Edible Monterey Bay

PEAR BUTTER

Pear butter differentiates itself from other fruit butters with its texture. Pears have a naturally gritty quality to them that gives this butter a pleasant chewiness. Pears also have a tendency to develop a glossy sheen when cooked down into a butter, which looks very appetizing. I add maple syrup to this butter instead of cane sugar as it adds depth to the pears, and we are not concerned about the dark color since fruit butters always turn brown due to the carmelized sugars.

Pear butter should be made the same way as apple butter and is perfect with a sharp aged Cheddar.

5 pounds pears
1½ cups maple syrup
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine all ingredients in a large pot, cover and simmer over medium heat on the stovetop for 15 minutes or until apples are very soft. Blend the contents until very smooth, either with a high-powered immersion blender or in a Cuisinart.

Next, transfer the purée into two 15-by-10- inch glass baking dishes, filling them halfway full. Place the baking dishes in the oven and bake until the purée cooks down to about half the volume and the sugars become brown and caramelized. This can take anywhere from 3–5 hours, depending on how juicy the pears were to start, how sweet they are and how humid the air. Stir the purée occasionally by folding in the top layer and scraping down the sides. You can test the pear butter by placing 1 teaspoon of it on a plate and cooling it in the freezer. The butter should not have any liquid separate from it and should sit tall in a nice pile.

When finished, ladle the pear butter into 8-ounce jars and process in a hot water bath canner for 8 minutes. Fruit butter will keep for two years. Yields 7, 8-ounce jars.

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