Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Way Back Wednesday: Spiced Pears with Cream

In The Cook's Guide (1664), Hannah Woolley gives instructions "To stew Pippins with cream:"

Take your Pippins, pare them and core them; if you would have them red, bake them first, or else put to them as much water as will cover them and some cinnamon and cloves unbeaten; turn them sometimes and cover them close; set them over the fire till they begin to be tender, then sweeten them with sugar; and boile them when the sugar is in till they are clear, then put sweet cream to them, and let them stew together till you find they be enough; thus you may do with baked pears (58-59).

I decided that baking the pears in a spiced sugar syrup and then pouring the cream over would give better results after attempting to follow Hannah Woolley's instructions, which ended in curdled cream, which wasn't terribly attractive. However, the pears were so tasty I thought it worth my time to rework the recipe:

Spiced Pears with Cream

2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup water
1 cinnamon stick
10 cloves
2 pears
¼ cup cream

Preheat oven to 350˚ Fahrenheit.

Place the sugar and water into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved then don’t stir any more! When the sugar/water mixture comes to a boil, let it boil two minutes then take off the heat and add the cinnamon stick (broken in two) and the cloves.

Peel the pears, halve them and remove the cores. Place them in one layer in a baking dish or casserole that is just big enough for them to fit. Pour the syrup and spices over the pears and bake in the center of the oven 45 to 60 minutes, or until softened, turning the pears halfway through.

Serve the pear halves topped with syrup and two tablespoons cream per person. Discard the spices.

Serves 2

Inspired by “To stew Pippins with cream” in Hannah Woolley, The Cook’s Guide (London: Peter Dring, 1664), 58-59 and adapted from “Baked Apples” in Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book (Minneapolis: Macmillan and General Mills, 1950), 215.

Download printable copy

Baroque recipe, baroque music:
In an effort to expand my musical knowledge, I discovered this syllabus from the Indiana University School of Music and thought it might be nice if we listened to some of the listening assignments together each week as part of Way Back Wednesday.

These are actually Renaissance pieces, so they should prepare us (chronologically, at least) for upcoming Baroque music.

Palestrina- "Dum Complerentur"

Lassus- "Timor et tremor"

Gesualdo- "Beltà poi che t'assenti"

Luzzaschi- "Deh vieni ormai," "Cor mio deh non languire," and "T'amo mia vita"


Caviar, like this Alaskan salmon roe, is one of my guilty pleasures, even when it's on a saltine! How embarrassing...


  1. Would it make you feel any better to know that I recently saw a recipe for chocolate- covered Saltines? ; ) The shine of the roe, edges of the crackers, and texture of the butter really stand out in B/W. Thanks again, Lauren, for joining in BWW.

  2. I may be crazy, but chocolate-covered saltines sound really yummy. I bet they'd be like chocolate-covered pretzels.

    Thanks so much for hosting! I really get a kick out of B&W photography. I didn't have a good shot this week, but hopefully I'll have something next time!


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