberries through a strainer or run through a blender, then mix with everything else. Bake crust for 10 minutes, then put filling into the crust and bake at 375° for 20 minutes. You may make the crust using the recipe for Short Paest (page 45), which is from the same source.


Friedman, David and Elizabeth Cook (Ska: Cariadoc and Elizabeth). A Miscellany, 10th ed.  Accessed on Aug. 19, 2012.

Karg, Sabine, ed.  Medieval Food Traditions in Northern Europe.  Publications from the National Museum, Studies in archaeology & history, vol. 12.  Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark, 2007.  ISBN: 978-87-7602-065-1.  In particular, ch. 7, Foreign trade and local production - plant remains from medieval times in Norway / Kari Loe Hjelle.

For those willing to brave Norwegian language, here is a link to a Wiki and another nice site that features Norwegian berries.

The Venture

I followed Cariadoc’s recipe using frozen strawberries as they don’t come in season until August.  Once the strawberries were mostly thawed, I sieved them since I both dislike strawberry seeds in pureed berries and figure blenders aren’t especially ‘period’. J  I also used day-old bread crumbs, not ones that were completely dry.

It was a bit hard to decide when the pie was done.  It bubbled and didn’t firm up like I would have expected on the lines of a pumpkin pie.  It did set up a little when cool, but was still quite custard-like.

The Verdict

I thought there would have been more ‘body’ to the pie which I think would have helped.  Completely dry bread crumbs and extra large eggs instead of medium may have helped a little, but I’m not sure it would have made enough of a difference.

I think my son said it best when he commented that this pie tasted like strawberry jam.  Yup, cooked strawberries are not at the top of the list at our house.  I may make this one more time to see if fresh strawberries makes any difference.


(originally posted to LiveJournal: April 28, 2013)