Lumber pie

Transform simple forcemeat into something amazing with this 18th century recipe for lumber pie.

Home-made forcemeat balls are layered in a dish with bone marrow, lemon peel,  asparagus tips and a selection of sweetmeats, and baked under a lid of puff pastry. Once cooked through, a rich warm sauce of egg yolks, butter, wine and sugar is poured into the pie.

Like name, like nature, lumber pie is a heavy, hearty dish!

18th century recipe for a hearty "lumber pye", from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

18th century recipe for a hearty “lumber pye”, from The Cookbook of Unknown Ladies

A Lumber Pye

Half roast a leg of veal. Take a pd & half of it clear the from skin, a pd & half of fresh marrow. Minse them very small. 3 large naple biskets, a pd of brown sugar, some pounded cloves & mace, 4 or 5 spoonfulls of rose water or orange flower water, 2 eggs broke in to it & work this into a paste with your hands. Make it into balls, then lay them in layers in your dish with a layer of whole marrow betwen a layer, a little shread lemon peel that has been boyled tender, & betwen another layer put the tops of asparagus, betwen another layer put all sorts of sweet meats & last of all put a layer of balls. Cover it with puff paste. When it is baked, pour a caudle made of a pint of white wine, the yolks of 4 eggs & a bit of butter. Sweeten it with sugar. Pour this hot & serve it up.

If you’re thinking of giving this dish a go and would like to see what you’re aiming for, there’s a fantastic photo on Ivan Day’s Historic Food website!

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