Beacon's Gate Boar Hunt 2000

Dessert Course

Gingered Apples

Beacon's Gate Boar Hunt Tradition

These gingered apples were "invented" at the very first Beacon's Gate Boar Hunt in, uh, 1975, i think. There is no exact recipe for them. As far as i can tell, each Boar Hunt Head Cook makes it the same, only different - apples, sugar, water, ginger - and their own touch...

Recipe by Anahita
80 apples
1/2 lb candied ginger
1 cup brown sugar

  1. Cut apples in half.
  2. Core apples.
  3. Cut apples in medium-large chunks.
  4. Put all ingredients in pot.
  5. Add water JUST BARELY to cover - finished product should not be "watery".
  6. Bring to boil, then simmer until apples are just barely tender.
    How long depends on your apples and the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes, then test tenderness by piercing an apple chunk with a fork or fine paring knife - or even taking a bite. Keep simmering until as tender as you like.

Pastés de Poires Crues

French, Le Viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent, 15th c. ed.

Mise sur bout en pasté, et emply le creux de sucre à trois grosses poires comme ung quarteron de sucre, bien couverte, et dorée d'oeufz, ou de saffran, et mis au four

Translation from The Medieval Kitchen by Redon, Sabban, and Serventi
Stand three pears in a pie and fill the gaps with about a quarteron of sugar, cover well, and glaze with eggs or saffron, and put in the oven.

Pies of Whole Pears

Makes 10

10 Marie Callander's double crust pie crusts
30 large pears
6-1/4 cups sugar
5 eggs beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Generously butter, then flour loaf pans
  3. Take 1 and 1/2 crusts, knead together briefly, then roll into rectangle to line a loaf pan with enough overhanging dough to fold over the filling; it should be just under 1/4 inch thick. Test one so that it fits. Repeat with remaining crusts and pans.
  4. Peel pears, leaving the stems attached.
  5. Arrange 3 in each pan.
  6. Fill the space with 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated white sugar.
  7. Fold the dough over the pears and seal well, letting stems protrude.
  8. Glaze the tops with eggs.
  9. Bake about 90 minutes, until golden. Do not burn.
  10. Let cool completely.
  11. Unmold carefully by placing each pan on serving plate and cut the thin aluminum pan away from the pie with a kitchen shears.


Well, preparing this dish at the feast was really problematic.

I thought it would be faster to use ready made dough than to make our own. (Hah!) The only sheets of pie dough i could find were made with lard. As there were vegetarians and Kosher diners at the feast, i wanted dough made with vegetable fat or butter. So I bought 10 Marie Callander's double crust pies.

It turned out that, first, i hadn't bought enough dough to cover the pears.
Second, what there was was too sticky and gooey at room temperature.

My resourceful helper Sara with the aid of the energentic Phil took the flour and butter i had for Digby's Small Cakes and began making pie dough. There wasn't enough flour, so someone - at this point i don't remember who but i thank them again - made a run to the supermarket for a sack of flour. Sara and Phil used a full bottle of wine as a rolling pin and in the end they made just enough dough to line the very bottom of all ten pans and to closely wrap the pears.

I thank Sara and Phil a thousand times for saving the pies.

Finally: The pies looked wonderful - like crowns or mountain ranges - golden and crispy. The pie dough was lovely and flakey and tasted marvelous. We didn't cook the pies the full 90 minutes because the crusts were cooked before that time, but the pears were not quite cooked enough. Perhaps if we'd been able to follow the recipe the pears would have been cooked enough - or perhaps the pears needed to be briefly parboiled before being baked - i don't know. But this is worth trying to get right. Each pie looks so impressive and the taste is a blend of the light sweetness of the pear and the richness of the crust and melted sugar.

Questions? Comments?

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