Although this seems like a pain perdu, ‘Poor knights of Windsor’ is a different dish that evolved from the same Roman recipe. Poor knights has sweet spices, such as nutmeg, added to the pudding. White bread is soaked in cream then fried until golden with eggs and nutmeg, and served sprinkled with fine sugar and cream.
The origin of the name is a bit of a mystery: similar dishes throughout northern Europe have the name ‘poor knights’, such as the dish ‘köyhät ritarit’ in Finland, or ‘Arme Ritter’ in Germany, which is a pain pur-dew today but in
The earliest English recipe in
To make poore knights.
Cut two penny loaves in round slices, dip them in half a pint of Cream or faire water, then lay them abroad in a dish, and beat three Eggs and grated Nutmegs and sugar, beat them with the Cream then melt some butter in a frying pan, and wet the sides of the toasts and lay them in on the wet side, then pour in the rest upon them, and so fry them, serve them in with Rosewater, sugar and butter.
W.M., The Compleat Cook, 1658
The Scottish Mrs
The Poor Knights of Windsor, established in 1352, were originally a number of mendicant military veterans attached to the Order of the Garter, who were fed and housed at Windsor Castle in return for saying daily prayers for the sovereign and his successors, and for the Knights of the Order of the Garter. The Military Knights of Windsor still exist as military pensioners and participate in the pageantry of the Order of the Garter today.
The next change to the recipe for this pudding was made by one of the most-loved modern English food writers,
As I said in my recipe for pain pur-dew, the quality of the bread is very important and should be the best you can afford. I suggest using day-old bread, but when it is two days old it will work even better. When bread goes dry, it keeps its shape better when soaking and frying.
I like to serve this dish with a sack sauce, as Heath suggests, and add raspberries, as in
To make the compote, sprinkle the raspberries with the sugar and cinnamon. Allow to stand until they produce some liquid and look like a slightly runny whole-fruit jam. Taste and add more cinnamon and sugar if necessary, but you want to keep some of the tartness of the fruit.
Meanwhile, whip the cream and add caster sugar to taste, but no more than
Remove the crusts from the bread if you like, I prefer to leave them on. Heat a frying pan that is large enough to hold the pieces of bread over medium heat. Use a pastry brush to brush the bread all over with the clarified butter, then fry on both sides until golden.
Whisk the egg yolks and dip the fried bread in them before returning the bread to the pan to fry briefly until the egg has set.
Meanwhile, reheat the sack sauce.
If you want to try Mrs
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