Shakespeare's Baked Warden Pears in Red Wine

Total Time
Prep 5 mins
Cook 30 mins

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.


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C or 350°F
  2. Peel the pears, but leave them whole, then put them in an oven-proof dish.
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour them over the fruit.
  4. Place in a moderate oven and bake until tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Serve them with the wine juices and hot custard or cream.


Most Helpful

This was so lovely. I served the pears with ice cream and the yummy juices. The best part is that doing the dish in the oven makes it so simple.

Shirls in SA November 11, 2012

"I must have saffron the colour of Warden pies'. ..... Sorry F.T. and Shakespeare but I didn't have saffron on hand, but followed the rest of the recipe exactly................ and what a great dessert! I only had small pears so used 7 pears, and this worked so wonderfully well. I served with a little cream and Ice=Cream and ....ohhh so delcious! Lovely rich colours and superb flavours. I did keep turning the pears, whilst cooking, so as to colour evenly and the colour was fantastic! Thanks F.T.....Wonderful and delicious.... and pleae do thank Shakespeare next time you speak to him F.T.!

Tisme June 11, 2010

Absolutely beautiful! I served with whipped cream and a few toasted almonds. Yun!

Vicki in AZ December 28, 2009

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