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Edward Kidder's Lamb Pasty 1720

Lamb Pasty

This attractive engraving of a design for the crust for a lamb pasty first appeared in Edward Kidder's Receipts of Pastry and Cookery (London:ca.1720). Although the author offers two recipes for lamb pies (one sweet and one savoury), his instructions for making a lamb pasty are brief, referring the reader to his recipe for making a stag or doe pasty. However, Kidder's contemporary John Nott, the cook to the Duke of Bolton, offers a very full recipe for making this traditional English spring dish, so we have used Nott's recipe here.

In earlier centuries pasties were made with a hard durable crust formed from rye flour. This was so tough and resilient it did not crack easily and was highly suited for pasties which were to be sent long distances as gifts - venison pasties for instance were popular wedding gifts and were even sent abroad. By the eighteenth century this inedible sealing crust of rye paste had given way to a shorter wheaten pasty paste.

Kidder's Pasty Paste

Kidder's own instructions for making paste for pasties (above) are rather brief, so we have used a more detailed set of instructions written by John Nott. In fact, the only feature of the pasty that is Kidder's is the beautiful ornate lid. These ornaments were made by cutting out paper or paste board (card) templates. The patterns were placed on the rolled out pastry and carefully cut round with a sharp knife. Once in place, they could be modelled with a boxwood or ivory confectioner's tool. In the early seventeenth century, Gervase Markham had referred to this practice;

"having patterns of paper cut into divers proportions, as Beasts, Birdes, Armes, Knots, Flowers and such like: lay the patterns on the past, and cut to them accordingly".

Edward Kidder's Wild Boar Pie

Click on Kidder's Wild Boar Pye to find out much more about historic Pie Recipes

A stag pasty design from Robert May's The Accomplisht Cook (London: 1660)

A stag pasty from Edward Kidder's book.

A pasty in a larder from an etching by Wenceslaus Hollar from John Ogilby's Aesop's Fables (London: 1665). The pasty has been cut into from the top to reveal its filling of meat. The photograph opposite shows an example of Kidder's Lamb Pasty, which has been opened in the same way. In the early modern period, this method was also used for opening pies and other baked meats. They were not cut into slices as we do today. In Hollar's etching reproduced above, note the chine of beef 'struck' with rosemary and the mice feasting on the shaped pie in the foreground.

The Penn Library have published an online copy of a recipe manuscript made by one of Kidder's scholars, probably in the early 1720s. Another of these handwritten compilations of Kidder's receipts is held by the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds, which is dated 1720 on the printed titlepage. Go to the Penn Library Receipts of Pastry and Cookery for the Use of his Scholars

Lamb Pasty from The Whole duty of a Woman 1737

Edward Kidder's design for a lamb pasty was reprinted in The Whole Duty of a Woman (London: 1737)

To make a Lamb Pasty

Bone the Lamb, cut it four-square: lay Beef-suet at the Bottom of your Pasty, season the Lamb with Salt, Pepper, minc'd thyme, Nutmeg, Cloves, and Mace, and lay it upon the Suet, making a high Border about it; then turn over your Sheet of Paste, close it up and bake it; when it is bak'd, put in some Vinegar, the Yolks of Eggs well beaten and some Sugar; or you may, if you please, omit the Sugar and put in good Gravy, or the baking of the Bones in Claret.

To Make Pasty Crust

Take a quarter of a Peck of dry'd Flour, rub a Pound of Butter well into it, then put to it half a Pint of Milk, a quarter of a Pint of Brandy, and a Spoonful and half of Ale Yeast; mix these into your Flour, and, if it be not wet enough, add more Milk: break and beat it with a Rolling-pin, but do not knead it; make it very light, and take care it does not curdle, which you may prevent by mingling a little and a little at a time.

Both recipes from John Nott The Cooks and Confectioners Dictionary (London: 1723)

Historical Notes

Edward Kidder

Portrait of Edward Kidder by Robert Sheppard

Edward Kidder, who called himself a Pastry Master, ran various cookery schools in London in the early eighteenth century. His beautiful book, Receipts of Pastry and Cookery was unusual in that every page was printed from engraved copper plates rather than moveable type. Its illustrations of pastry designs are of a very high quality and are one of the most valuable sources showing how food was decorated at this period. They were copied later in the century in The Whole Duty of A Woman (London: 1737) and The Lady's Companion (London: 1753).

Two venison pasties made from the seventeenth century designs illustrated on the left
Recipes for lamb pasties are not as common as ones made with venison. A stag or venison pasty (sometimes also called a 'leasing'), was a great favourite at feasts and celebration meals during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They were often very large, frequently containing a whole haunch of venison. The pastry used in their construction was usually made from rye flour. It was hard and did not crack, ensuring that the wonderful gravy produced by the venison did not leak out as the pasty slowly baked in the wood-fired oven. This rock-hard crust also ensured that the pasty could travel well, as they were frequently sent long distances as gifts. Edward Kidder designed the stag pasty reproduced below. Click on Kidder's design to find out more about our Bakery Course.

Make pasties like this on one of our BAKERY COURSES
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