Monday, June 27, 2016

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Wardonys in Syryp - Pears in Syrup

Wardonys in Syryp - Pears in Syrup
There are several recipes 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 which feature pears that have been stewed in wine, sweetened with sugar or honey, and flavored with cinnamon and other varied spices. The first recipe that I interpreted was Perys en Composte which was declared the favorite of the two recipes which I interpreted.  The second was Wardonys in Syryp, a very flavorful dish. 

Among one of the oldest cultivated fruits is the pear, and it is sad that today most of us are only aware of a few of the many varieties of pears that are available; Bartlett, Bosc, Anjou, Comice, Asian and Seckle. Pears are thought to have originated in Asia over 4,000 years ago and were being actively cultivated in Europe approximately 1000 B.C.  The Greeks had a special love of pears, and they were considered to be "gifts from the Gods" sacred to two goddesses, Hera and Aphrodite.

Pliny the Elder in his "Natural History" described over forty different kinds of pears. This number grew to over 60 varieties when John Gerard noted that a friend of his grew over 60 varieties of pears in the late 1500's. Pear seeds were given to the American Colonies in the early 1600's.  Le Lecier describes over 200 varieties of pears in 1628. One of the oldest pear trees planted in 1810 in America can be found at San Juan Batista. It is still bearing fruit.

Worcester Black Pears 
The most well-known pear variety is the Bartlett.  When it was first introduced is unknown, although some sources suggest it was known in England as early as 1600, other sources indicate a much later date. When first introduced, the bartlett pear was known as the William's Bon Chretien, or William's pear and it now accounts for over 70% of the pears that you see in the supermarkets today.

What of the Warden pear? Warden's present their own unique history.  It is possible that the Warden pear suggested in the recipes below refers to the Worcestor Black Pear, which is first referenced in Bedfordshire's Warden Abbey in the 13th century. If this is true, then this is one of the oldest known pear cultivars.  The pear itself is mahogany colored with russet patches and soft white or cream colored fruit.  It is incredibly hard and gritty and must be cooked in order to make it edible. Picked in late October, early November they can keep until April. It was this incredibly long keeping time that perhaps made them a popular item on the medieval table.

Another possibility is that the Warden was a general name given to any pear variety that was long keeping and needed to be stewed or cooked prior to eating. It may have come from the Anglo-Saxon word Weardon, meaning to preserve.

.x. Wardonys in syryp.—Take wardonys, an caste on a potte, and boyle hem till þey ben tender; þan take hem vp and pare hem, an kytte hem in to pecys*. [? ='in two pieces.' ]; take y-now of powder of canel, a good quantyte, an caste it on red wyne, an draw it þorw a straynour; caste sugre þer-to, an put it in [supplied by ed.] an erþen pot, an let it boyle: an þanne caste þe perys þer-to, an let boyle to-gederys, an whan þey haue boyle a whyle, take pouder of gyngere an caste þerto, an a lytil venegre, an a lytil safron; an loke þat it be poynaunt an dowcet.

x - Wardonys in syryp. Take wardonys, an caste on a potte, and boyle hem till they ben tender; than take hem vp and pare hem, an kytte hem in to pecys (Note: ? ='in two pieces.' ); take y-now of powder of canel, a good quantyte, an caste it on red wyne, an draw it thorw a straynour; caste sugre ther-to, an put it in an erthen pot, an let it boyle: an thanne caste the perys ther-to, an let boyle to-gederys, an whan they haue boyle a whyle, take pouder of gyngere an caste therto, an a lytil venegre, an a lytil safron; an loke that it be poynaunt an dowcet.

10. Pears in Syrup. Take pears, and cast them in a pot and boil them till they are tender; then take them up and pare them, and cut them in two pieces (or into pieces); take enough of powder of cinnamon, a good quantity, and cast it on red wine, and draw it through a strainer, cast sugar there-to, and put it in an earthen pot, and let it boil: and then cast the pears there-to, and let boil together, and when they have boiled a while, take powder of ginger and cast thereto, and a little vinegar, and a little saffron: and look that it be sour and sweet.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                        Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1 pear, peeled, cored and cut in two pieces
1 tsp. cinnamon powder or 1 stick of cinnamon
3/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. ginger
Pinch of saffron

Gently poach pears until almost tender.  While the pears are poaching bring the wine, sugar, ginger, vinegar, saffron and cinnamon to a boil and cook until mixture has thickened and reduced. When the syrup has thickened add the pears and cook until the pears become tender and serve.

I believe that this recipe, like the perys in compost could be made up to two weeks prior to an event. However, the pears would continue to soak up the color of the wine they were cooked in, and that would eliminate the beauty of the white flesh of the pears as soon as you cut into them which I found to be one of the most striking features of the recipe.

The taste testers really enjoyed this recipe and I believe this dish will find its way regularly onto my table, especially when pears are in season.  

Similar recipes 

Ancient Cookery [Arundel 334] (England, 1425)

Warduns in syruppe. Take wardens (pears), and pare hom clene, and scthe hom in red wyn with mulberryes, or saunders, tyl thai byn tendur, and then take hom up, and cut hom, and do hom in a pot; and do therto wyn crete, or vernage ||, or other gode swete -wyne, and blaunch pouder, and sugur, and pouder of gynger, and let hom boyle awhile, and then serve hit forth.

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

Peris in Syrippe. Take Wardons, and cast hem in a faire potte, And boile hem til thei ben tendre; and take hem vppe, and pare hem in ij. or in iij. And take powder ofCanell, a good quantite, and cast hit in good red wyne, And cast sugur thereto, and put hit in an erthen potte, And lete boile; And then cast the peris thereto, And late hem boile togidre awhile; take powder of ginger, And a litell saffron to colloure hit with, And loke that hit be poynante/ And also Doucet/

Thomas Awkbarow's Recipes (MS Harley 5401) (England, 15th century)

To make a Syrop of Wardons. Recipe wardons & seth þam til þai be softe in clene water, or cast þam in a syve & rost þam. Pyl þam & shere þam in resonabyl byg pecis; þan take rede wyne or swete wyn or whyte wyne or gode ale, sugur & pressyd hony & bole it, & take powdyr of gynger & canell & cast it þerin boylyng, &annis in confyt; & when it is sodyn cast in þi wardons & serof it forth.

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









Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - Perys en Composte - Pears in Compote

Perys en Composte
There are several recipes 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 which feature pears that have been stewed in wine, sweetened with sugar or honey, and flavored with cinnamon and other varied spices.  

I prepared this dish for the Coronation of Cadagan and AnnMarie approximately two weeks prior to the event. I canned it and kept it in the fridge.  This is an excellent dish which can be made ahead for any event. The longer the pears are kept the deeper the color of the wine they absorb and the fuller the flavor. This is on my "make again" list and will most likely end up being a go to dish prepared when pears are in season.

.xxxv. Perys en Composte.—Take Wyne an Canel, & a gret dele of Whyte Sugre, an set it on þe fyre & hete it hote, but let it nowt boyle, an draw it þorwe a straynoure; þan take fayre Datys, an pyke owt þe stonys, an leche hem alle þinne, an caste þer-to; þanne take Wardonys, an pare hem and sethe hem an leche hem alle þinne, & caste þer-to in-to þe Syryppe: þanne take a lytil Sawnderys, and caste þer-to, an sette it on þe fyre; an ȝif þow hast charde quynce, caste þer-to in þe boyling, an loke þat it stonde wyl with Sugre, an wyl lyid wyth Canel, an caste Salt þer-to, an let it boyle; an þan caste yt on a treen vessel, & lat it kele, & serue forth.

xxxv - Perys en Composte. Take Wyne an Canel, and a gret dele of Whyte Sugre, an set it on the fyre and hete it hote, but let it nowt boyle, an draw it thorwe a straynoure; than take fayre Datys, an pyke owt the stonys, an leche hem alle thinne, an caste ther-to; thanne take Wardonys, an pare hem and sethe hem, an leche hem alle thinne, and caste ther-to in-to the Syryppe: thanne take a lytil Sawnderys, and caste ther-to, an sette it on the fyre; an 3if thow hast charde quynce, caste ther-to in the boyling, an loke that it stonde wyl with Sugre, an wyl lyid wyth Canel, an caste Salt ther-to, an let it boyle; an than caste yt on a treen vessel, and lat it kele, and serue forth [correction; sic = f].

35 - Pears in Compost. - Take wine and cinnamon, and a great deal of white sugar, and set it on the fire and heat it hot, but let it not boil, and draw it through a strainer; then take fair dates, and pick out the stones, and slice them all thin, and cast there-to; then take Wardens (pears), and pare them and boil them, and slice them all thin, and caste there-to into the syrup; then take a little sandalwood, and caste thereto, and set it on the fire, and if you have charde-quince, caste there-to in the boiling, and look that it stand well with sugar, and well-seasoned (lyid) with cinnamon, and caste salt there-to, and let it boil; and then cast it on a wooden vessel, and let it cool and serve forth.

Interpreted Recipe                                                                            Serves 1 as main, 2 as side

1 pear, peeled, cored and cut in slices
1 cup wine
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 cup sugar
2 dates cut in 8ths
Sandalwood - Optional (I didn't use)
Pinch salt

If you are choosing to use the sandalwood to color your wine, heat it and the wine together in a pot along with the cinnamon and sugar.  Do not let it boil.  Let the sandalwood steep in the wine until the desired color is reached and then strain. I used a red wine, so chose not to do this step. Meanwhile peel, core and slice your pear into 8 slices, along with your dates.  Strain the wine, and return it to the pot adding a pinch of salt, pears and dates.  Bring to a boil and cook until the pears have softened.  I returned the cinnamon stick to the pot and cooked it with the pears. 
Similar Recipes

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

Peris in compost. Take Wyne, canell, And a grete dele of white Sugur, And sette hit ouer the fire, And hete hit but a litull, and no3t boyle; And drawe hit thorgh a streynour; And then take faire dates, and y-take oute the stones, and leche hem in faire gobettes al thyn, and cast there-to; And then take pere Wardones, and pare hem, And seth hem, And leche hem in faire gobettes, and pike oute the core, and cast hem to the Syryppe; And take a litull Saundres, and caste there-to in the boylyng, And loke that hit stonde well, with Gynger, Sugur, And well aley hit with canell, and cast salt thereto, and lete boyle; And then caste it oute in a treyn (Note: treyne is treen, wooden) vesse [correction; sic = MS. vesselle vesselle] ll, And lete kele; And then pare clene rasinges (Note: shavings, parings) of ginger, and temper hem ij. or iij. daies, in wyne, And after, ley hem in clarefied hony colde, all a day or a night; And then take the rasons4 oute of the hony, And caste hem to theperes in composte; And then serue hit forth with sirippe, all colde, And nought hote.

Recipes from the Wagstaff Miscellany (England, 1460)

Perys in composte. Take wyn & a grete dele of canell with sygure set hit on the fyre lat hit not boylyng draw hit thorow a streynour leche datys thyn & do ther to in a panne or in a pott aley hem with chard quyns & salt loke hit be doucet & chargeaunt do hit out of that vessell in to a trene vessell & let it kele pare smal reysons take trydd gyngour paryd & temper hym ij days or iij in wyne & aftyr ward ley hym in claryfyd hony cold a day and nexte than take the reysons out of the hony & cast ther to perys in composte & serve hit forth with the syrip al cold.

A Noble Boke off Cookry (England, 1468)

To mak peres in composte tak a good quantite of canelle and sugur and set it on the fyer to boile and draw yt throughe a stren then lesk dates thyn and put them ther to in a pot and boille wardens and pair them and put them in the ceripe put ther to sanders and boile them and alay them up with chardwins and salt it and mak yt doucet and chargaunt and put it out of the vesselle in to a treene vesselle and let it boille then pare smalle raisins and tried guinger and temper it ij dais or ij nyghtes with wyne then lay it in clarified hony cold a day and nyght then tak the raisins out of the hony and cast ther to peres in composte and serue it furthe with a cold ceripe.