Huff paste was a cooking technique involved making a stiff pie shell or coffyn using a mixture of flour, suet, and boiling water. The pastry when cooked created a tough protective layer around the food inside. When cooked, the pastry would be discarded as it was virtually inedible. However, the shell became soaked with the meat juices and was sometimes eaten by house servants after the meal had concluded.
|Place of origin||England|
|Main ingredients||Flour, suet, boiling water|
Its main purpose was simply to create a solid container for the pie’s ingredients. The flour itself was stronger than normal flour, often made from coarsely ground rye, and suet, which was mixed with hot water to create an early form of hot water crust pastry.
Huff paste could be moulded into a variety of shapes, called 'coffyns' or 'coffers', similar to a Cornish pasty. Another benefit of these early pies was that meat could be preserved for several months and the food contained within was protected from contamination. It also allowed food to be preserved so that country dwellers could send it over long distances as gifts to their friends in other towns or areas.
Occasionally shells of huff paste were baked empty, or "blind". After baking, the pastry was brushed with egg yolk to give it a golden color. Later, the shell was filled with a mixture of meat and spices and then baked.
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