Peeres in Confyt

Wine Poached Pears

This recipe taken from Forme of Curye, ab. 1390 A.D. (Pages 64v & 65r). The images below are from the original manuscript as digitized by the John Rylands University Library and the 1780 printing edited by Samuel Pegge.

Peeres in Confyt from Manuscript
Peers in Confit from Samuel Pegge
Original Recipe:

Peerrs in confyt

Tak perrs & pare hem clene, take gode rede wyne & mulberyes oþer saundres & seeþ þe perre þer inne, & whan þey buþ y sode take hem up, make a syryp of wyne grke oþer vernage wit blanche powder oþ whyte suger & poudor of ȝynȝer & do þe pers þer inne, seeþ hit a litul and messe hit forth .

My Translation:

Take pears and pare them clean, take good red wine and mulberries or sandlewood and cook the peers therein and when they both cooked take them up, make a syrup of wine Greek or Vernaccia with white powder or white sugar and powdered ginger and do the pears therein, cook it a little and mess it forth.

My Interpretation:

4 medium sized firm pears ½ tsp. ginger
1 pint or ½ liter red wine
¼ cup vinegar
4 ounces raspberries
¼ cup sugar

Pare and core pears. Cut pears into halves, quarters or one-eighth sections. Combine pears in sauce pan with wine, vinegar & raspberries. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 15-30 minutes (until pears are just tender to the fork). Remove pears and add ginger & sugar to wine. Reduce wine mixture to thicken into syrup. Pour wine syrup over cooked pears and serve.

Notes on the Recipe

The original recipe calls for making the syrup with Greek or Vernaccia wine. In this method we used a Cabernet Sauvignon and with the substitution of the raspberries for the mulberries enough sweetness was had with the additional sugar to make a pleasant syrup. The mulberries or sandlewood would impart a deep red color and this color was also achieved with the use of the raspberries. The use of vinegar was a misinterpretation of the "vernage" Vernaccia wine, but added a nice balance to the over all dish.

Notes on the Transcription & Translation:

The original text and transcription preserve the shorthand of writing that was common practice in the late 14th century. I have taken the liberty of spelling each word fully in my transcription for clarity.

According to  André Simon, Vernage is Vernaccia Wine known for being "not too sweet and had a beautiful aroma".

References:

Media Information. Digital image. Peeres in Confyt. The John Rylands University Library, Jan. 2009. Web. 18 Jun. 2012. <http://enriqueta.man.ac.uk/luna/servlet/detail/Man4MedievalVC~4~4~5468~100138:Cold-brewet?sort=Reference_Number%2CImage_Sequence_Number%2CPage%2CImage_Title#>. This is a digitized image of page  65r of the Forme of Cury housed at The John Rylands University Library in Manchester, England. This codex, written on vellum, dates from the late 14th century.

Pegge, Samuel, ed. Forme of Cury London: Society of Antiquaries, 1780. The Forme of Cury. Greg Lindahl. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/foc/.

Pegge, Samuel. The Forme of Cury. London: J. Nichols, 1780. Google Books. 5 Mar. 2009. Web. 18 June 2012. <http://books.google.com/books?id=L1JAAAAAYAAJ>.

Pegge, Samuel, ed. The Forme of Cury The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Forme of Cury, by Samuel Pegge. Project Gutenberg, May 2005. Web. 12 Mar. 2012. http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/8102/pg8102.html. This is the transcription of Forme of Cury of the Samuel Pegge edition originally published in 1780.

Simon, André L. The History of the Wine Trade in England. Vol. 2. N.p.: Wyman & Sons, 1907. Google Books. 7 Aug. 2006. Web. 21 June 2012. <http://books.google.com/books?id=WDQEAAAAMAAJ>.