This recipe from 1666 was handwritten in the cookbook belonging to the Castle Birr — only 80 years after the potato was introduced to Ireland — and during a period when only the most wealthy had access to things like sugar and there was no such thing as refrigeration.
This vintage recipe was featured on Season 1, Episode 1 of a series presented on Netflix called “Lords & Ladles” which I very recently binge watched. Someone who knows me only too well recommended it and I was completely hooked.
I am presenting the recipe here as it was written/shown, but if you wish to see the particulars and directions for making it, I recommend watching the series — or perhaps instead just taking a dream vacation trip to Ireland to visit the Castle Birr — home of the world’s largest telescope — in person, and forget even trying to make the recipe.
Until now, the earliest recipes in my collection were from the 1700s. I now have one steeped in history from the 1600s — so, in all honesty, I just wanted to show it off.
However, I do have a couple of medieval recipes — for orange spiced mead and making posset.
I have not, yet, tried to make this potato pie recipe, but if (or when) I do, I’ll let you know.
I am not exactly located in a place in which to easily obtain certain ingredients even for modern recipes, but I found an online source for actual “cooking” rose water and I will probably just substitute regular cooking sherry for the Sack, but I still have to locate citron fruit — which doesn’t involve a huge sized shipment.
“Lords and Ladles” features three of Ireland’s top chefs – Derry Clarke, Catherine Fulvio and Paul Flynn – who are challenged to recreate elaborate menus from different centuries in some of Ireland’s most grand Country Homes. You get to tour the homes and elaborate gardens, learn the history, as well as see the vintage dishes — served up long ago at elaborate dinner parties which were historical events themselves — being recreated by these three top chefs.
A few of those dishes probably aren’t suited for the weak of stomach or heart since they include things like eyeballs, blood marinades, swim bladders, bits (testicles), hooves, and ears. They truly made use of the entire animal in those days — even the bones!
Often, the way in which they presented the food, was pure art — literally!
This particular recipe was not presented as an elaborate work of art, but it is quite the endeavor and, well, — different. In spite of the excessive sweetness of this buttery dessert, this pie isn’t made with sweet potatoes or yams or even pumpkin — but is made with your standard everyday potato.
To Make A Potato Pie
2 pounds butter
1/2 pound Sugar
680 g hard boiled Egg Yolks
56 g (2 oz) Candied Orange
56 g (2 oz) Citron
1 pound butter
1/2 pint Sack
1/2 pint White Wine
14 eggs (14 Yolks, 6 Whites)