Spiced Pear Butter

January 23, 2012

Aunt Suzy says . . .

I saw this recipe on recently on Pinterest, and coincidentally, I had just bought a bag of Anjou pears (my favorite!) so I thought I’d try it.  The original recipe was for double the quantities listed below. It just so happened that my bag of pears was exactly half the weight called for.  The recipe also said it made way more than it did for me – not sure how I ended up with a smaller quantity of finished product.  It said the yield was 4 cups, so I recommend having on hand 4 sterilized half-pint jars and lids just in case.

I can testify that this is delicious on English muffins and sour dough toast.  I have a hunch it would be also great with pancakes, biscuits and scones.  The original post recommended stirring it into oatmeal – that sounds good too!

These quantities yielded about 2 1/2 cups of pear butter for me

3 1/2 pounds pears, preferably Anjou or Bartlett

1/4 cup water, a little less if the pears are extra juicy

Zest and juice of 1 small lemon, Meyer if available

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 teaspoon cardamom

1/3 teaspoon nutmeg

Peel, core and dice the pears.  Put in a stainless steel saucepan with the water, lemon zest and juice.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Let cool.  Puree the pears with a hand-held blender, keeping some of the texture.  Do not liquefy.  (Alternatively you can use a food processor with a metal blade.  Just be careful not to over process.)  This step can be done up to 1 day ahead of time.

Add the sugar, vanilla and spices to the pear puree.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer at a medium bubble, uncovered, until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.  This took me about 45 minutes.  This will vary depending on how “liquidy” the puree is to start.

While the pear butter is cooking, prepare the jars.  Pour boiling water into half-pint mason jars.  Place lids and screw rings in a saucepan and simmer until ready to use.  When the pear butter is to the consistency where it holds together in a spoon, spoon the hot pear butter into the jars (emptied of the water).  Tamp the pear butter down and add a little more to fill the jar.  Dry the lids and rings with a paper towel. Place the lids on and tighten with the rings.  To seal, turn the jar upside down immediately and leave to cool.  Refrigerate when cooled.