A 16th century German pear tart recipe.
Take Pears and peel and cut them thinly. Take beef fat, cinnamon, sugar, and grapes and let it bake. When you have no beef fat, then take butter or another fat. – Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, translated by Valoise Armstrong
Peel, core and slice 3-4 pears into thin slices. Cut them into thin slices. In a pie shell*, layer the pears and cut in some butter**. Add a cup or two of grapes, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350F until golden brown.
* Though the translation does not mention a crust I chose to use one since the name of the dish is “A Pear Tart” and the following recipe for pastry dough was found in the same text.
** I chose to use butter as I did not have beef fat on hand. I used salted butter as I have only found documentation for salted butter in period.
To make a pastry dough for all shaped pies
Take flour, the best that you can get, about two handfuls, depending on how large or small you would have the pie. Put it on the table and with a knife stir in two eggs and a little salt. Put water in a small pan and a piece of fat the size of two good eggs, let it all dissolve together and boil. Afterwards pour it on the flour on the table and make a strong dough and work it well, however you feel is right. If it is summer, one must take meat broth instead of water and in the place of the fat the skimmings from the broth. When the dough is kneaded, then make of it a round ball and draw it out well on the sides with the fingers or with a rolling pin, so that in the middle a raised area remains, then let it chill in the cold. Afterwards shape the dough as I have pointed out to you. Also reserve dough for the cover and roll it out into a cover and take water and spread it over the top of the cover and the top of the formed pastry shell and join it together well with the fingers. Leave a small hole. And see that it is pressed together well, so that it does not come open. Blow in the small hole which you have left, then the cover will lift itself up. Then quickly press the hole closed. Afterwards put it in the oven. Sprinkle flour in the dish beforehand. Take care that the oven is properly heated, then it will be a pretty pastry. The dough for all shaped pastries is made in this manner.
Redaction for Pie Dough
- 3 C Flour
- 1 t Kosher Salt
- 2 Eggs Beaten
- 1/3 C Water
- 1/3 + ¼ C Lard
Measure flour into a goodly size bowl and add salt. Stir together with a knife. Crack eggs into a separate bowl and beat moderately. In a small saucepan combine water and lard, melt and bring to a boil. When the lard has melted and is about to boil add eggs to flour mixture and combine well with knife. Add boiling lard mixture to bowl and combine until well mixed and cool enough to handle. Turn out onto table and knead a bit. Pat dough into a disk shape and wrap with plastic – place in refrigerator. Allow to cool for at least an hour. Roll out on a well floured surface. This makes enough for two tarts or one covered tart.
To make tart shell without Lard, substitute 2/3 C Solid Vegetable Shortening for the Lard.
Das Kochbuch der Sabina Welserin, translated by Valoise Armstrong © 1998