The Prior’s Sweet Omelette

Jocelyn de Brakeland wrote a chronicle of his abbey from 1173 to 1232. He says that the abbot always had four sorts of dishes on his table. He himself lived simply. He preferred sweet dishes made with milk and honey to rich meat pottages. His visitors, however, were served with venison from the abbey’s own park and fish from its fishponds; both park and ponds were extensive and well-stocked.

This recipe, which comes from an early cookery book, clearly originated in a monastery and is exactly the sort of dish the Abbot of Brakeland preferred.


  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • 1 tablespoon clear honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) butter


Cut the orange in half and cut one half into quarters. Grate the zest from the half orange and set it aside on a saucer. Squeeze the juice from the half orange and set aside.

Whip the cream until it stands, but is not at all solid. Fold in the honey and the orange juice and put in a refrigerator for a few minutes until required.

Beat the egg yolks well and the whites so that they just hold a peak. Make the butter very hot in an omelette pan. Fold the egg whites into the yolks and pour into the pan. No sugar or salt should be added. Turn the edge inwards from the sides of the pan as the omelette cooks. In 2 minutes it will be almost set, except in the centre. Immediately spoon the cream and honey mixture a little off centre, and fold one half of the omelette over it. Lift it quickly but carefully on to a hot dish. Sprinkle the orange zest over it and put a quarter of orange at each end.

Serve immediately and very quickly, simply dividing the omelette in two, with an orange quarter for each person to squeeze over it. It is essential to start eating it before all the cream and honey melts and runs out.