The Poor Knights of Windsor

A little while back Green & Black’s  organic chocolate invited me out to Windsor for their pop-up stall as part of their Taste Tour. Sadly I couldn’t make it, so instead they sent me some chocolate and a recipe to create my own little food event at home. Green & Black’s taste specialist Brandt Maybury devised a variation on a recipe traditional to the area of Windsor to highlight the colour and flavour of Green and Black’s chocolate.

The original recipe from ‘The Compleat Cook‘ by ‘WM’, 1658 which is really a variation on the ‘poor knights’ recipe which was found in places all over Europe, goes like this “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.”

“The Poor Knights” in our case were the chaps who had fallen into financial adversity when fighting for Edward III and had to ransom themselves out of capture. “The Poor Knights” as they then became known were given residence in Windsor Castle and allowed to wear scarlet tailcoats in exchange for various duties around the castle, such as parade duties. The Poor Knights of Windsor recipe is a classic served at the castle, and reflects the knight’s tailcoats.

Poor Knights of Windsor

The Poor Knights of Windsor Recipe


For the chocolate French toast

4 slices Sourdough or granary bread
2 x free-range eggs
50ml double cream
15g caster sugar
2tsp Green & Black’s cocoa powder
1/4tsp anilla extract
1/4tsp nutmeg
50g Green & Black’s Dark 70% chocolate, grated
Some butter for frying

For the mascarpone cream
200g mascarpone cheese
70ml double cream
30g icing sugar

For the port & black cherry sauce
100g black cherries, pitted & halved
40ml ruby port
60ml water
1tsp cornflour

Poor Knights of Windsor


For the cherry sauce
Place cherries and port in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the water, and gently simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until the cherries are soft – occasionally top the water back up to the level you started with. Meanwhile mix the cornflour with a little cold water. Whisk a tsp of the cornflour mix in to the sauce, add more depending on how thick you want the sauce. Remove from the heat to cool, before placing in the fridge until needed

For the cream filling
Make the mascarpone cream; place all ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk until thick. Place in the fridge until needed.

For the French toast
Mix the sugar and cocoa powder together in a large bowl and then add all of the other remaining ingredients.
Mix together well. Dunk the slices of bread in the mixture for 20 seconds (this may vary depending on your bread) and place on a plate ready for frying.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, before adding a knob of butter. Fry the French toast for a minute or two on each side, checking the colour of each slice regularly to ensure your pan isn’t too hot. Once fried and hot in the centre, remove from the pan and cool for a minute.
Roll in the grated dark chocolate until fully coated. Serve immediately with the mascarpone cream and Port & black cherry sauce.