A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Lamprays Bake

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: Harleian MS. 279 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Baked Fish with Spiced Wine Sops


Take & make fayre round cofyns of fyne past, & take Freyssche lampreys, & late hem blode .iij. fyngerys with-in `e tayle, & lat hem blede in a vesselle, & late hym deye in the same vesselle in the same blode; than take broun Brede, & kyt it, & stepe it in the Venegre, & draw thorw a straynoure; than take the same blode, & pouder of Canel, & cast ther-to tyl it be broun; than caste ther-to pouder Pepir, Salt, & Wyne a lytelle, that it be noght to strong of venegre. An skald the Lampray, & pare hem clene, & couche hym round on the cofyn, tyl he be helyd; than kyuere hym fayre with a lede, saue a lytel hole in the myddelle, & at that hool, blow in the cofynne with thin mow`e a gode blast of Wynde. And sodenly stoppe the hole, that the wynd a-byde with-ynne, to reyse vppe the cofynne, that he falle nowt a-dowune; & whan he is a lytel y-hardid in the ouen, pryke the cofyn with a pynne y-stekyd on a roddys ende, for brekyng of the cofynne, & than lat bake, & serue forth colde. And when the lamprey is take owt of the cofynne & etyn, take the Syrippe in the cofynne, & put on a chargere, & caste Wyne ther-to, an pouder Gyngere, & lat boyle in the fyre. Than take fayre Paynemayn y-wette in Wyne, & lay the soppis in the cofynne of the lamprey, & lay the Syrippe a-boue, & ete it so hote; for it is gode lordys mete.

- Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. Harleian MS. 279 & Harl. MS. 4016, with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1429, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS 55. London: for The Early English Text Society by N. Trübner & Co., 1888.


  • Pastry dough for nine-inch pie crust
  • 1 pound eel, catfish, or other fish filets
  • 1/2 C brown bread crumbs (1/3 C if blood is used)
  • 1/4 C wine vinegar (2T if blood is used)
  • 1/4 C fresh eel or fish blood (optional)
  • 1/4 C dry wine
  • 1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 C sweet wine
  • 1/4 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 3 slices firm white bread
  • 1 T brown sugar, or to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Line a pie pan with the crust, and put it in the oven for ten to fifteen minutes to harden it. Remove it, and reduce oven temperature to 350°.

3. In a bowl, combine bread crumbs, vinegar, dry wine, cinnamon, salt and pepper (and blood if it is used).

4. Place the eels or fish in the pie crust, and pour the sauce over them. Cover the pie with heavy aluminum foil, with a few holes poked in it.  Put the pie in the oven, and bake it for half an hour to forty-five minutes, or until the eels or fish are done.  Remove it, and allow it to cool.

5. Remove the foil from the pie, and carefully remove the eels or fish from the pie, and arrange them on a serving dish.

6. In a saucepan, over low heat, combine half of the sweet wine with the ginger and brown sugar. Carefully pour the sauce remaining in the bottom of the pie crust into the saucepan.  Bring the ingredients to a boil, and simmer, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.

7. Line the bottom of the pie crust with the slices of white bread, and pour over them the remaining sweet wine. Then pour the hot syrup over the bread and wine, and serve the sops in the crust, and the eels or fish separately.

Serves six to eight.


This pie is simply the container in which the eel (or fish) is baked; it is removed from the crust for serving, but then a sop of bread and spiced wine is put in the empty crust, and that is served separately. The sauce for this dish is similar to the blood sauce for fish, Sauce Pour Lamprey, but I have adapted it so that the blood is optional.  Feel free to add it if you have access to fish blood. I also cover the pie with aluminum foil to bake, rather than a second crust, since the cover needs to be removed to get the eels (or fish) out anyway. I add sugar to the wine sops, which helps a great deal.

Lamprays Bake is featured in Servise on a Fisshe Day

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

A Boke of Gode CookeryRecipes from A Newe Boke of Olde Cokery

Lamprays Bake © 2002 Rudd Rayfield | This page © 2002 James L. Matterer

A Newe Boke of Olde Cokery

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