WARdEN PiE

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					                                                                              Warden Pie
Old Warden is today best known as home of the Shuttleworth Collection,
one of the largest private collections of historical flying machines in the
world; however, the town also shares its name with a certain Bedfordshire
dessert that was once so well-known that it even inspired the great bard
William Shakespeare to mention it in a number of his plays.
                                                                              Ingredients
Warden Pie, which largely consists of baked pears in wine, has a long          Pears (ideally 8-10 little wardens; 4 smallish pears if not)
history and contains several very traditional ingredients, namely saffron      ½ tsp cinnamon        1/8 tsp ground clove        Top crust
and ginger. The original variety of pears used in the recipe were known as     ½ - 1 cup sugar (depending how sweet/tart the pears are)
‘wardens’, which were grown in the Cistercian Abbey of Warden. Once
                                                                               ¼ tsp ginger          Pie shell
a very traditional Bedfordshire dessert, Warden Pies were regularly found
on sale in Bedford Market. So popular was the dish that Shakespeare
mentioned them in several of his works, including ‘The Winter’s Tale’ in
which the clown says: “I must have saffron the colour of Warden pies”.
                                                                              Cooking Method
                                                                              Pick, peel and core the pears. Parboil them long enough
Today there is still an orchard bearing these fruits within Old Warden        to soften them up a bit. (How long depends on how large
Park, just outside The Swiss Garden and, as a testament to the history of     and ripe the pears are. A minute or two for ripe wardens,
the dish, the Shuttleworth Visitor Café will be serving it up to customers.   probably 4-5 minutes for slightly under ripe pears). Let cool.
Following the traditional recipe, which dates back to 1591, Jan Moir bakes    Set the pears into the pie shell. If using larger pears, you
the Warden Pie aided by assistant manager Anne Pryor and under the            might cut them in half horizontally, and alternate which side
careful watch of Shuttleworth’s catering manager Sonia Gunn.                  is up, to make a more even surface. Pour sugar into the cored
                                                                              hole of the pears, dividing it more or less evenly. Sprinkle
With the ingredients and details that follow you can try your hand at         cinnamon, ginger and clove on top. Lay the top crust overall,
making one of Bedfordshire’s Warden Pies for yourself.                        cut to size, and crimp the edges. Prick top with a fork. Bake
                                                                              in a 350 degree oven until the crust is browning nicely, 45
For more information visit www.shuttleworth.org                               minutes or so.




                                                                                                       DISCOVER BEDFORDSHIRE                  17