Lombardy Custard (A Baked Mete)

Today, the recipe for a Lombardy Custard.

picture by Andrea Ewing Callicutt, 2019

Custards (called “baked meats”), both sweet and savoury, were considered meat dishes, as the cream and eggs used in the recipe came from animals. Custards could be eaten during Lent and on “fish days”, when no meat (pork, beef, chicken, lamb/mutton) was permitted. This recipe is from the 15th Century, and serves 6.

You will need:

  • 9″ pastry round
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (sultanas), cut in half
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, diced
  • 2 dried figs, diced
  • 1 tsp ground mace (you can substitute allspice for mace)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups of cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • 1 large pinch saffron strands for decorating

Pre-heat oven to 400F. Line the base of a quiche dish with parchment paper. Lay pastry round in quiche dish, prick all over with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes at 400F. Remove from oven, set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.

Reduce oven to 350F.

Mix the dried fruit, then arrange it in the cooled pastry in one even layer. Mix remaining ingredients, except for the saffron strands, and pour into pastry over fruit. Sprinkle the saffron strands gently on top. Bake for 1 hour at 350F. The custard will still be a bit soft; let sit for 15-30 minutes to set, or allow to cool and refrigerate.

Custard can be served hot or cold (I think hot is tastier).