Pilgrim Seasonings

Plymouth Colony Foodways: Notes and Recipes from a 17th Century Kitchen

Warden Pie alias Pear Pie

February 16th, 2012 by KM Wall

Warden pie, or quince pie.


Take of the fairest and best Wardens, and pare them, and take out the hard chores on the top, and cut the sharp ends at the bottome flat; (We had 3# of Barlett pears. I stood them up around each other to get a sense of how big this pie was going to be. I also plunked them down into a stewing pot so I could get a sense of how much liquid I would need to poach them in.)


Make sure there is enough room in your pot for all your pears.

then boyle them in White-wine and suger, vntill the sirrup grow thick: (We used 16 oz of wine and 48 oz of water (for a total of 64 oz liquid). You could use all wine or half wine and half water. We added 1 cup (1/2 pound) sugar and set them on the stove. Brought to a boil and then simmered for about 30 minutes – or until tender.)

then take the wardens from the sirrup into a clean dish, & let them coole; then set them into the coffin (The coffin is the pastry. In the 17th century it was a stand-alone sort of thing; we’re using a cake hoop to hold it up during the baking. Pie plates are becoming more common starting in the 1640’s, so feel free to use a deep dish plate or a springform pan.The pears will be standing up and you’ll want a pastry that is tall enough to accomadate them.),

and prick cloues in the tops, with whole sticks of cinnamon, and great store of Suger as for Pippins ; then couer it, and onely reseue [reserve] a vent-hole, so set it in the ouen and bake it: (we set the oven at 400 and turned it down to 350 after 5 minutes. Total baking time: 35-40 minutes)

when it is bak’t, draw it forth and taste it, and take the first sirrup in which the Wardens were boyled, and taste it, and if it be not sweet enough, then put in more suger and some rosewater, & boile it again a little, then power it into the vent-hole, and shake the pie wel; then take sweet butter and rose-water melted,(2 tablespoons each butter and the pear syrup – ½ -1 teaspoon rosewater, depending on how rosy you like things. We spooned most of the pear syrup/butter mixture over the top of the pie.)

and with it anoint the pie-lid all ouer, and then strow vpon it store of suger, (We then used about 3 tablespoons of sugar for strowing. The butter/pear syrup mixture dribs we had left went into the pie via the vent, as did a little of the sugar. We did not shake.We are cowardly pie-wives. Shake at your own risk.) and so set it into the ouen againe a little space (about 25 minutes to dry up the anointing and color the sugar some),


All done, now ready to eat!

and serue it vp. And in this manner you may also bake Quinces.
Gervase Markham, Covntrey Contentments, or, The English Housewife. London: 1623. p. 104.

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3 Responses to “Warden Pie alias Pear Pie”

  1. Sandy Oliver says:

    What a perfectly gorgeous pie.

  2. Rick says:

    Gorgeous and really good! Thanks!

  3. Katie says:

    I need to try this! Gorgeous

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