Shakespeare, Winter's Tale
'Warden' is an old name for a type of small, dark pear, most commonly the The Black Worcester pear, a cultivar of the European pear which may have come to UK via the Romans. The term 'warden' is known since the 14th Century and may originate with the type first recorded at the Cistercian Abbey of Warden in Bedfordshire.
Old-fashioned Warden Pears - Black Worcester and Vicar of Winkfield from the National Fruit Collection
Image: Alex Bray...
Sweet pie, or open tart, filled with warden pears spiced with, for instance, mace and cinnamon. AW 1591, Markham 1615, Gent.Delight 1653 etc.
Original Receipt in 'A book of cookrye. Very necessary for all such as delight therin', gathered by "AW" (AW 1591);
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.
Original Receipt in the 15th Century 'Austin Manuscripts' (Austin 1440)
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.
Wardens in Syrup
Image: Alex Bray...
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