Pear Pie

Author: Justin
Serves 8+

Pears (ideally 8-10 little wardens; 4 smallish pears if not) 1/2 - 1 cup sugar, depending on how sweet/tart the pears are
1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp ground clove pie shell
top crust

Pick, peel and core the pears.  Parboil them long enough to soften them up a bit.  (How long depends on how large and ripe the pears are.  A minute or two for ripe wardens; probably 4-5 minutes for slightly underripe pears.)  Let cool.

Set the pears into the pie shell.  If using larger pears, you might cut them in half horizontally, and alternate which side is up, to make a more even surface.

Pour sugar into the cored hole of the pears, dividing it more or less evenly.  Sprinkle cinnamon, ginger, and clove over top.  Lay the top crust overall, cut to size, and crimp the edges.  Prick top with a fork.

Bake in a 350 degree oven until the crust is browning nicely, 45 minutes or so.

Notes and Variations

The original recipe is for wardens, which are like pears but something like half the size of a typical modern pear.  Hence, the intent of the original is probably for a bunch of little wardens evenly spaced.  Modern pears tend to make four big lumps in the pie; hence, the directive to cut them in half.

As usual for period recipes, the quantities are guesswork.  The sugar and spices could probably vary by a factor of two either way and still be entirely edible.  The original appears to call for whole cloves, but I despise biting into a clove unawares, so I have substituted ground.  It is not clear from the original whether it intends a top crust or not -- I have presently interpreted it so, but you could make an argument for not.


Reconstructed from A Book of Cookrye, London, 1591.  The original reads:

How to bake Wardens.

Core your wardens and pare them, and perboyle them and laye them in your paste, and put in every warden where you take out the Core a Clove or twain, put to them Sugar, Ginger, Sinamon, more sinamon then ginger, make your crust very fine and somewhat thick, and bake them leisurely.