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History Cookbook: Sweet Frumenty

This recipe is in categories Normans / Medieval, Main courses
About this recipe
Healthiness : (988 votes)

It is important to let the frumenty cool a little before adding the eggs or they will cook rather than combine.

Do not allow the frumenty to boil once the eggs and cream have been added.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes and 15 resting
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Number of servings: 6
Serving suggestions: Traditionally served at Christmas with roast meats and vegetables.
This is a vegetarian recipe

This is a standard dish appearing in many variations over the centuries. It makes a lovely side dish, especially with strongly flavoured meats. It was a symbolic dish in winter, a sign that spring would come. It later came to be served as a festival dish on Twelfth Night (5th of January).

This is the original recipe:

'To make frumente. Tak clene whete & braye yt wel in a morter tyl the holes gon of; seethe it til it breste in water. Nym it up & lat it cole. Tak good broth & swete mylk of kyn or of almand & tempere it therwith. Nym yelkes of eyren rawe & saffroun & cast therto; salt it: lat it naught boyle after the etren ben cast therinne. Messe it forth.'  (Curye on Inglysch CI.IV.i.)
kyn: cow
eyren: eggs

mylk of alamand: almond milk, used during Lent

  • 140g (5oz) cracked wheat, bulgar
  • 1 pint ale (you could use stock instead)
  • 1 large or 2 small eggs
  • 1-2 handfuls of currants
  • ½ teaspoon (or generous pinch) of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
  • 3-4 tablespoons of single cream
  • a jug of water or stock to top up during cooking
  • optional: a generous pinch of saffron
  • Weighing scales
  • Measuring jug
  • Teaspoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Jug
  • Saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Soak the wheat in the ale until it begins to swell, this takes a few hours. (Or boil for 15 minutes and then leave to stand for 15 minutes) Most of the liquid will be absorbed. Add more liquid if the frumenty begins to dry out when cooking
  2. Add the spices, then boil for a few minutes until the wheat is soft
  3. Remove from the heat
  4. Add the currants and allow to cool a little 
  5. Stir in the beaten egg(s) and the cream
  6. Cook on a low heat, do not allow it to boil
Sweet Frumenty - print view  Sweet Frumenty - print view

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Name: Rachel 26th August 2018
My grandmother (who was from Yorkshire)used to have a family party every Christmas Eve and the starter was always frumetty. It was delicious and was laced with alcohol! Children were always allowed to have as many helpings as we wanted - I only realised years later that we all slept like logs and woke up late on Christmas morning.
Name: Irene Hain 21st January 2018
My recipe came from a friend, born about 100 years ago in Dorset. Her mother would make this dish on Maundy Thursday, an overnight effort, and give it out to the villages on Good Friday. The story was that it dated back to Roman timesd
Name: 2cairnterriers 24th December 2017
hmmm. no, based on info i know it was christmas specialty. not aware of easter/mothering sunday. so NOT wrong.
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