My gratitude overflows to Mary McKenna, my friend who shared this recipe with me in 1999 in Master Food Preserver class. Pears are plentiful and beautiful in our area, and this is a fine use for them. I have tinkered with the recipe only slightly by reducing the sugar.
5 lbs. (about 15 medium) Bartlett pears
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1. Wash the pears, but do not peel or core them; slice them into a heavy saucepan — at least 5 quart size. Add the water, cover, and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Remove pears from heat and press them through a colander or food mill; measure the pulp. You should have 8 cups. Return the pulp to the *pan (see note at bottom) and heat to a simmer.
|Hand-crank food mill; stainless steel|
|food mill attachment + Kitchen Aid Mixer|
3. Meanwhile heat the granulated sugar in an 8 – 10-inch stainless steel saute pan over medium-high heat. Stir and cook until it melts and caramelizes to a medium brown color. Pour immediately into the cooking pear pulp. The syrup will sizzle and harden, but dissolve again as the preserves cook.
4. Add the brown sugar and spices. Cook uncovered until thick, about 45 minutes. Stir frequently, especially as it begins to thicken, to keep it from sticking and scorching. Stir in lemon juice just before removing from heat. The butter is ready when it mounds slightly on the spoon and has a glossiness or sheen.
5. Meanwhile, prepare 9 half-pint jars, lids, and bands. Check jar rims for any nicks or cracks; be sure ring bands are rust-free and the lids are new. Wash jars and rings in hot soapy water, rinse well and line them up on the counter. Keep lids in a small pan of hot water until ready to use.
6. Pour hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a headspace tool or plastic knife. Wipe rims and threads of jars with a clean, damp paper towel. Apply lids and rings and tighten according to manufacturer’s directions. Process in a boiling water canner 10 minutes (pints or half pints). Adjust processing time for your specific altitude and read upon the basics of canning in a recent edition of the Ball Blue Book or contact your local Extension Service for classes and publications.
7. When processing time is complete, turn off the heat and allow jars to remain in the water bath for 5 minutes stabilization time. This will reduce your chance of preserving siphoning (bubbling over) from the jars before the lids have had time to seal. Then remove jars to a towel-covered surface out of drafts to cool.
8. When cool, test for seal, remove bands, wipe jars clean and store in a cool, dark, dry place. Be sure to label them!
Excellent on French toast, pancakes, or as you like it!
* Alternatively, Caramel Spice Pear Butter may be prepared with the assistance of a Slow Cooker. Prepare recipe through step 2, but instead of returning the pear pulp to the pan, place it and remaining ingredients into a 5-6 quart slow cooker and start cooking without the lid on high heat in the afternoon. Before you go to bed, reduce heat to low, leave the lid off, and simmer overnight. It will darken and become very thick as it cooks. If you happen to wake up at night, give it a stir. In the morning, stir and taste the butter and check for consistency. Butter should be thick and glossy; a wooden spoon will stand upright in the cooker.