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Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Chardewardon - Pear Custard

Chardewardon or Pear Custard
Chardewardon is one of several pear recipes that can be found in Two fifteenth-century cookery-books : Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430), & Harl. MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), with extracts from Ashmole MS. 1439, Laud MS. 553, & Douce MS. 55 Thomas Austin. It is quite simple to make and has the texture of a velvety applesauce when completed. One of my taste testers said it reminded him vaguely of pumpkin pie in texture and suggested that perhaps it would be delicious in a tart.  Several recipes published online have layered this dish with another medieval dish, snowe, which I imagine is very delicious as snowe resembles whipped cream flavored lightly with rose water. 

.xxxiv. Chardewardon.—Take Pere Wardonys, an sethe hem in Wyne or in fayre water; þan take an grynd in a morter, an drawe hem þorwe a straynoure wyth-owte ony lycoure, an put hem in a potte with Sugre and clarifiyd hony, an Canel y-now, an lete hem boyle; þan take it fro þe fyre, an let kele, an caste þer-to ȝolkys of Raw eyroun, tylle it be þikke; & caste þer-to pouder Gyngere y-now, an serue it in manere of Fysshe;*. [For Rys; see Douce MS. No. 53, and the end of this recipe. A. also reads fische. ] an ȝif if it be in lente, lef þe ȝolkys of Eyroun, & lat þe remenaunt boyle so longe tylle it be þikke, as þow it had be temperyd wyth þe ȝolkys, in þe maner of charde quynce; an so serue hem in maner of Rys.

xxxiv - Chardewardon. Take Pere Wardonys, an sethe hem in Wyne or in fayre water; than take an grynd in a morter, an drawe hem thorwe a straynoure wyth-owte ony lycoure, an put hem in a potte with Sugre and clarifiyd hony, an Canel y-now, an lete hem boyle; than take it fro the fyre, an let kele, an caste ther-to 3olkys of Raw eyroun, tylle it be thikke; and caste ther-to pouder Gyngere y-now, an serue it in manere of Fysshe; (Note: For Rys; see Douce MS. No. 53, and the end of this recipe. A. also reads fische) an 3if if it be in lente, lef the 3olkys of Eyroun, and lat the remenaunt boyle so longe tylle it be thikke, as thow it had be temperyd wyth the 3olkys, in the maner of charde quynce; an so serue hem in maner of Rys

34. Chardewardon. Take Warden Pears, and cook them in wine or in fair water; then take and grind in a mortar and draw them through a strainer without any liquid, and put them in a pot with sugar and clarified honey, and cinnamon enough, and let them boil: then take it from the fire and let cool, and caste there-to yolks of raw egg, till it be thick, and caste there-to powder ginger enough, and serve it in manner of fish [For rice: see Douce MS. No. 53, and the end of this recipe. A. also reads fish] and if it be in lent, leave the yolks of eggs, and let the remains boil so long until it be thick, as though tempered with the yolks, in the manner of charde quince, and so serve them in manner of Rys.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                                     Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

2 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into pieces
Water or wine to cover pears (I used water)
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. sugar
1 stick of cinnamon
1 egg or 2 egg yolks
1/4 tsp. ginger

Cook pears and the cinnamon together in enough water or wine to cover until soft. This is where you cheat--remove the cinnamon stick and place the pears into a food processor and process into a smooth paste. Strain the pears through a strainer into the pot--this is a crucial step to remove any large pieces of pear from the mixture. Place over a double boiler and add sugar, honey, cinnamon, let cook until sugar and honey have dissolved. Add egg yolks and ginger, and stir until the pears have thickened to the consistency of applesauce. Strain before serving.

There was a bit of a squabble amongst the taste testers when this dish made it to the table. It was declared "lick your plate" good and I was asked (well....begged would be a better term) to make more immediately when the last of it was eaten. I will be making this dish again in the future.

Similar Recipes

Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books (England, 1430)

Chare de Wardone. Take peer Wardons, and seth hem in wine or water; And then take hem vppe, and grinde hem in a morter, and drawe hem thorgh a streynoure with the licour; (Note: Douce MS. with-out eny licour) And put hem in a potte with Sugur, or elle3 with clarefiede hony and canell ynowe, And lete hem boile; And then take hit from the fire, And lete kele, and caste there-to rawe yolkes of eyren, til hit be thik, and caste thereto powder of ginger ynowe; And serue hit forth in maner of Ryse. And if hit be in lenton tyme, leve the yolkes of eyren, And lete the remnaunt boyle so longe, til it be so thikk as though hit were y-tempered withyolkes of eyren, in maner as A man setheth charge de quyns; And then serue hit forth in maner of Rys.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak chard wardene tak wardens and bak them in an oven then tak them out and paire them and grind them in a mortair and streyne them smothe throwghe a streyner then put them in an erthene pot and put ther to sugur till they be douced as ye think best and put ther to pouder of notmeggs guinger and granes and let the pouder be farcede put ther to powder of sanders tille it be coloured and stirr it with a pot stik and set yt on a soft fyere and let it boile till yt be stiff as leche lombard and ye put amydon or rise it is bettere and when it is cold lay it fair abrod in the coffyn and let it stond ij dais and ye liste strawe senymom upon it and a day aftur thebred is out of the ovene then set it ther in and it shalle en be hard and then ye shall mak chardquynce.

A modern interpretation of this recipe can be found at Dan Myer's website Medieval Cookery: Chardewardon









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