Pears Stewed Purple

Pears complement any meal. These are akin to pears in claret of a modern time. Slow cooking to alow the pears to become saturated is the key to their flavor. This is also excellent over ice cream.

18th Century

Pare six large winter pears, and either quarter them or do them whole: they make a pretty dish with one whole, the rest cut in quarters, and the cores taken out; lay them in a deep earthern pot, with a few cloves, a piece of lemon-peel, a gill of red wine, and a quarter of a pound of fine sugar; if the pears are very large, they will take half a pound of sugar, and half a pint of red wine; cover them close with brown paper, and bake them till they are enough.
Serve them hot or cold (just as you like them), and they will be very good with water in the place of wine. To Stew Pears in a Sauce pan put them into a sauce-pan with the ingredients as before; cover them and do them over a slow fire; when they are enough take them off, add a pennyworth of cochineal, bruised very fine.

Glasse, Hannah, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy”

21st Century

  • A minimum of 3 pears
  • 8 cloves
  • Peel of one lemon with no white showing
  • 1 to 2 cups of red wine (enough to cover your pears in the pan)
  • ½ cup or more of sugar
  1. Peel pears. Stand up all pears and choose one to be the centerpiece. If slightly lopsided, it can be trimmed on the bottom to be more vertical.
  2. Quarter and core the remaining pears. If pears are large, cut into eighths.
  3. Put all pears into the smallest saucepan that will hold them. Add cloves, lemon peel, red wine and sugar and bring to a simmer over medium heat and then reduce to a low or warm setting. Every few minutes, move the whole pear around to completely cover it with the wine mixture.
  4. Cook until deep purple. Let set several minutes for wine mixture to totally absorb into the pears.
  5. Arrange on a plate in a sunburst pattern with the whole one in the center.

« Back to recipe browser

6 Responses to “Pears Stewed Purple”

  1. December 27th, 2012

    Christine Hansley says:

    Good morning Foodways Crew,

    Oh yes! Two of my favorite foods together. Pears and Red Wine. It’s too early in the morning to make this! I’m assuming a favorite red will work. Kind of like – if you drink it, cook with it. I would think any of the following would work: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon. For a lighter taste would White Zinfandel work? Granted the pears will not be dark purple but probably a light pink would look good too. Any other suggestions are more than welcome from the folks that bring the CW to me in the Chicago area.
    Have a great and safe New Year!

  2. January 3rd, 2013

    Lisa Hrinko says:

    I have made these tasty pears with merlot and they were wonderful with chicken in the french way. I plan on making them again for a Twelfth Night 18th century dinner and letting my fellow re-enactor friends sample them. I have found that they soak up the wine syrup better if you make them the day before you need them.

  3. January 6th, 2013

    Lisa Hrinko says:

    These pears are wonderful!! They are not difficult and are quite attractive. They were a big het at a period twelfth night dinner we attended last night.

    • January 6th, 2013

      Christine Hansley says:

      Hi Lisa,
      The presentation looks wonderful. It appears you used more or larger pears than the recipe called for. How many pears did you use? Did you adjust any of the other ingredients because of the number of pears you used?
      One of the things I appreciate about this blog, is we bloggers can type to each other too. If you live near Chicago I might be interested in joining your group??
      Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!
      From the Chicago area.

  4. January 6th, 2013

    Jo Ann Ptack says:

    Fun,easy,and delicious!

  5. January 7th, 2013

    Lisa Hrinko says:

    I used 7 bartlet pears from Krogers. This was a large party of 50 people and I wanted to give as many people a taste as I could. Unfortunately, I live in Springfield Ohio. I am a member of George Rogers Clark Heritage Assoc. and we put the Fair at New Boston on each year.
    I am making a 12th night cake tomorrow for a presentation.

Leave a Reply