Several weeks ago, I make a roasted chicken using some pear jam that my wife had been given. This was not your standard jelly or thick jam, but a clear jelly mixed with translucent pieces of fruit. I thought that some people might need a substitute for this ingredient in my recipe, so I posted a quick substitute that I had not actually tried to make. I had thought, how hard would it be to make this?
My thought was to cook and mash some pears. Add some sugar and lemon juice, maybe a touch of vanilla, and simmer until it had thickened. Simple, right? Wrong!
Unlike the citrus juices—that I am used to making jams with—the pear mash was in constant danger of scorching. It never fully jelled and it certainly did not have the clarity of the jam we had been given. I eventually had to add some commercial pectin to get it to set and I ended up with an, admittedly, very nice pear butter. However, while the flavor was good, it lacked the clear elegance of the gifted jam.
Note: I am trying to get the secret to this amazing jam from the person who gave it to my wife.
Karl’s Bartlett Pear Butter
4 Bartlett pears (about 2 cups)
½ cup water
2 tsp. lemon juice
1½ cups sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. pectin powder
1. Sterilize 2-3 small canning jars.
Note: This recipe produces 2½± cups of pear butter.
2. Quarter, core and peel the pears.
3. Chop the pears into small bits and put them in a small pot.
4. Add the water and lemon juice to the pot.
Note: The water is just to give the fruit some liquid to get it started. Most of it will cook off during the simmering time.
5. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce the heat, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
Tip: Do not cover the pot.
6. Mash the fruit.
Tip: For a chunky jam mash the bits against the side of the pot with the spoon to break them up. For a smoother jam, put the fruit pulp into a standing blender.
7. Bring the pulp back to a boil and stir in the sugar.
8. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes, until the jam has thickened.
Tip: Scrape the bottom of the pot frequently, as the mash will want to stick and scorch.
9. Stir in the vanilla and pectin.
10. Continue simmering until the jam starts to jell, another 5-15 minutes.
11. Transfer the jam to the sterilized jars and let it cool.