Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chai-Spiced Pear Butter

After staring at several baggies of dried pears I bought too long ago (that obviously nobody has been eating because they would possibly dislocate your jawbone), I decided that they would be perfect candidates for pear butter. I threw them into a pot of water and boiled them until they were soft enough to puree. The flavoring came from a bottle of chai-flavored syrup that I found way too sweet to use to make drinks. You could substitute the typical chai-style flavorings of vanilla, cardamom, clove, and honey, or even make your own syrup by reducing some of that boxed concentrate or sweetened tea. Again, quantities are estimates; cook by "feel."
  • 8 oz unsweetened dried pears (or you can use a couple pounds of fresh pears, too)
  • 1/4 cup chai-flavored syrup (or strong-brewed chai tea + 2-3 Tbs. honey)
  • 2-3 cups water
Bring water and pears to a boil; reduce to simmer and cook 20-30 minutes until pears are well softened (if using fresh pears, the will break down significantly). Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor (or food mill if you have one) and process until smooth. Return to pan, add flavoring, and heat over medium heat (so that pockets of air occasionally break the surface) and cook until desired consistency is reached. Preferrably, the mixture will not collapse on itself when stirred--remember you will (probably) be spreading this onto toast or biscuits.

Spoon mixture into jar(s)--if you will not be eating this right away, you can process in a boiling water bath in sterilized jars for 10-15 minutes.

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