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The title of this Hannah Glasse recipe may confuse modern readers. Her directions specify baked, not stewed, pears, although they are to be baked in red wine or port if the recipe below is followed. Glasse noted, however, that the fruit “will [also] be very good with water in the place of wine.” As an alternative to baking, she suggested stewing the pears in a saucepan set over a low fire, using the same ingredients.

When the pears are thinly sliced and prepared in this manner, they can be used as a filling for Glasse’s Quire of Paper Pancakes. Whether we call them “stewed” or “baked,” the pears in the following recipe are lovely paired with Glasse’s Blancmange.

This recipe is a modern adaptation by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons.


  • 6 to 8 large ripe pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cup red wine or port


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Arrange the pears in a single layer in a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the lemon zest and sugar over the pear halves, and place the whole cloves in the dish. Pour the wine (or port) over the pears.

3. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the fruit can be easily pierced with a skewer or paring knife, basting occasionally with the liquid. The pears should be tender but not soft enough to break into pieces.

4. Remove the pears from the oven, and set aside to cool completely in the baking dish before serving.

Serves 6 to 8