Ornamental Separator

Fairy Butter

Watch our historic foodways staff cook this recipe, then try it at home

This fragrant dish is often used on pancakes and scones or as a dessert sauce on gingerbread.

18th Century

“Take the yolks of two hard eggs in a mortar with a large spoonful of orange flower water, and two tea spoonfuls of fine sugar beat to a powder; beat all together till it is a fine paste then mix it up with about as much fresh butter out of the churn and force it through a fine strainer full of little holes into a plate. This is a pretty thing to set of a table at supper.”

—The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy

21st Century


  • ½ pound butter
  • 2 hard-boiled egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp orange flower water
  • 2 tsp sugar


  1. Put your eggs until hard; let cool and peel them. Remove yolks.
  2. Put the yolks in a large bowl with the sugar and the orange flower water.* Beat them all together with the back of a fork or spoon until they come to a fine paste.
  3. Add your butter and mix until smooth.
  4. Pass this mixture through a fine sieve or strainer onto a plate. Decorate with flowers, if you wish.

* Orange flower water can be purchased online or in Middle East grocers and shops.

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Historic Foodways