Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Preserved Pears with Lemon
The author of the cookbook makes this comment about this recipe: "Preserved pears are not to be likened to pear jam; this dish consists of an equal amount of fruit and heavy lemon-flavored syrup, with a hint of allspice and cloves. Maybe we should call it a condiment. Some people call it pear honey. My grandmother always served it in a tall cut-glass compote and it was always on the table whenever we had fried chicken and biscuits. The rich amber pear preserves, with the added touch of lemon rind and raisins, were spooned on top of the split buttered biscuits. It was all very messy and very delightful."
Now how can you resist that? These preserves might take a little longer to make, but they are well worth the effort!
Preserved Pears with Lemon- 6 cups
6 c. sugar, divided
3 c. water
1/3 c. powdered Fruit Fresh
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
12 whole cloves
6 large Bartlett pears (3-3 1/2 lbs.)
1 large lemon
1/2 c. seedless raisins
1/4 c. orange juice
Speck of salt
Place 2 cups of sugar and the water in a deep saucepan. Boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the Fruit Fresh, allspice and cloves. Stir and cook until the Fruit Fresh is dissolved; remove from the heat.
Wash the pears, cut into quarters, core and peel with a potato peeler. Cut into 1/2 inch slices and add immediately to the syrup. Bring again to a boil over high heat, lower heat and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.
Slice the lemon thin, remove the seeds, and cut each slice into 6 wedges. Add to the pears, along with the rest of the sugar. Bring back to a boil, and continue simmering over low heat, uncovered, for another 25 minutes. Add the raisins, orange juice and salt and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer, depending on how thin you want the syrup (see note at end). Cover and let stand in a cool place for 24 hours. Pears will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.
To can, reheat the mixture and pour into hot half-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace at the top. Adjust caps. Cover and process in a hot-water bath for 20 minutes. This mixture also freezes well.
Note: The longer you cook the preserves, the thicker they will be. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools, and ideally the finished texture will be the same texture as honey. The mixture can be thinned with hot water if you have cooked it down too much. Don't worry about the pears, they will retain their shape.