Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Tarte Owt Of Lente - Or Tudor Cheese Pie

Tarte Owt of Lente - well, let's just call it Tudor cheese pie - is an interesting and surprisingly tasty dish.  As part of the online History of Royal Food course I am doing, we are tackling historical recipes like this one.  Yep I know it sounds weird, but we make the recipes, post up our photos and discuss how they worked out.  It is fun, I promise you, and tasty :=) 

very cheesy, golden and tasty  

The recipe suggests we seek out any pre-1600 cheeses; the varieties not the actual 500 year old specimens.  Sadly there are not that many ancient cheeses lurking at my local grocer, so I made do with a vintage tasty block cheese.  And it turned out very well I am glad to report.  The recipe is short on instructions; we are told to use a shortcrust or other pastry. No directions given; we just have to figure it out for ourselves.  So here is my version, using a Maggie Beer pastry recipe.   



200g. butter, chilled

250g. plain flour

125 ml sour cream


100g. tasty block cheese - they suggest Cheshire if you can get it, cut into chunks

150 ml cream

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

1 apple or pear, very thinly sliced 

milk or egg yolk to glaze the top



Dice the butter and throw into a food processor with the flour

Pulse till it looks like breadcrumbs

Spoon in the sour cream and pulse till it starts to form a ball

Tip the pastry into a large bowl and just bring it together with your hands if needed to get that ball shape

Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 20 minutes


Either chop up the cheese and pound in a mortar and pestle, or take the easy way and throw the chunks into a food processor

Whizz or pound till it starts to form a paste

Add the cream and egg and whizz or pound again - it should be a spreadable paste at this stage

Season with salt and pepper; not too much salt as the cheese is salty

Now take the pastry out of the fridge, and cut off one third

Roll out the 2/3 piece of dough and line your pastry tin (or form it into a tart case if you think your pastry will stand up by itself.  I used a pie tin as my pastry was very short and floppy

Make sure the bottom layer is quite thin

Spread on the filling and the sliced fruit

Roll out the smaller piece of the pastry for the lid very thinly

Place it over the filling and brush with milk or egg yolk

Put it into a 220C oven for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven

Serve with a green salad and perhaps some roasted potato chunks


The original recipe states you can use a soft curd cheese like quark or ricotta, though I think it may be too soft to form a good paste

Use a mix of Tasty and parmesan for a good flavour

I had no sour cream so I used yoghurt - about 110 mls plus 15 mls cream and a splash of lemon juice (maybe a scant teaspoon)

I used a metal pie tin with an 18cm base (24cm. across the top). This tin conducts heat very well so the pie cooked in 30 minutes

Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of baking paper as it is very short and sticky

The original recipe doesn't include the fruit; that's my addition. Some of my fellow students said it was a very salty dish, so I thought adding the spiced pears I had just been given would go well in it

pastry ingredients  

whizzing the pastry in the processor  

all wrapped up for the fridge   

roll it out between 2 sheets of baking paper   

spread it out in your tin  

filling ingredients   

ready to blitz the filling  

blitzed into a cheesy paste

spread the filling on the pastry base   

lay the sliced fruit on top of the filling   

lay the pastry lid over the top of the filling and give it an egg/milk wash   

bake for 30-40 minutes at 220C or till golden 

Oh I forgot to tell you why it is tarte owt of Lente; it's because you can only eat these things - eggs, cream and cheese when it is not Lent.

my pie tin doodle


  1. It sounds really interesting! Would you recommend it?

  2. hubby and I both liked it. it really needed that fruit on top of the salty cheese filling tho. next time i will add a bit more in i think.

  3. Wow - it looks delicious. Will you be writing more about your course? It sounds fascinating. As to the pre-1600 cheeses - a bit hard when Europeans only settled in the 1700s!

    1. Oh yes Fiona. I will be putting up lots of recipes! It is such fun.

  4. My favourite period of history mixed with cheese...what could go wrong lol. Looks like a winner to me!

  5. I'm sure the course you are doing is fascinating. I do love old recipes and the history behind them. This looks like a great dish - simple ingredients yet great flavour xx


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