Having pointed you in the direction of Chickens in the Road and Suzanne's tale of making pear butter with Georgia, I just had to try this delicacy for myself. I bought some American cups at TKMaxx last year and they are handy when trying recipes from North America.
We are lucky. We have a young pear tree that is planted over the grave of a very special pug. Titus lived with my sister and was a great companion to my first Min Pin, Fly. In fact he gave solace to many people who offered an ample lap to this small black being. He wasn’t into the present size 6 model culture – preferring wide laps and warm girths. Especially during the winter.
Our pear tree was supposed to be a Comice. But the labels got muddled sometime before my sister bought it and I am now the proud owner of a Conference pear tree. I used to wonder why these pears were always sold unripe (not squishy). Since nurturing my very own tree I have discovered that they are hard until they turn bad.
Our Belgian Pears recipe is perfect for this type of hard pear. Pear butter was probably designed for a soft juicy fruit – like a Bartlett. So the first stage of softening the pears took about three hours and I needed to add more water than Suzanne’s recipe suggests. I also added a teaspoonful of lemon juice so that the pears would not go brown.
Having added lemon juice I had the freedom to play with the sugar a bit and cut it down by 25%. I doubled the orange zest, juice and nutmeg. The result was delicious – Danny was scraping out the pot and guzzling with pug like glee.
I’m planning to use this as a base for chic little individual apple or pear tarts this winter. When the dehydrator arrives we will be slicing and drying our own apples and pears for the pie toppings.
The only drawback to this recipe was that 3.5 lbs (1.5 kilos) of pears only made three jars of butter. But the flavour is so intense that I reckon it’s worth the trouble.
I have used the American measurements here. There’s a great conversion site here .
Pear butter recipe (adapted from Suzanne’s recipe from Chickens in the Road)
- 3.5 lbs of hard pears (peeled, cored and sliced)
- 2 cups of water (if you are using soft pears use half a cup of water – you can always add more if the mixture gets dry)
- 1 tsp of lemon juice
- Half a tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp of orange zest (this was the zest from one orange)
- Third of a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice (this was the juice from one orange)
- 1.5 cups of white granulated sugar
- Put the sliced pears, lemon juice and water into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat gently until the pears soften completely (lid on to intensify the flavours). Stir every now and then to stop the pears sticking. Add more water if necessary.
- Puree the soft pears – I used a stick blender.
- Add the orange zest, orange juice, sugar and nutmeg. Stir well and let the mixture thicken over a very low heat (lid off). I didn’t want this to be sliceable so when the mixture could be heaped on a teaspoon I poured it into hot sterilised jars and sealed them with plastic lined metal lids immediately. Suzanne suggests processing them in a hot water bath for ten minutes. As the seals on my lids popped down quickly, I skipped that stage.
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