A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents

Perys in Confyte

PERIOD: England, 15th century | SOURCE: An Ordinance of Pottage | CLASS: Authentic

DESCRIPTION: Pears cooked in honey and wine


86. Perys in confyte. Take hony; boyle hit a lytill. Do theryn sigure, poudyr of galentyn & clovis, brucet anneyce, safron, & saundris, & cast theryn the peris, sodyn & paryd & cutt in pecys, & wyn & venyger. Sesyn hit up with poudyr of canell so that hit be broun ynow.

- Hieatt, Constance B. An Ordinance of Pottage. An Edition of the Fifteenth Century Culinary Recipes in Yale University's MS Beinecke 163. London: Prospect Books Ltd, 1988. 


Pears in Syrup. Take honey; boil it a little. Add sugar, spices, cloves, anise sauce, saffron, & sandalwood, & add the pears, boiled & pared & cut in pieces, & wine & vinegar. Season it with enough cinnamon powder that it is brown.


  • 3 lbs. pears, peeled, cored, & sliced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. of any of the following spices, separate or in combination: ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cubeb, galingale, etc.
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. anise seed, crushed, mixed with 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • few threads saffron (or few drops yellow food coloring)
  • few drops red food coloring
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tbs. cider vinegar
  • cinnamon (to garnish)
Boil the pears in water until just tender; drain and set aside. Add enough water (about a teaspoon or so) to the anise/sugar mixture to make a thin sauce. Bring the honey to a low boil; remove the scum as it rises to the surface. Add sugar, spices, anise sauce, & food coloring(s) and continue cooking until sugar is dissolved. Gently stir in pears and the wine & vinegar. cook for a few more minutes, until pears have warmed, then remove from heat. Serve hot or cold, garnished with cinnamon on top.

Saffron, the stigmas of a certain type of crocus, was used extensively in Medieval cooking primarily for coloring, and was prized for the shade of orangish-yellow it imparted to food. Saffron today is very expensive, and since in small amounts it adds no discernible flavor in cooking, a yellow or orange food dye is a financially-wise substitute.

Saundris, or sandalwood, was used primarily by Medieval cooks as a red food dye. It can taste rather nasty if not used properly, and is only recommend for authenticity's sake. Red food coloring is much cheaper and easier to find.

Metric, Celsius, & Gas Mark Equivalencies

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Perys in Confyte © 2000 James L. Matterer

A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes

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