Over the holidays, I came across a tart recipe that called for pear preserves. The flavors and ingredients in the tart were alluring enough so I didn’t think twice about it listing pear preserves. However, in my local markets pear preserves could not easily be found. Checking in specialty shops was the discovery, but not for those gourmet prices !
Making this jar of preserves was easy enough. In addition to knowing exactly what was put into it, I could also control the amount of sugar, the quality and type of pear(s) used. In this case, homemade was the way to go, especially if you don’t want to be at the mercy of such unreasonable market prices for a mere jar of delicious preserves…
I‘ve mentioned before about my fondness for pears in general. It’s such an odd shaped fruit with a myriad of varieties in flavor, size and colors. They’re rustic and can be used in so many ways – like the apple. In my enthusiasm for the fruit, I may have gone a teenie-bit overboard with the dawning of bare root season these last several weeks by adding three varieties to my garden and landscape (more on that in another post)!
So how did that tart or pastry turn out that called for the pear preserves? Well…I promise to post it on TC as soon as I make it! Yup, been a bit of a procrastinator these weeks with regards to baking. Been trying to watch the calorie intake and that’s almost next to impossible when you both LOVE to bake and eat what you make. Even more difficult when you just have a love for food in general and you share an online food journal.
Having looked around for a good pear preserve recipe and method, I used this one from the my very beautiful cookbook by Rosetta Costantino, Southern Italian Desserts: Rediscovering the Sweet Traditions of Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Sicily.
Bartlett pears were mainly used with an added Comice (only because I had it on hand). Good texture with small chunks of cooked pear (not the consistency of apple sauce). Very good pear flavor. I used a Meyer Lemon for both the zest and juice, but would think better about it using a more acidic variety next time (like a Eureka lemon, for example).
Next time around, as a matter of preference, I would cut the sugar down just a bit. A great recipe and method that I’ll happily be using again. Although the recipe mentions to store the pear preserves in a glass jar in the fridge for up to 1 month, I can attest that it has persevered much longer than that because I made mine back in early December!
Makes about 2 ½ – 3 cups
3 pounds firm-ripe pears, peeled and cored
2 ¾ cups sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Cut pears into ½-¾-inch pieces and put them in a large saucepan. Stir in the sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Let stand for at least 1 hour to draw out the pears’ juice.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then simmer slowly until the pears are translucent and the syrup is reduced and light golden – about 45 minutes. It should read about 215°F (102°C) on a candy thermometer.
Let cool completely. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to about (give or take) 1 month.