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Poor Knights of Windsor


White bread soaked in sweetened egg-and-cream with sweet spices, fried until golden and served sprinkled with fine sugar.

The present-day Knights of Windsor
Image: Philip Allfrey

The earliest receipt (WM 1658) has them served with rosewater, sugar and butter, more recent versions add jam or jam sauce.

The origin of the name is a puzzle, especially as dishes similar to this are called the equivalent of 'poor knights' throughout northern Europe, from Germany (Armer Ritter) to Finland (köyhät ritarit). The addition '... of Windsor' is probably a reference to the so-called 'Poor Knights', those military gentlemen who were ruined financially by having to ransom themselves after the battle of Crecy, and who were given pensions and lodgings in Windsor Castle by Edward III. Their successors still march around Windsor in red uniforms.

Original Receipt in 'The Compleat Cook' by 'WM', 1658 (WM 1658)

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.

Original Receipt from 'The English Cookery Book' edited by JH Walsh Walsh 1859;

Poor Knight's Pudding.
882. Cut a roll into thin slices with the crust on it, mix up two eggs with a pint of milk; sugar and nutmeg to the taste. Let the slices soak in this custard for an hour, then pour off, and drain another hour; fry them till they are of a nice brown, and serve with wine sauce.

See also:
French Toast
For an ancient version, see: Meselade.and Pamperdy

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