Pear Challenge

PA140131I had a moment of serendipity earlier this month when I was at a party and the host mentioned this really cool pear tree he had in his back yard.

“Help yourself,” he said, and so, with Cake and Commerce’s October canning challenge in mind, I did. I had the perfect plan in mind: pear butter.

The internet proved to be both a blessing and a curse in my quest for perfect pear butter. While it provided some alternative recipes, it also provided some contrary advice as to how my pears should be cooked. Should I core and peel my pears first, or take advantage of the pectin contained there? How many pears should I use? Should I push the mixture through a sieve or blend it in a food processor? 

In the end, I used about six pounds of pears, and keeping in mind my pectin problem of the previous month, decided to cook the pears with their skins and cores, to maximize my chances of a good set. I cut the pears into quarters and set them in a large pot, with about three cups of sweet white wine, and cooked then until the pears were mushy enough that I could remove the core with a spoon. I then cut the cores from the pears, returned them to the pot and added two cups of sugar and a cinnamon stick. I let that cook until it was the consistency of apple sauce and then put the mixture through a food processor to smooth it out. Then, I cooked the mixture until it had reduced by half- a couple of hours. 

The pears were then ladled into pint jars and processed. One is waiting to be given to my friend with the pear tree. 

PA140135  PA140138

Pear Crostini
12 slices French bread
1 pear, thinly sliced
Gorgonzola cheese
Pear butter

Toast bread until golden and spread generously with pear butter. Sprinkle with gorgonzola and top with a pear slice. Return to oven and cook until cheese is just melted.

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