Robin Hood – Little John Stew, Blackberry Pie, Currant Pie, Gruel

Quick links: Little John Beef Stew | Blackberry Pie | Currant Pie | Prison Gruel | Verdict

Robin Hood and Little John chilling in the kitchen, breakin’ eggs, stewin’ beef and eatin’ the day away. This is one of my wife’s favorite Disney movies. Mostly because she thinks Robin is a “fox”.
It is a really good, classic Disney movie with some good food to boot!

Little John Burnt Beef Stew

When Robin and Little John are chilling in the forest, they have a giant cauldron over a fire. It starts burning and bubbling over.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

Incidentally, when I was making the stew, I forgot to turn down the heat and my stew started to burn. So I guess it’s super authentic to the movie.

Friar Tuck then makes an appearance and tastes it.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

He finds it to be fairly spicy. So I searched for a suitable medieval stew I could make. I think I found one that’d be pretty close to what Robin and John were making

Little John Burnt Beef Stew

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy-Medium
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3 lbs Stewing Steak
3 tbs flour
oil for frying
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground mace (or chili powder)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
4 black peppercorns (crushed)
1 large onion (finely chopped)
6 large sprigs of parsley (finely chopped)
4 cups beef stock
2-3 pieces stale whole wheat bread
3 tbs cider vinegar
1 pinch saffron (or 1/4 tsp turmeric as a sub.)
  1. Toss the beef with the flour to coat.
  2. Cover the base of a large frying pan with a thin layer of oil and place over a medium high heat.
  3. Add the beef and fry, stirring occasionally, until browned.
  4. Add the spices, onion and parsley with a splash of the stock and fry, stirring frequently and scrapping up the crusty layer from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, for about 5 minutes until the onions have started to soften.
  5. Dump contents into large pot with its juices.
  6. Add the rest of the stock with a pinch of salt and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1hr 40 mins, until the beef is tender.
  7. Meanwhile, soak the bread in the vinegar with the saffron .
  8. After the beef is tender, stir into the stew and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes until the bread has broken down and the stew is thick.
  9. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Serve with buscuits

source: http://ginandcrumpets.com/medieval-spiced-beef-stew/


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Trigger’s Blackberry Pie

After the archery tournament, Robin gets chased around by Prince John’s guard. Trigger, the vulture takes cover in a pie stand selling blackberry pies.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

Trigger's Blackberry Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

3/4 cups cream
1/4 cup red wine
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
2 cups blackberries
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp ginger
1 pinch saffron (or leave out if not available) 
1/8 tsp ground mace (or chili pepper)
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 pre-baked pie shells
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream, wine, saffron and other spices, and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. In a separate container, beat egg yolks and honey together.
  4. While beating, add a bit of the hot milk mixture. Pour this back into the pot with the hot liquid while whisking furiously.
  5. Place the cut blackberries and dates in baked pie shells and spoon the cream mixture over fruit and into the shells.
  6. Bake at 375° F for 45 minutes, or until the filling has set.


Source: http://www.innatthecrossroads.com/2011/06/17/medieval-fruit-tarts-blueberry-strawberry-apricot-cherry/

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Maid Marian’s Currant Pie

In the same scene, Maid Marian starts throwing pies to help Robin escape.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

We wanted to find real currants, for the pie, but we couldn’t. However, Google told me that Blueberries are a close second. So we made a blueberry pie.

Maid Marian's Currant Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy-medium
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2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
2 1/4 cups red currants (blueberries)
1 ready to bake pie crust
1 pie crust mix
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 egg yolk
  1. Prepare the pie crust mix as directed, but add 1 egg yolk and the lemon zest
  2. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.
  3. Gradually stir in sugar and cornstarch; beat for 5 minutes.
  4. Fold currants (blueberries) into mixture and pour into pie crust.
  5. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.


Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/red-currant-pie/

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Not-in-Nottingham Prison Gruel

Toward the end, the rooster narrator is in jail with the rest of the town. He sings Not In Nottingham. We then see the mama rabbit feeding her baby rabbits something from a bowl.

(Credit: Disney)

(Credit: Disney)

In general, gruel is a common food for prisons. I’ve always wanted to taste it. So I made it. It tastes like watery oatmeal.

They also showed biscuits. We cheated and made some from a Pillsbury roll. They were great with the stew.

Not-in-Nottingham Prison Gruel

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

3 tbs oatmeal
2 cups water
salt to taste
  1. Mix the oatmeal with a little cold water to make a paste
  2. Put the rest of the water in a pan
  3. Add the mixture and boil for 10 minutes
  4. Add the salt


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Will it Steal from the Rich and Give to the Poor?

Aside from the gruel, not a bad run. The blackberry pie was super sweet. The beef stew was good, and I think if it weren’t burnt, it would have been even better. And the currant (blueberry) pie was delicious


Stew – 7/10

Blackberry pie – 7.5/10

Currant (blueberry) pie – 9/10

Gruel – 4/10


Snow White – Fish Stew and Gooseberry Pie

Quick links: Fish Stew Recipe | Gooseberry Pie Recipe | Verdict

There is a full recipe given in this movie, but since I’m not in the market for eating a poisoned apple, I decided to opt for the other foods featured in the movie.


The first food shown in the movie was right after the dwarves discovered the not-so-monsterous Snow White hogging up three of the dwarves’ beds. She goes down the stairs and checks the giant cauldron.

vlcsnap-2015-02-01-23h08m28s210(credit: Disney)

The dwarves rush to the edge of the steps and say in unison “MMM…SOUP!” Then rush down and start fighting over hard-rolls.

vlcsnap-2015-02-01-23h09m01s38(credit: Disney)

Now, there aren’t many hints to what kind of soup this is. We do know that the dwarves have potatoes in their house that we see when Grumpy hides in the sack.

vlcsnap-2015-02-01-23h17m44s157(credit: Disney)

But that is the only real visual hint. However, after the meal and festivities of the night, the dwarves retire to bed and grumpy is sent to sleep in the cauldron. He pulls a ladle from behind his back and says “A fine kettle of fish this is.”  Now, the saying, “a fine kettle of fish” is used to express an awkward situation, but we took this to be a double entendre.  That it was an awkward situation, and the soup they had was indeed fish soup.  That would make sense given the rivers nearby. Also, I have a hard time imagining sweet little Snow butchering one of her cute animal friends and boiling them in the soup.

I did some research into the story of Snow White and found that it took place in Germany. I also found that perch is a common fish in Germany, and my local grocery store had perch, so I went with that fish. I couldn’t find a recipe that I liked, so I kinda shot from the hip when making this. It was a little harder than I expected, but you can learn from my mistakes.

Snow White Fish Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Medium
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1 pound Perch (or about 5 filets)
3 tablespoons Lemon juice divided
3 tablespoons Butter divided
2 tablespoons Flour
1 Chopped onion yellow
1/4 to 1/3 Chopped fennel bulb
8 ounces German-brewed beer
2 teaspoons Salt
1 1/2 cup Seafood stock
1 1/2 cup Vegetable stock
1/2 cup Heavy cream
2 Chopped carrots
2 Chopped celery stalks
1 bunch Chopped green onions
3 Small to medium russet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon Bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon Fennel
1/4 teaspoon Dill weed
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
2 cloves Garlic
1 teaspoon Honey
6 slices Bacon cooked
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Start by scoring perch and soaking in 2 Tbsp lemon juice, set aside for later.
  2. In a large soup pot melt 2 Tbsp butter on med-hi heat and mix in 2 Tbsp flour, creating roux.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp butter with onions and fennel bulb. Sautee until onions are clear.
  4. Add beer, reduce heat to medium and let simmer (about 10 mins).
  5. Next add salt, seafood stock, vegetable stock, and heavy cream. Stir well,
  6. Add carrots, potatoes, and green onions. Turn heat to high.
  7. Add spices: bay leaves, fennel, dill weed, paprika, and garlic, with the honey and 1 Tbsp lemon juice.Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Leave soup on high heat until boiling, mixing well. Once at a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Let simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Crumble cooked bacon into soup, chop perch into cubes and add to pot.
  10. Cook 30 more minutes (partly uncovered) or until fish becomes flakey.


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Grumpy Gooseberry Pie

Right before the evil queen, finds Snow in the woods, we see Snow lovingly baking a pie for the down-in-the-dumps Grumpy. She even has a little bird write his name on it.

vlcsnap-2015-02-01-23h15m36s199(credit: Disney)

She had mentioned making a gooseberry pie earlier in the film, and we can assume that the pie she is making in this seen is indeed a gooseberry pie, judging by the green berries shown inside the pie.

vlcsnap-2015-02-01-23h15m12s147(credit: Disney)

I had never seen a gooseberry in my life. I didn’t have a clue where to buy them. They aren’t a common berry you see at the market. I looked online and saw that a company called Oregon Fruit sells canned gooseberries. You can buy them on amazon, but I didn’t want to pay over $30 for a pack of 8 cans. I looked at my local grocery store, but they didn’t carry them. Luckily, on their site, they have a little map icon that allows you to see what local store sell them. I was lucky enough to have a Whole Foods nearby that carried them, so I went and bought a couple cans at around $5/can. Expensive.

My wife is the baking master in our relationship so I let her handle the gooseberry pie. We kinda skimped on making the pie from scratch though. We bought a premade chilled pie crust and some pie dough mix for the top. But if you desire to make your own pie dough, you can follow the dough recipe below.

Grumpy's Gooseberry Pie

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print



2 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Butter chilled and diced
1/2 cup Ice water


2 cans gooseberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 large egg yolk


  1. Combine flour, 1/2 tsp salt, and butter.
  2. Mix ingredients with pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Slowly add water and mix until mixture forms a ball. You might not need the whole 1/2 cup. Split into two balls.
  4. Optional: refrigerate balls wrapped in plastic overnight.
  5. On floured surface roll out each ball to fit 9 inch pie plate.
  6. Press one crust into pie plate evenly, reserve the other for pie top.


  1. In saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  2. Strain gooseberries and pour syrup into saucepan.
  3. Turn on medium heat and stir for 5-6 minutes, until mixture starts to thicken.
  4. Turn off heat and add gooseberries, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  5. Gently mix together then pour into pie plate.

Final steps and Glaze

  1. Top with second crust and press top and bottom crusts together.
  2. Poke holes to vent top crust.
  3. Optional: Use overlaying crust from the topper to spell “Grumpy” like in Snow White.
  4. For a nice pie coating, beat heavy cream and egg yolk together then brush onto pie top.
  5. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then at 375 for another 20-30 minutes, until pie crust is golden brown.
  6. Let cool before serving.


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Good enough to wake a sleeping princess?

It was definitely a nice meal. The fish stew was yummy and filling, but it wasn’t amazing. The gooseberry pie on the other hand, WOW. I now know why the dwarves were so excited. That stuff was DELICIOUS. It was sweet, yet tart. I hadn’t had a pie quite like it. It went well with a little bit of ice cream too.



Fish Stew – 6/10

Gooseberry Pie – 10/10

Poison Apple – 0/10*  

* May cause eternal sleeping