Pear Electuary Porridge

Another recipe from the Kuenstlichs und Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch:

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16 Electuary of Pears (Regel piern Latwerge)

Item take a grated Semmel loaf and fry it in fat. Grind the electuary in wine so that it turns thin and add it to the pan with the bread. Cook it like a wheat porridge. It it is too thick, pour in more wine until it becomes like a Weinmus (wine spoon dish) and add sugar. Thus you have a good electuary.

This recipe is odd in that it bills itself as being for a pear electuary, but actually describes how to use it in a porridge. Electuaries were usually sweetened fruit pastes cooked down to a very thick consistency to preserve them. The process is well described in a recipe for cherry electuary from Cod Pal Germ 551, and I provided instructions for making a quince electuary in my Landsknecht Cookbook. There is also a more cursory recipe for pear electuary. Though originally medicinal, these confections had become staples of the upscale kitchen by the fifteenth century and were used, among other things, in sauces and mustards. Here, electuary is used in a porridge, which is quite a luxurious breakfast. The Regelbirne identified as the variant of choice here is a hard, durable pear suitable for cooking and long storage, probably similar to what was called a warden pear in England at the time.

The short Kuenstlichs aund Fuertrefflichs Kochbuch was first printed in Augsburg in 1559 and reprinted in Nuremberg in 1560 and subsequently. Despite its brevity, it is interesting especially as it contains many recipes for küchlein, baked or deep-fried confections, that apparently played a significant role in displaying status. We do not know who the famous cook‘ referenced in the title may have been or if he ever existed.

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