Adventures in Reenacting | A Standing Crust Pie


Sing a Song of Sixpence,

A pocket full of rye,

Four and twenty blackbirds

Baked in a pie.

If you didn’t know it, I love the 18th century, (I’m looking forward to participating in some reenactments this year). And in case you also didn’t know, I love making food. Especially fun food. Combine those two interests, and you end up with me experimenting in the kitchen making something as delicious as this standing crust pie that I baked a few weeks ago.


I have been binge watching James Townsend & Son’s Youtube channel lately (if you have even the remotest interest in what they ate in the 18th century, you must check out their videos!), and when I came across their recipe for a standing pie crust, I decided to give it a whirl. Though we may not be as familiar with standing pie crusts here in the states, they are still a “thing” over in England, according to my understanding, and they were often used throughout history. They are so fun, and beautiful, I don’t know why they ever fell out of favor here in the states.


The piecrust is made with flour, suet (not the stuff you feed the birds! Look at this video to see what I am talking about), and water. Baked in a 9″ Springform pan, it is filled with pretty much what I had on hand in the fridge and freezer: Ground beef, peas, corn, carrots, potatoes, and of course a creamy gravy. I used this dish as an opportunity to dip my toes into the world of 18th century cooking, without using an all out authentic recipe, ahem, excuse me, “receipt”, from start to finish. Gabe helped a little with rolling out the crust (I cannot for the life of me make nice crusts. If you want a nice pie, ask Gabe to make the crust!), and contributing a beautiful pie bird to let off the steam. I added the finishing touches of a braid and an egg wash, and voila! A delicious, beautiful pie.


I LOVE how this pie turned out. It was so delicious, I can’t wait to try the crust out again with a different filling. Perhaps a chicken pie? It may not be the four and twenty blackbirds, but it will be close enough. 😉

Now I just need to decide what 18th century recipe I want to try next! Hmm… perhaps something like these date turnovers? We will see.

Do you like to cook?

Have you ever experimented with pre-20th century recipes?


Brigid E.

Author: Brigid Everson | Photography: Brigid & Gabriel Everson

8 thoughts on “Adventures in Reenacting | A Standing Crust Pie”

  1. I am trying to learn to cook. It would be mostly simple things first. That Standing Crust Pie looks delicious. Continued success with the 18th century cooking. Thank you for sharing.


  2. OOOHHH!!! I am excited to see more. I am a Historical Reenactor as well. I participate in reenactments centered around the Civil War (1860-1865) I am starting to work out a few Mid-Victorian era receipts. I LOVE Townsend’s Channel! Jon and his crew are such an encouragement not only with cooking, but period reenacting/living history as well. Id love to see some behind the scenes from the events you attend.

    Ms. B


  3. This is so fun! I once tried a carrot pudding recipe from the First American Cookbook. It’s a little bit of a challenge to follow recipes the way they were written before the 20th century, but it’s a challenge I enjoy. 🙂


  4. My mouth is watering! Absolutely gorgeous, and the filling sounds yummy too ; )
    I wonder if they are no longer “a thing” here because they were considered English? I know after the war many customs were abandoned simply for their connection with the old country and wonder if that went for foods as well?
    I love to experiment in cooking but have not ventured into historical cooking yet (this post may change that however ) I am also the pie maker in my family so this post especially appeals to me ; )
    And hats off to Gabe by the way,it was a long frustrating road before I learned to roll a proper crust.


  5. The pie looks Delicious! I love meat pies, though sadly I’ve never really gotten into cooking. Maybe I should change that some time……
    Be sure to take and post some photos from the reenactments you attend!
    Blessings, Celia


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