A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents


PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: MS Harley 5401 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Poached eggs in a golden sauce


Papyns. Recipe clene cow mylk, & take þe flour of rice or of whete & draw þe flour with sum of þe mylk, & colour it with saferon & let it boyle, & do a lityll hony þerto; þan tak water & well it in a frying panne; þan cast in brokyn egges & fry þam hard in þe water, & lay .iij. in a dysh & þe colourd mylk þeron, & serof it forth.

- Hieatt, Constance B. "The Middle English Culinary Recipes in MS Harley 5401: An Edition and Commentary." Medium Ævum vol. 65, no. 1 (1996): 54-71.


Poached eggs. Recipe: clean cow milk, & take the flour of rice or of wheat & draw the flour with some of the milk, & color it with saffron & let it boil; & do a little honey thereto; than take water & well it in a frying pan; then cast in broken eggs & fry them hard in the water, & lay 3 in a dish & the coloured milk thereon, & serve it forth.


  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • Several pinches of saffron or a few drops of yellow food coloring
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 eggs
In a saucepan, blend the flour & milk into a smooth, gravy-like sauce. Add extra flour if too thin, or extra milk if too thick. Add the honey & saffron & slowly bring to a soft boil, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching or sticking. The color of the sauce needs to be a golden yellow, so adjust the saffron or food coloring as needed. Reduce heat. Bring approx. 1-2 inches of water in a skillet to a very soft boil. One at a time, break each egg carefully into a small bowl or cup, being sure not to break the yolk, then gently slide the egg into the hot water to poach. (Adding a spoonful of vinegar to the water will help keep the whites from separating as they cook.) Allow the eggs to poach just until the yolks have cooked; remove from the water with a slotted spoon. Place the three eggs in a serving dish and ladle the milk sauce on top. Season with salt & pepper if desired. Serve.

It is interesting to note how the yellow milk sauce served over the eggs makes this dish resemble our modern Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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Papyns © 2000 James L. Matterer

A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes

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