These delicious baked pears in wine have a long history and contain several very old ingredients, saffron and ginger. This is a traditional St Jude's Day recipe, St Jude (the patron saint of hopeless cases!) was a 1st century apostle, whose feast falls on 28th October. In old England, Bedford Boys would sell Warden Pears in the streets on this day. They would cry: "Who knows what I have got? In a hot pot. Baked wardens'all hot. Who knows what I have got?" The Cistercian Abbey of Warden in Bedfordshire gave its name to the Warden Pear, a variety of cooking pear mentioned by Shakespeare in some of his plays.
- Pre-heat oven to 180C or 350°F
- Peel the pears, but leave them whole, then put them in an oven-proof dish.
- Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour them over the fruit.
- Place in a moderate oven and bake until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
- Serve them with the wine juices and hot custard or cream.