Roxy’s Breakfast Egg Tart
This year, as it has for the past three years now, Company of the Staple will be cooking, and feeding 150 people over the course of a weekend event. While talking to the public about the cooking and medieval food. (And many many other things.)
One of the challenges given to me is to find a better way to cook breakfast. Because trying to cook a breakfast for over a hundred people when you only have a campfire and anything that you were able to precook in your residential kitchen, is quite frankly, an absolute nightmare.
The main staple is quick oats, plus stewed fruit. The stewed fruit is cooked in ceramic pots over the campfire the night before and is reheated for breakfast by gently warming up next to the fire in the morning. Quick oats just need boiled water, and while not as easy as in a modern kitchen, a good cast iron cooking pot will heat up to boiling fairly quickly. (in just half a hour! Yaaaaaay!) By staggering the breakfast – getting one pot on as quickly as possible for the early birds and then a second pot on while that one is cooking the oats, this part of breakfast is fairly easy. (this year I will also attempt to turn any left over oats into oatcakes for mid morning snacks.)
However, this is not a gluten-free breakfast and we will have gluten free and celiacs needing to be fed. We have done scrambled eggs and ham in the past, but trying to cook enough scrambled eggs, and then have it remain hot has proven a difficult challenge in the past.
So I’ve decided to try out “Egg and herb tart” as a gluten free alternative.
Examples of Egg and herb tart in medieval cookbooks
FORME OF CURYE (14th English)
ERBOLATES . XX.VIII. XII.
Take parsel, myntes , sauerey, & sauge, tansey, veruayn, clarry,
rewe, ditayn, fenel, southrenwode, hewe hem & grinde hem smale, medle
hem up with Ayrenn. do butter in a trape. & do ?e fars ?erto. & bake
it & messe it forth.
 Erbolat, i.e. Herbolade, a confection of herbs.
 myntes, mint.
LE MENAGIER DE PARIS (14th French)
TO MAKE A TART, take four handfuls of beet-leaves, two handfuls of parsley, one handful of chervil, a bit of turnip-top and two handfuls of spinach, and clean them and wash them in cold water, then chop very small: then grate two kinds of cheese, that is one mild and one medium, and then put eggs with it, yolk and white, and grate them in with the cheese; then put the herbs in the mortar and grind them up together, and also add to that some powdered spices. Or in place of this have first ground up in the mortar two pieces of ginger, and over this grate your cheeses, eggs and herbs, and then throw in some grated old pressed cheese or some other such on to the herbs, and carry to the oven, and then make it into a tart and eat it hot.
Ein Büch von Güter Speise (14th German)
Original Recipe: (transcribe by Hans Hajek)
Diz heizzent heidenisse küchen. Man sol nemen einen teyc. und sol (den) dünne breiten. und nim ein gesoten fleish. und spec gehacket. und epfele. und pfeffer. und eyer dar in. und backe daz. und gibes hin und versirtez niht.
Translation: (by Alia Atlas)
These are called heathen cakes. One should take a dough and should spread it thin and take a boiled meat and chopped fatty bacon and apples and pepper and eggs therein and bake that and give out and do not damage.
Right, so now we have plenty of documentation for egg cheese frittata, I’m going to use all three of these soures to create my own breakfast tart. Because this breakfast is for when I’m feeding a crowd (because I would just do bacon and eggs for anything under 20 people), I’m using a disposable aluminium pie tray. This particular one, I can get two on one shelf in my oven, so could do four at a time. The wording in Forme of Curye of “butter the trap” suggests that that one was designed to be done without pastry.
230gs of chopped bacon
1 handful of chopped scallions
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped
80gs of grated cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
30gs of butter
Serves 8 fairly hungry people
Fry the bacon. Once it has a slight crispiness to it, add the scallions and chopped parsley and fry for a further minute.
Crack all the eggs into a bowl, whisk with a fork, add salt and pepper and 50gs of the grated cheese.
Put the bacon, parsley, scallion mix in a baking tray. Add the egg cheese mix on top. Gently stir a knife through the mix to combine.
Put in the oven at 200 degrees fanforced for twenty minutes, add the rest of the cheese, turn the tray around and bake for another 10 minutes.
To be served cold or at room temperature.
It tastes a lot better than it looks.
Taste test reviews
- Less parsley, more scallions. Fry the scallions a little more to get a more carmelised onion flavour.
- yay cheese