Lese Fryes

Sweet Cheese Tart

The following recipe is a precursor to the modern New York cheesecake.

Source: Harleian MS. 4016, ab. 1450 A.D (from Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books)

Original Recipe:

Lese fryes: Take nessh chese, and pare it clene, and grinde hit in a morter small, and drawe yolkes and white of egges thorgh a streynour, and cast there-to, and grinde hem togidre; theñ cast thereto Sugur, butter and salt, and put al togider in a coffyñ of faire paast, And lete bake ynowe, and then serue it forthe.

My Translation:

Take soft cheese, and pare it clean, and grind it in a mortar small, and draw yolks and white of eggs through a strainer, and cast thereto, and grind them together Sugar, butter and salt, and put all together in a coffin of fair paste, And let bake enough, and then serve it forth.

My Interpretation:

2 lbs. havarti cheese (without rind)

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

¼ cup melted butter

1 tsp. salt

1 9" pie crust (see Paest Royall)

Break cheese into small pieces, add 4 beaten eggs, mix until smooth. Add sugar, salt and butter, mix well. Pour into pie crust and bake at 325°F for 50-55 minutes.


I chose Havarti cheese for it is a soft cheese that is made in a rind and the original recipe describes paring the cheese clean inferring that it has a rind.

Works Referenced:

Austin, Thomas, comp. Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books. N.p.: Early English Text Society, 1888. Google Books. Web. 21 June 2012. <http://books.google.com/books?id=t0Te8MaCmpoC>

A Collection of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks compiled by Duke Cariadoc of the Bow and Duchessa Diana Alena

Renfrow, Cindy. Take a Thousand Eggs or More: A Translation of Medieval Recipes from Harleian MS. 279, Harleian MS. 4016, and Extracts of Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, and Douce MS. 55, with More than 100 Recipes Adapted for Modern Cookery. Unionville, NY: Royal Fireworks, 1997. Print.