The Heritage Cooking Challenge: Decoding the Artichoke Pie

Hartichoke Pye.
Warwickshire County Record Office reference CR341/300

So the first problem was actually reading the recipe…

Having overcome that, the next problem was overcoming the language. A chance conversation saved me doing something overly stupid, maybe. I wondered why I had to pop my artichokes in a sack overnight. It seemed rather pointless to deprive kiddies of their presents from santa, or empty potatoes over the floor.

So… how was I to know? Anyway, sack is a type of wine… which probably does more important things to the artichokes than putting them in a cloth contraption better known for school sports days!

There’s another open to interpretation ingredient too. I have gone with marrows, as of the kind Hercule Poirot obsesses over in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. To my mind, this is sensible. The recipe says the marrows will reduce, they’re a bulking agent, and they go (as well as anything in this recipe does!) with artichokes, oranges, and limes(!)

Someone else suggested bone marrow…

Now, when thinking about it, this too is possible! A well-known supermarket offers the chance to “learn how (and why) to use bone marrow as a rich, buttery addition to your favourite dishes,” which fits with the humungous amounts of butter I’m expected to put into this pie. It could also maybe work to bind it all together.


Although I’m known for taking on some wild cooking combinations, bone marrow into *this* is just a step too far! Heston Blumenthal may not baulk at such a thing… I do! So I decided to go ‘conventional’, and stick with marrow (or given the time of year, courgettes?). Do please let me know your thoughts on this! Have I shown my cooking ignorance at this stage?

So, I’ve negotiated the handwriting, I’ve avoided the sack slip-up, I’ve gone vegetable crazy! I’ve even blithely accepted that green lemons are limes (That barely registered on the confusion scale… although maybe I’m naive). The next conundrum is pastry or no pastry?


This too, has provoked debate. It occurred to me that it might just take for granted that any pie has a pastry casing. Why, after all, wouldn’t it? Isn’t that what all pies have? Isn’t that the cooking receptacle? Isn’t pastry, moreover, pie? If we were doing a mathematical equation, pastry = pie… surely! Others disagree. Some, meanwhile, say just put a lid on top of it. To my mind, pastry should be on the bottom but not necessarily on the top… and that’s what I’m going with! Am I right? A quick Google suggests… maybe. Any views from our eager audience?

This too presents a challenge as I just don’t make pastry. When cooking, I’m OK with ingredients, but I’ll buy in the pastry! For this however, this seems cheating, so it’s time to get down to some hot pastry action…

There was, however, a slight curveball I wasn’t expecting.

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