"Or hoord of apples, leyd in hey or heeth" - The Miller's Tale

"To eten of the smale peres grene" - The Merchant's Tale

Again, pears cooked without coals or water: to instruct the person who will be cooking them, he should get a good new earthenware pot, then get the number of pears he will be wanting to cook and put them into that pot; when they are in it, stop it up with clean little sticks of wood in such a way that when the pot is upside down on the hot coals it does not touch them at all; then turn it upside down on the hot coals and keep it covered over with coals and leave it to cook for an hour or more. Then uncover them and check whether they have cooked enough, and leave them there until they are cooked enough. When they are cooked, put them out into fine silver dishes; then they are borne to the sick person.

- Chiquart's 'On Cookery'

This recipe is much less elaborate than it appears, and is simply pears baked in an oven, very much like our contemporary baked apple but without the addition of sugar & spices. Baked pears were thought to have medicinal properties and were one of the foods considered appropriate for the ill, hence the instruction to give them to the sick person. Feasts often ended with baked apples & pears, served with the other confections of the dessert course. As that is their function here, the modern recipe has been sweetened with a little cinnamon & sugar.

Place whole, cored fruit in a baking dish or pan and bake at 400° F until the fruit has completely turned a deep brown, about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar, and eat with honey as a garnish.

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© James L. Matterer

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Book II. A Chaucerian Feast Part 1 | Part 2

Book I. A Chaucerian Cookery Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3