Ancient Roman baked custard

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Feeds


Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

Just when you think civilisation has done a reasonable job of advancing itself, you discover a simple recipe known as tyropatinum, recorded by Aplcius in De fíe Coquinaria roughly two thousand years ago, that is pretty similar to the baked custard you pulled out of the oven last Sunday night. Sigh. The pepper is a surprise, but it works.


  • 500 ml (18 fl oz) milk
  • 100 ml ( fl oz) wild honey
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • freshly ground pepper


Heat oven to 160°C (325°F). Heat milk and honey in a saucepan, stirring, without allowing to boil. Cool milk for 10 minutes. Place beaten eggs in a large bowl and slowly pour in milk and honey, whisking until well mixed.

Strain mixture into a heat-proof glass or earthenware baking dish and place in a roasting tray or baking pan. Fill pan with water until the level reaches half way up the side of the dish. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until just set. Grind black pepper on top, and serve.