Tagged ‘pear’

Their former Pumpkin Pies

August 3rd, 2013 by KM Wall


Tourte of pumpkin.
Boile it with good milk, pass it through a straining pan very thick, and mix it with sugar, butter, a little salt and if you will, a few stamped almonds; let all be very thin. Put it in your sheet of paste; bake it. After it is baked, besprinkle it with sugar and serve.”
- Francois Pierre La Varenne. The French Cook [1653], Translated into English in 1653 by I.D.G., Introduced by Philip and Mary Hyman [East Sussex: Southover Press} 2001 (p. 199-200)

This will make a pie that’s amazing like a most of the Pumpkin Pies that will be on our Thanksgiving tables. It does  seem a little ironic that the earliest pumpkin pie recipe to show up in England is from a translation from a French cookbook. And the ones that show up in English cookbooks are very different then the pumpkin pies we now know and love.

Edward Johnson in The Wonderworking Providence of Sion’s Savior in New England of 1654 says, “…so that in this poor Wilderness hath not onely equalized England in food, but goes beyond it in some places for the great plenty of wine and sugar, which is ordinarily spent, apples, pears, and quince tarts instead of their former Pumpkin Pies.” (p. 210, 1910 ed.)

Apple pie we still love; Pear pies we really don’t love enough; and as for Quince….when was the last time you had a really great Quince tart? Or even a meh one? But former Pumpkin Pies? Did New England give up Pumpkin Pie  – even when the fruit trees came in?


Mind your pie Ps and Qs

August 2nd, 2013 by KM Wall

No  this has nothing to do with Quarts and Pints or any of that nonsense, but rather with  Pears and Quince, the two fruit pies that are pretty standard in many late 16th and early 17th century cookbooks.

And they’re often in the “Either/Or ” category of pie, as in

  •  To bake Peares, quinces or wardens – 1594 Good huswifes handmaid for the kitchen
  • To bake Quinces, Pears, and Wardens  – 1596 Thomas Dawson. The good huswifes Iewell.
  • A warden pie, or a quince pie – 1621. Gervase Markham The English Housewife








Wardens (which are a kind of black pears

Wardens (which are a kind of black pear)


A warden pie, or quince pie.

Take of the fairest and best wardens, and pare them, and take out the hard cores on the top, and cut the sharp ends at the bottom flat; then boil them in white wine and sugar, until the syrup grow thick: then take the wardens from the syrup into a clean dish, and let them cool; then set them into the coffin, and prick cloves in the tops, with whole sticks of cinnamon, and great store of sugar, as for pippins; then cover it, and  only reserve a vent hole, so set it in the oven and bake it; when it is baked, draw it forth, and take the first syrup in which the wardens were boiled, and taste it, and if it be not sweet enough, then put in more sugar and some rose-water, and boil it again a little, then pour it in at the vent hole and shake the pie well; then take some sweet butter and rose-water melted, and with it anoint the pie lid all over, and then strew upon it store of sugar, and so set it into the oven again a little space, and then serve it up. And in this manner you may also bake quinces.

1631. Gervase Markham. The English Housewife. Best ed. p. 104.



Pear - gerard's Herbal

Pear – Gerard’s Herbal


Quince from Gerards Herbal

Quince from Gerard’s Herbal

Partridge and a Pear Tree

December 26th, 2012 by KM Wall
English Partridge (Perdix perdix)

English Partridge -Perdix perdix

The Endicott Pear

The Endicott Pear



The Endicott Pear in 1920

John Endecot

As American as Apple Pie….but the oldest English fruit tree in New England is  …… a Pear, the Endicott Pear. The oldest standing fruit tree, that is.

It’s called the Endecott Pear (and there are various spellings of the family name) because it was planted by John Endecott. John Endicott was in New England in 1628, and got himself barred from public office for three years because he objected to the cross on the banner for the militia, and so he removed it. But it was the Cross of Saint George, the patron Saint of England, so that cross on that banner was really a symbol of England, and it just wouldn’t do to go ripping the symbols of your nation off…But the whole incident wasn’t really held against him later, as he was the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Over the next thirty years he and John Winthrop played tag-team governorships – one or the other of them was governor, the other some civic or military or judicious office over the course of the next thirty years.

20th century interpretation of the Endicott flag cutting....


John Winthrop’s son, John Winthrop Junior also brought fruit tree and garden seeds into New England.

” In 1634 Francis Kirby writes to John Winthrop, Junior, that Joseph Downing is sending, ‘quodlin plants’ packed in an oyster firkin with instructions for airing them on deck two or three days in the week, but he only wishes it was as easy to send pears from his ‘noucerre’ as it had been to send them to Groton.”

- Ann Leighton, Early American Gardens: ‘for meate or medicine’. Houghton Mifflin: Boston. 1970p. 36.

Pears are confirmed by documentation, too. Edward Johnson writes of them in Wonder-working Providence , along with quince and apples.


To roste a Capon, Pheasant, or Partrige

Roste a Capon with his head off, his wings and legges on whole: and your Phesant in like sort: but when you serve him in sticke one of his feathers upon his breast. And in lyke manner you must roste a Partridge, but stick up no feather.


To Roaste a Goose

March 6th, 2012 by Carolyn

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