A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

To dyght A crabe

PERIOD: England, late 15th c. | SOURCE: MS Pepys 1047 | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Crab meat dressed in its own shell.

Facsimile of receipt from the original manuscript:

Transcription of original receipt:

To dyght (31.1) A crabe

Take owte all yn the Crabe and lay hit yn a lityll vyneAgyr take And put A litell rede Wyne ther to and streyne all throwgh A streynner take pouder of gynger synamome and sugure and menge hem all togeder And put hym yn the shell And set hit on the fyre tyll he boyll and when hit ys boyled take hit of and cast pouder of synamome and sugure A pon and serue hit furth.

Modern translation:

To prepare (31.1) a crab.

Take out all in the crab and lay it in a little vinegar. Take and put a little red wine thereto and strain all through a strainer. Take powder of ginger, cinnamon, and sugar and mix all together. And put him in the shell. And set it on the fire til he boils and when it is boiled take it off and cast powder of cinnamon and sugar upon and serve it forth.

(31.1) dyght - prepare. See Hieatt, Curye on Inglisch, p. 184.

Modern version:

  • crab meat, cooked & shredded (if using fresh crab, be sure to save the shell)
  • red wine or cider vinegar
  • red wine
  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • sugar
  • 1 whole crab shell or ramekin
  • pinch of sugar & cinnamon
Combine first six ingredients; blend thoroughly with a fork or use a food processor (the modern equivalent of passing food through a strainer). The mixture should have the consistency of a paté or a stuffing - use more or less wine as needed. Fill the crab shell or ramekin with the crab meat; brown in an oven or under a broiler. Sprinkle a little cinnamon and sugar on top. Serve hot.

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