A Tudor Recipe: A Potage of Cherries

It's new recipe time! And this is a whopper. 

In the Book of Cookery (or 'Cookrye' if you speak Old English), I found a beautiful dessert that proves our Medieval and Tudor ancestors had good taste. 

It tastes like something you'd get from a dessert menu in the dining room of a lovely country pub today, and I urge you to try it. Plump, juicy cherries (I used frozen ones) and crispy butter-fried bread, it uses just a handful of ingredients. The recipe was published in 1591, towards the end of the reign of Elizabeth I. The Spanish Armada had been defeated, Robert Earl of Leicester was dead and the ageing queen relied more heavily on makeup, wigs and pearl-embellished gowns to maintain the legend of the Virgin Queen.

I've made a number of Tudor recipes and this one is among the quickest. In just a few minutes, you could be tucking into this: 

 A Potage of Cherries, adapted from A Book of Cookrye, London, printed by Edward Allde, 1591


  • 2 slices of traditionally baked white bread, or use brioche if fanciness outweighs historical accuracy
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • a large handful of frozen (or fresh) cherries, if they're fresh make sure the pips are taken out first
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • half tsp ground ginger
  • half tsp ground cinnamon
  • a splash of white wine (you can use red instead if that's what you have).
  • Heat a frying pan and melt the butter in it. When melted, add the slices of bread and fry, turning, until crisp on both sides. Transfer to serving plates while you make the cherry topping.
  • Tumble the cherries into the same pan, along with the sugar, ginger, cinnamon and the splash of white wine and simmer until the cherries are tender and they're bubbling in their own ruby-red, syrupy juices.
  • Serve the cherry topping over the fried bread slices and spoon over the juices.

Check out my other historical recipes here.

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