Dinner at the time of Rubens: pear in hippocras wine 


Pear in hippocras
Whole pears, studded with cloves, cooked in red wine with mace, cinnamon and sugar.

To cook pears in hippocras (Carolus Battus, Cocboek 1593, nr. 51)
Take pears, peel them and cut of a slice of the bottom because of serving. Leave the stalks on and put cloves into your pears, simmer in red wine, and add mace, sugar and cinnamon. 
Allow to simmer until done; add red carrots or turnsole if the wine is not red enough. If you prefer a yellow color, then use white wine and saffron, and treat as is mentioned before; do the same with pears fried in butter in a pot. When done, sprinkle sugar over it, cinnamon and some ginger. 
Leave these pears entirely, with the stalks on.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 cooking pears
12 cloves
4 leaves of mace
cinnamon stick (about 3 inches long)
2 oz sugar
Decoration (optional):
Fresh bay leaves
Sweetened whipped cream

Peel the pears as thinly as possible. A swivel vegetable peeler is best. Leave the stalks on and do not core. Put some cloves into the pears.
Heat the wine in a tall saucepan and dissolve the sugar in it. Add mace and cinnamon. Bring to the boil, then lower the pears in carefully. Cover and simmer for about 3 hours until they are red.
Thicken the juice with diluted potato flour. Serve the pears and pour the syrup over the top of them.
They look pretty decorated with fresh bay leaves and are nice served lightly chilled with whipped cream.

Hippocras wine
Hippocras was a richly spiced wine. So called because it was originally strained through an Hippocras bag, named after the Greek physician Hippocrates.

Hippocras (Carolus Battus, Med’cyn Boec, 1593, fol. 605)
There is a spiced wine, called ‘hippocras’, which is prepared as follows. Take two oz. cinnamon, 1 oz. sliced ginger, ¼ oz. grains of paradise [Pepper melegueta; coriander seeds can be substituted], galanga [Alpina officinarum Hance, resembles gingerroot], cloves, nutmeg, cubebs [Cubeba officinalis, a sort of pepper] and cardamom: each 1 drams [=1/8 oz]. Take on 1½ oz. coarsely grounded spices 2 pints wine, if desired strong or not: 7,5 oz sugar or more. Allow to stand on a warm place and pour through an Hippocras bag, as all other spiced wines. Usually red wine is used.

Spiced red wine or Hippocras: ingredients
1 bottle Merlot (or another red wine)
1 bottle Pinot Noir (or another red wine)
2 whole nutmegs
1 cinnamon stick (about 12 inches long)
3 cloves
2 slices gingerroot, each about the size of a quarter
2 tablespoons coriander seed or 1 tablespoon cardamom
2 tablespoons honey
2½ oz dark brown sugar

Pound the dry spices coarsely. Use a hammer for the nutmegs. Bring to the boil half a bottle of Pinot Noir with honey, ginger and sugar. Pour everything in a clean glass jug or bottle and close it.
Allow to stand for 24 hours. Pour through a fine sieve or cloth and add the remaining wine.

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