IN VANILLA SYRUP
Fall is here and with it apples, pears and quince, some of my favorite fruits. With summer fruits waning we welcome the fall harvest announcing a new season of preserving. Few fruits lend themselves to canning as well as the pear. It’s delicate taste and firm texture make it a perfect canvas for a variety of flavors.
This recipe preserves the pears subtle almost floral flavor. Adding a few peppercorns and the brandy to each jar provides a barely perceivable counterbalance to the the sweetness of the sugar syrup, making it a bit more refined than your average canned pear.
Wonderfully versatile this recipe can be used in any number of dessert preparations.Having a few jars of these on hand allows you to whip up a glamorous dessert in a nanosecond.With the holidays around the corner that's a Godsend.
- With vanilla ice cream drizzled with bittersweet chocolate sauce
- In their own syrup with a dollop of creme fraiche
- A compote bowl filled with these is a beautiful addition a dessert buffet
- Layer them in a store bought cake with whipped cream or pastry cream
- Drizzle with caramel sauce
- Add them to your Christmas trifle
- Add them to a bread pudding
- 4 QUARTS
- 1 gallon cool water
- 1 teaspoon citric acid or 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 8-10 Llbs firm almost ripe Bartlett pears
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 cups water
- 1 vanilla bean, opened
- 24 peppercorns (preferably pink)
- 4- 8 tablespoons Pear William or other brandy (optional)
- Start your hot water bath and prepare your jars and lids.
- Mix the water and citric acid or lemon juice together in a large bowl. Peel, halve and core the pears (I use a melon baller) and place them in the water mixture to prevent browning.
- Meanwhile in a large saucepan combine the sugar and the water. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and add the split vanilla bean.
- Place pears in a single layer (you may have to do two batches) in syrup. Cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes until fruit is heated through.
- Put six peppercorns and I - 2 tablespoons of the Pear William or brandy in the bottom of the hot sterilized jars. Using tongs or a slotted spoon pack pears into jars as snugly as possible (the fruit shrinks while cooking). Fill to the top squeezing in an extra half pear if possible.
- Fish out the vanilla bean and cut into 4 pieces, tucking a piece into each jar. Cover the pears with the sugar syrup leaving 1/2 inch headroom. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe rims and place lids on screwing on lightly.
- Place jars in canner covering with more hot water to submerge the jars. Bring to a boil and process for 25 minutes (timed from the boil). Process pints for 20 minutes. Remove lid and wait 5 minutes before carefully removing jars. Place jars on towels or a cutting board . Let cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
- Don't be afraid, this sounds far more complicated than it really is. Once you have the technique down you can riff on the flavors and apply it to other fruits.
- While I prefer the look of wide-mouth jars, canned fruits or tomatoes fare better in the regular jars as the small opening helps keep the fruit submerged. With the wide mouth jars the fruit rises up to the top sometimes leaving you with an inch or two of liquid on the bottom of the jar, which while it does not affect the fruit, it does not look quite right.