Creating one of these 18th Century pies is no small feat. In those days, entire teams of cooks would work for days to prepare such creations and modern technology cannot replace their work. Very difficult, but extremely tasty, and big enough to feed a large family.

As you can see, the inside of your pie is full of poultry and game meat.  This is, by the way, a very expensive recipe, no matter what meats you use, so we really don’t expect many to make it. We did and found it quite delicious but it took two days and cost well over $140.  Far better though, than any turducken!

Yorkshire Christmas Pye
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This recipe is not for the faint of heart, those with high cholesterol problems, or the impatient cook. The ingredients are shocking, but so too is the flavor, which is incredible. You will eat like a prince with each slice of this pie.
Recipe type: Baked Goods
Cuisine: British
Serves: 1 pie
Hot Water Crust Proportions:
  • 7 ounces water
  • 6 ounces lard
  • 1 pound plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • Fowl
  • 1 turkey, boned
  • 1 goose, boned
  • 1 partridge, boned (substitute duck)
  • 1 pheasant, boned (substitute pork loin)
  • Wild Fowl and Game
  • 1 woodcock, boned (substitute Cornish Hen)
  • 1 grouse, boned (substitute squab or pigeon)
  • 1 hare (substitute bison or venison)
  • 1/2 ounce mace, ground with
  • 1/2 ounce nutmeg, ground with
  • 1/4 ounces cloves, ground with
  • 1/2 ounce black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 4 pounds butter
  • salt and pepper
  1. First make a good standing crust, let the Wall and Bottom be very thick; bone a Turkey, a Goose, a Fowl, a Partridge and a pigeon.
  2. Season them all very well, take mace, nutmegs, cloves and black pepper, all beat fine together, add the salt and then mix them together.
  3. Open the fowls all down the back and bone them; first the pigeon, then the partridge, cover them; then the fowl, then the goose, and then the turkey; which must be large; season them all well first, and lay them in the crust, so as it will look only like a whole turkey; then have a hare ready skinned and wiped with a clean cloth. Cut it to pieces; that is, jointed; season it, and lay it as close as you can on one side; on the other side, woodcocks, moor game, and what sort of wild fowl you can get.
  4. Season them well, and lay them close; put at least four pounds of butter into the pye, then lay on your lid, which must be a very thick one, and let it be well baked. It must have a very hot oven, and will take at least four hours.
  5. This crust will take a bushel of flour. These pies are often sent to London in a box as presents; therefore the walls must be well built.
Original Recipe by Hannah Glasse "The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy" 1747 reproduced in Jane Grigson's "English Food" and adapted here.

You really do not need four pounds of butter, nor a bushel of flour. We must remember that today, our modern conveniences and availability of processed food makes it much easier to make such things as this. Back in the 18th century, to get a few good pounds of sifted flour, they would have needed a bushel, removing more than half in waste. You can get this done with a five pound bag with plenty to spare. As for the butter, about 1 1/2 pounds may be needed. We've done ours with 5 sticks.

Because these pies were meant to travel, they used to make the walls of the pie almost 1/2-inch thick to prevent breaking. Today, 1/4-inch is more than enough, even if you're taking this on the road.

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