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Warden Pie

Pies and Pastries
Fruit and Vegetables

"I must have Saffron to colour the Warden Pies"
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 ŝey ben tender; ŝan 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 ŝorw a straynour; caste sugre ŝer-to, an put it in [supplied by ed.] an erŝen pot, an let it boyle: an ŝanne caste ŝe perys ŝer-to, an let boyle to-gederys, an whan ŝey haue boyle a whyle, take pouder of gyngere an caste ŝerto, an a lytil venegre, an a lytil safron; an loke ŝat it be poynaunt an dowcet.

Wardens in Syrup
Image: Alex Bray...

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