Peres in Compost, A Noble Boke off Cookry

Peres in composte

To mak peres in composte tak a good quantite of
canelle and sugur and set it on the fyer to boile and
draw yt throughe a stren then lesk dates thyn and put
them ther to in a pot and boille wardens and pair
them and put them in the ceripe put ther to sanders
and boile them and alay them up with chardwins and
salt it and mak yt doucet and chargaunt and put it out
of the vesselle in to a treene vesselle and let it boille
then pare smalle raisins and tried guinger and temper
it ij dais or ij nyghtes with wyne then lay it in clarified
hony cold a day and nyght then tak the raisins out
of the hony and cast ther to peres in composte and
serue it furthe with a cold ceripe.

To make pears in compote, take a good quantity of canele cinnamon
and sugar, and set it on the fire to boil.
And draw it through a strainer, then lest (slice) dates thin and put
them thereto in a pot and boil wardens and pare them and put them
in the syrup put thereto sanders and boil them and lay them up with chardwins (cardoons? Noooo) and salt it and make it sweet and thick and put it out of the vessel into a green-wood
vessel and let it boil,(how, without lighting the wood vessel on fire? Hot rock?) then pare small raisins and prepared ginger and temper it for two days or
two nights with wine, then lay it in clarified honey cold a day and night then take the raisins out of the honey and add thereto the pears in compost and serve it forth with a cold syrup.

Ahh for convoluted instructions with embedded subrecipes!
This is for spiced, preserved pears in a heavy syrup. It can be canned months in
advance of need. It reminds me most of those red spiced apple rings that used to sometimes come with diner food, except good.

First, if you do not keep your ginger peeled in wine in the fridge or freezer, go peel some ginger, put it in wine, and toss it in the fridge. (I store ginger in the fridge very long term peeled in a small jar of vodka. This doesn’t have the same flavor, so I minced my preserved ginger and put it in the wine for a few hours.)

this picture includes dates. Please ignore the dates.
this picture includes dates. They were not included in the container pictured

Then shop for still-hard pears. Many pears, when ripe, will almost disintegrate, we are looking for some structure.

When the ginger has sat in wine for a couple of days, it is time to go.

The first time I made this dish, I poached my pears whole, then chopped them. This worked out pretty poorly, as not everything cooked evenly, and it wasn’t so pretty as it could be.


Now I slice my pears into rounds, and use a small cutter to remove the core of each slice.


The heavy syrup is made from equal amounts of sugar and water, with a quarter teaspoon of salt per quart of water.

I took three whole sticks of cinnamon, which I consider to be quite a good quantity, and crushed them coarsely. They went in the pot with the sugar, water, and salt, and stayed til the syrup took some color and the pot smelled festive.

Pears in Compost 2

Then I poached my pear rings in the sugar syrup. Having already prepared my ginger, I threw it in with the raisins, and when all was cooked through, I canned the dish in a half gallon glass jar.

This is a pretty good side dish, and can also go very nicely with cream desserts. Different types of pears have different results. I used Anjous, a rather modern pear. Forelles, if you can get them, stand a stronger chance of being appropriate to the dish.

Note that I do not use Saunders, which is Sandalwood powder. It’s endangered, bad for humans, and not food. If you need the dish red, I would use other dyes. Though color is called for, I think it’s not strictly required.

6 pears, hard.
2 c water
2 c sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 sticks cinnamon, crumbled or crushed


2 Tbs raisins, tempered in honey

6 dates, sliced thin (I don’t always use them, they can be too sweet)

2 Tbs ginger, tempered in red wine

Slice pears into discs of about 1/4” thick. Pop out cores using small punch.

Simmer water, sugar, salt together with cinnamon. Do not allow to boil.

Place pears in syrup, do not raise temperature.
Add ginger to the pot.

Simmer until they are flexible but not longer.

Place in sterile canning jars, pouring raisins in as you go.

Process and preserve. Serve with boiled meats (or vanilla ice cream!)

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