Tudor Recipes: Ryschewys Close and Fryez

RYSCHEWYSA ‘ryschewy’ is a pasta parcel which has been filled with a paste of spiced fruits and nuts. The title of the recipe even gives us some idea of what we are to do with these parcels – ‘close and fry’. This is a dish which most likely arrived in England from the Crusades. Numerous variations of this recipe exist, both with and without nuts. Pine nuts, if you wish to add them, are probably the most appropriate nut for this dish.

Take Fygys, & grynd hem smal in a mortere with a lytil Oyle, & grynd with hym clowys & Maces; & þan take it vppe in-to a vesselle, & cast þer-to Pynez, Saundrys, & Roysonys of Coraunce, & mencyd Datys, Pouder Pepir, Canel, Salt, Safroun; þan take fyne past of flowre an water, Sugre, Safroun, & Salt, & make fayre cakys þer-of; þan rolle þin stuf in þin hond, & couche it in þe cakys, & kyt it, & folde hym as Ruschewys, & frye hem vppe in Oyle; and serue forth hote

– Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (Harleian MS. 27, c.1430 – Early English Text Society print, 1888)

PlateYou Will Need:

  • 3 dried figs
  • 1tbsp currants
  • 2 chopped dates
  • 100g flour
  • ½ tsp black pepper, mace, & cinnamon
  • A pinch saffron dissolved in ½ a cup of water
  • A dessertspoon of sugar

Cook Your Ryschewys

  1. Pound the figs in a mortar.
  2. Add the currants and dates, before pounding again.
  3. Grid the spices and add these to the fruit.
  4. Use the sugar, saffron water and flower to make pastry.
  5. Roll the pastry out very thin, and cut into circles.
  6. Fill these circles with the fruit mix, and carefully seal the edges.
  7. Shallow or deep fry your ryschewys until they turn golden brown, and serve sprinkled with icing or castor sugar.
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