King Richard II granted Leeds Castle to his Queen, Anne of Bohemia in 1382. Anne spent the Christmas before her wedding at Leeds Castle and she and Richard II were regular visitors. After her untimely death of plague in 1394, Richard II came back to the Castle several times, using it for state business as well as leisure. In 1395 the French historian Jean Froissart visited the English court, then in residence at Leeds, and wrote a description in his chronicles of the ‘beautiful Palace in Kent called Leeds Castle’.
It was in the 1390s, during the King Richard II’s tenure at Leeds Castle, that the world’s first recipe book was written – the Forme of Cury. Only the finest food was prepared for the King who loved to entertain on a lavish scale and impress his guests with rare and expensive ingredients such as saffron and the newly discovered, sugar.
‘Daryols’ (or custard tarts to us) were one of the favourites and have enjoyed many permutations through time. They are particularly delicious and have been served at Leeds Castle in recent times.
Daryols Recipe: Take cream or almond milk, add egg with sugar, saffron and salt. Mix it up. Pour it in a two-inch deep pastry case. Bake it well and serve.