Anyone who grows pears is familiar with the frustration of fruit that’s unripe one day, and over-ripe the next. If you have a glut of pears that are little bit past their best, or haven’t yet softened enough to eat, give this recipe a try. Fruit butters are popular in the US, but seldom seen on this side of the pond. The name is misleading – they don’t actually contain butter at all, but are delicious spread on toast or scones. The spices in this recipe complement the floral sweetness of the pears.
- 1.2kg pears, peeled, cored and chopped
- 2 star anise
- 2cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 200g granulated sugar
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 vanilla pod
Place the pears, star anise and ginger in a pan with 250ml water, bring to the boil and simmer until the pears are soft. Remove and discard the star anise. Allow the pears to cool slightly, then process until smooth.
Return the purée to the pan and add the lemon zest and juice, sugar, nutmeg, cardamom and the scraped-out seeds of the vanilla pod. Bring the mixture to the boil again and simmer gently for about an hour until thick, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t catch.
Spoon the pear butter into sterilised jam jars. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. If you want to keep it for longer, place the sealed jars on a rack in a large pan of boiling water, ensuring that the water covers the jars by at least 2cm, for 10 minutes.