Page 1 of 1

Teracotta dishes - how horribly wrong are they?

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:55 pm
by Wiblick
or are they?

I just bought a nice teracotta pie dish (circular, 8 1/2" diameter, 2" deep)and made a deep apple pie in it today and (having watched Tales from the Green Valley again) got to thinking about the pies I could make to bring to events...

In period they seem to be made free standing, no surrounding dish, but for events I was thinking I could bake them in the oven at home and transport them in the dish and it'd look kinda nifty sitting on the table and certainly keep mess to a minimum... but teracotta? brown coloured dishes... what's the story?

I've contacted Trinity Court Potteries to see if they can make me a couple of oven safe pie dishes in a green glaze.

This'd be for 15th C/Generic Medieval

Any one any thoughts/suggestions?

Aoife

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:29 pm
by robin wood
If you say in period they were free standing why not experiment with that route? Do you think it would be a hot water crust pastry like a hand raised pork pie? I could imagine something like that with added sugar being yummy but would be interested to hear what the original recipes say.

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:11 pm
by Chris T
The final colour of pottery depends on the initial composition of the clay, and the conditions of firing (temperature and oxygen supply.

Since pottery production (particularly for everyday items) was much more localised and small scale in earlier periods I believe that it is almost impossible to say that any fabric or colour is actually incorrect. There was also far more movement of pottery than some realise.

What is far more liable to be a problem is the shape of the pot; although again it is easy to be too dogmatic about this.

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 12:01 am
by Hraefn
Low fired pot +wood fired oven=mess on oven floor+blown pot

Practice your pie raising(Hot water crust, flour and water or a paste full of buttery goodness all work well) and remember not all pastry is s'posed to be edible, some is just a disposible oven dish.

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:06 am
by robin wood
Chris T wrote:The final colour of pottery depends on the initial composition of the clay, and the conditions of firing (temperature and oxygen supply.

Since pottery production (particularly for everyday items) was much more localised and small scale in earlier periods I believe that it is almost impossible to say that any fabric or colour is actually incorrect. There was also far more movement of pottery than some realise.

What is far more liable to be a problem is the shape of the pot; although again it is easy to be too dogmatic about this.


could this be read to mean use anything you want and then argue that it is correct?

So much pot survives that it is easy to get the correct stuff. If you are portraying a given period/place why not pop to the local museum and see what they have? Most museums have many many tons of earthenware it was common and survives well. Most is cooking pots, mixing bowls and jugs but you may find a few dishes.

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:51 pm
by Hraefn
here's a tudory type man raising a pie well worth a watch.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-SH7MBKPlc
and here's the same chap doing a free standing tart case......he's showing off now.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elP8KcAD ... re=related

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:43 pm
by Chris T
My point was more about the sweeping generalisations made by some people.
As you say there are large quantities of pot surviving, I would guess more than all other archeological material added together. These samples may show that a particular fabric was common for a particular area, but they also tend to show a percentage of "exotic" material, which may be from earlier periods (in some cases much earlier), or from far distant locations. To attempt to say that a particular fabric is "wrong" is therefore not really a useful attitude.
As part of my mid C17th pottery I have some "Tudor green" (old fashioned), some Italian majolica (which I acquired while playing the role of an English officer during the siege of Canelli) and so on. I know what I am using, and can justify its acquisition / usuage, so who can say nay?

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:54 pm
by Simon_Diment
Chris T
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:43 pm Post subject:
My point was more about the sweeping generalisations made by some people.
As you say there are large quantities of pot surviving, I would guess more than all other archeological material added together. These samples may show that a particular fabric was common for a particular area, but they also tend to show a percentage of "exotic" material, which may be from earlier periods (in some cases much earlier), or from far distant locations. To attempt to say that a particular fabric is "wrong" is therefore not really a useful attitude.


If you want to be truly picky about it then you could try the following for a start :D

Medieval pottery in Britain, AD 900-1600 / Michael R. McCarthy and Catherine M. Brooks. - Excellent book

Pottery in medieval Southampton, c1066-1510 / Duncan H. Brown

A dated type-series of London medieval pottery / by J.E. Pearce, A.G. Vince and M.A. Jenner.... Part 2, London-type ware. - And the others in the same series.

Paul Tyers is your man if you want Roman Pottery but his website seems to be down at the moment:

www.potsherd.uklinux.net

Either that or talk the god of all things ceramic - Jim the Pot





:D

Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:08 am
by Hraefn
From the research I've done pies in period aren't baked in pottery pie dishes glazed or unglazed but raised. 'Tins' are mentioned in mid to late 17thC recipts but not medieval soooooo to answer the original question they is wrong for what you are using them for.

Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:00 pm
by Karen Larsdatter
Here's some illustrations of piemen at work (from my bakers & ovens linkspage):
And here's a guy with his pie (February from the Hours of Anne of Brittany, BNF Latin 9474, fol. 5).

Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:30 pm
by Sophia
Having followed this and watched the Hampton Court vids I am now inspired to have a go myself at raising a pie or two - will keep you posted on results.

Soph :D

Posted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:43 pm
by Wiblick
likewise.

Sorry not to have responded sooner - just got moved to a new job in work.

That tudor man is SICK I tell you SICK! Will make an attempt.

I was looking for a cheat I admit it, I know pies were made freestanding... but I should at least know how to do the hand raised method if ever put on the spot to produce one.

(I've still pre-ordered pie shaped dishes from Trinity Potteries who say that green glaze won't pass health & safety concerns these days and pots have been found with an edging motif akin to how pastry looks, but I suppose that might have been a pastry replacement, because as pointed out above pastry wasn't always meant to be eaten).

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 8:30 am
by gregory23b
Wiblick, take heart, that tudor pie-rasing chap managed to teach me to make a buttressed tart, ie raised side short pastry case, blind baked and then filled with lovely cheesy custardy herby goodness.

But as the venerable Hraefen and Robin have pointed out, raised pies are the way to go. Bear in mind some of the cases were effctively disposable, merely serving as a case for the contents, other sweet pastry pies were for eating crust and all. The best thing about the hard cases is that they can be simpy chucked away, result = less to carry back, no washing up and no worries about breakage and a really interesting talking point , a win, win, win situation ;-)

Can recommend Form of Cury - 14thc and the later but intriguely almost identical '15thc cookery book' by the Early English text society, some surprising clear instructions on certain pies, namely the great 'castle pie' where large round cylinders fo wood are used as forms for some whopping pies.

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:55 am
by aunty rach
Sophia,

I was intriuged by your reference to the Hampton Court vidoes. I've tried to find them but with no success (I assumed that they are online somewhere?). Can you point me in the right direction please?

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:17 am
by Merlon.
Hraefn's post of Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:01 pm in this thread

Posted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:17 pm
by aunty rach
Whoops.