Pear Tarte - Medieval Pear Pie

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 50 mins

I have translated this from The English Huswife by Gervase Markham 1615 AD. It's unusual in that before this time pies were almost always made with a single crust while this one has two. Often a two crusted pie was called a coffin in that time period. Rosewater can be found in most healthfood stores or Middle Eastern groceries in the US.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine wine and 1 cup sugar in large heavy pot over medium heat.
  3. Stir until sugar dissolved.
  4. Add cinnamon and cloves.
  5. Peel pears, cut in half from top to bottom and remove core.
  6. Add pears to wine mixture and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until pears are just tender.
  7. Remove pears from syrup.
  8. Turn up heat on wine and bring to a rolling boil.
  9. Place bottom crust into pie pan.
  10. Top with sliced pears.
  11. Sprinkle pears with ¼ Cup sugar.
  12. Remove spices from wine syrup.
  13. Add 1 Tsp rose water to wine syrup mix well.
  14. Take 1/3 C of wine syrup and pour over pears.
  15. Place top crust on pie sealing edges by folding crust over edge of the bottom crust and pressing.
  16. Cut vent hole into center of pie and place pie on center rack in oven.
  17. Bake for 20 minutes then remove from oven.
  18. Melt 1 Tbsp butter and ½ tsp rose water then brush this mixture on top of pie.
  19. Sprinkle with tablespoon of sugar and return to oven.
  20. Bake for another 20 minutes or until pie is golden brown.
Most Helpful

5 5

I've looked at this recipe and have planned to make it probably since the day it posted. Finally, today I prepared the pie and what a treat and adventure. I used d'Anjou pears and a white zinfandel. This crust recipe always works out well and it didn't fail me this time either: Perfect Pie Crust for Double Crust Pie. There was a good amount of liquid left over in the pie pan however. I also would increase the rose water to two tablespoons next time as I could barely detect it in the pie. Baked it in a ten inch cast iron skillet. A few family members thought it was an apple pie. PS It would be extra special to have seen some of the original recipe text in the introduction. ;) Reviewed for Afternoon Tea and Light Suppers February 2010.

5 5

This was so delicious! I made it to bring to a friend's house tonight and it was a big hit. Everybody raved over the flavor. Even DH who never eats sugar had a small piece and loved it. This is a real keeper. Also, I added a bit more wine & spice to the syrup and served it hot in a mug like a cider. Also quite tasty. thanks!

5 5

My husband planted 4 pear trees and for several years they didn't produce, however this year, we had pears out the wazoo. I stumbled on this recipe while searching for something to do with all of them. Boy was I glad. It was fabulous. My family was so surprised that a pear pie could taste so good! It was the first time any of us had tasted pear pie. I didn't have the rosewater so just brushed the crust with melted butter and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top. Thanks Mysterygirl for translating this wonderful recipe.