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Spiced Pear Butter

Spiced Pear Butter

The only real problem I have with pears is that they bruise easily. They are juicy, have great flavor and go well with a huge variety of sweet and savory dishes. The bruising is a problem, though, because it really has an impact on the appearance of sliced pears and – at the risk of sounding a bit silly – a cheese plate just doesn’t look the same with a bunch of bruised pears on it. Fortunately, there is at least one great use for slightly bruised, but still ripe, pears: pear butter.

Pear butter is basically a very thick, smooth applesauce-type dish that is made with pears. It gets the name “butter” from how silky smooth the finished puree is. I was inspired to make a batch after smelling the wonderful scents of Apple Cider Butter being cooked at the Smuckers factory last week, as well as by the fact that I had a bunch of bruised Bosc pears sitting on my kitchen counter when I returned from the trip. You can use any variety of pears for this.

The butter is easy to make: just cook the pears down with a little spiced cider and puree it. I always put pear butter through a strainer at least once to make sure it is as smooth as possible. I don’t add any extra sugar, but if you prefer yours a little sweeter, feel free to add in 1/4 cup or so of brown sugar. You can taste the spices from the cider – cinnamon, cloves, etc. – in the finished butter, but I add in a little bit extra to keep the flavors strong. This will keep well in the fridge for about a week (maybe two, if stored in an airtight container) and can be used as a spread for English muffins, biscuits, toast, pancakes and even savory things like pork chops (very tasty!).

Spiced Pear Butter
5-6 large Bosc or Bartlet Pears
1 cup spiced apple cider
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla extract

Peel the pears and remove the stems and seeds. Chop into large pieces, as you would with potatoes, and place in a large saucepan. Add in cider and all spices.
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until pears are extremely tender (10-20 minutes, depending on the firmness of the pears). Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Puree the mixture in a food processor or with an immersion blender until very smooth. Press through a fine strainer or sieve and transfer back into the saucepan.
Cook over medium heat until butter comes just to a boil and thickens slightly. Stir in vanilla and remove from heat.
Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 3-4 cups.

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  • Mimi
    November 12, 2009

    Sounds delicious. The perfect recipe for over ripe pear.

  • HayleyB
    November 12, 2009

    This sounds great! Do you think it would keep longer if you canned it like you would when making jam? Sterilized jars etc?

  • Nutmeg Nanny
    November 12, 2009

    I have never had pear butter before…I need to try this immediately!

  • Elentarien
    November 12, 2009

    My family LOVES LOVES LOVES pear butter. Its so easy to make too. A bit time consuming, but easy. Though our recipe is somewhat different. No vanilla extract, for example. We also don’t add extra sugar.

    However, in regards to how long it will keep, we have always canned ours, in jars with the pop-seals (sorry, no idea what they are called. lol), and ours have always lasted ages. We still have some from 4-5 years ago in our cool storage room in the basement. (We love it, but sometimes don’t go through it that fast. lol) Its still good when opened, as long as it stays sealed. Even the stuff in the fridge tends to stay edible for a few weeks. Though that may (or may not) be different with this recipe.

    Just saying. . .:)

    This makes me hungry again. 😀

  • Stacy
    November 13, 2009

    That sounds and looks delicious! I might have to hunt down some pears, now. I can’t get enough fruit desserts at the moment.

  • chris
    November 13, 2009

    this looks so delicious. I need time to try! :p

  • Megan
    November 13, 2009

    I make pear sauce (like applesauce) for my infant son using a foley food mill. I don’t add any extra flavors, just steam the pears (skin, seeds and all) and then process through my food mill. It couldn’t be easier and is SOOO delicious! It makes me wonder why pear sauce is not a staple on grocery shelves.

  • anomie
    November 13, 2009

    the best grilled cheese sandwich i’ve ever had was made with pear butter.

  • This reminds me of a Chocolate & Pear Butter/Jam/Spread I bought at a chocolate shop in Barcelona. I had to remind myself that licking the inside of the jar would be unladylike.

  • I always put pear butter through a strainer at least once to make sure it is as smooth as possible. I don’t add any extra sugar, but if you prefer yours a little sweeter, feel free to add in 1/4 cup or so of brown sugar.

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