Saturday, December 4, 2010

caramelized, spiced pear butter

my grandma was known in our family for her delicious seasonal pear butter. it was something that was savored until the last scrap in the bottom of the jar. typically we'd eat it on toast but sometimes a spoonful would do the trick too.

the secret to this recipe is caramelizing the sugar before the pears are added. caramel+ pear butter? TOGETHER?! it's EASY to make, uses few ingredients and makes a fantastic gift. grandma stroup would be proud i'm keeping this baby alive.
Wash the 15 bartlett pears but do not peel or core them; slice pears into a heavy saucepan (at least 5-quart size). Add 2c. water, cover and cook until tender (about 30 minutes).  

Remove from heat and press the pears through a colander or a food mill.  Measure the pear pulp (you should have about 8 cups) and return to the pan. Dump the excess skin and big bits of pear that don't go through the colander. 

Using a frying pan, heat 1 1/2 cups of sugar, stirring until it melts and caramelizes to a medium brown color. This is the trick to giving it a wonderful depth of flavor and caramelness.  Pour immediately into the pear pulp (the syrup will sizzle and harden, but dissolve again as the preserves cook

Add the 4c. sugar, 1t. ground cloves (i used about 6 whole since i didn't have ground), 1 1/2t. ground cinnamon, and 1/2t. ginger. Cook uncovered on medium, stirring frequently as it begins to thicken to prevent it from sticking (about 45 minutes) Stir in 2T. lemon juice just before removing from heat.  

Pour hot mixture into steralized 1/2 pint jars, put on lid tightly.  (i used old jam jars we've been collecting.)  Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  (i skipped this part.  this makes the pear butter last longer and able to store out of the refrigerator.  i'm going to just make sure the recipients are told to keep it in the fridge.)

this recipe yields 9 1/2 pints

DELICIOUS on some good bread, toasted with cream cheese.  my grandma's pear butter is very smooth.  this recipe makes a chunkier version.  i ended up blended some with a hand food blender for a smooth batch and left the other half chunkier.  i'm a fan of the smooth, the hubs is a fan of the more jam like texture.  take your pick!  


andrea said...

this is the tastiest recipe i have found, so i am trying it right now. pears are chopped and ready to go. i love passed down recipes, what a way to honor our grandparents. thank you for sharing. i'm still trying to prey that recipe for my mom's pickled spiced pumpkin from her. wish me luck

¡Fräulein! said...

Glad you're enjoying it as much as me! I actually just bought a bunch of organic pears to make a fall batch. That pickled spiced pumpkin sounds BOMB!! I want THAT recipe!