Saged Pear Butter

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I’ve had a lot on my plate these past few weeks- i had 2 of these in 2 nights in nyc:

Then i had 8 of these in 4 days in miami:

Then i had 2 of these in 2 nights in nyc:
photo hifi cartel

In between i rounded up a big raucous bunch of allium recipes and after all that, and in a bit of a haze there was the last minute planning of a much needed vacation to california. what all this means is:

1) i’m still alive.

2) while you’re reading this i’ve probably just left here and i’m on my way to here. 🙂

3) i had to get jammin’ with my can jam at the very beginning of april in nyc without even a thought of getting up to the berkshires to experience the glorious springtime weather & check out the bounty.

4) my biggest challenge this month was getting all that stuff off my plate and some other stuff into jars.

…and even tho my ingredients were chosen & gathered at exactly 10:50pm on a drive by of the columbus circle wholefoods after a late production viewing & before an AM call time for the first of two consecutive all nighters. and even tho they’ve traveled as far to me as i have for my vacation and aren’t particularly very springy (pears & sage?) at all, trust me, i had a plan:

some of you may remember my first attempt at butter, though good it was a tad too sweet. i want a fruit butter that tastes like the fruit it is with just enough sweetness to be this side of (apple)sauce, and since i have plenty of experience enhancing jams with herbs i wanted to see how they work with butters.

so that was the plan, and a more immediate one during my 10 minute wholefood frenzy was finding the most potent smelling herbs i could find, and this was it:

I had a few flavor pairings in mind, and once the sage was settled on, the pear was the pairing for sure. luckily, but not locally unfortunately, the pear section at wholefoods was overflowing with fruit.and so…

2 to 2 & 1/2 pounds pears (i used anjou)
juice of one lemon
1/8th cup champagne vinegar (or white wine)
2/3rds to 1 cup sugar (i used raw)
1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1 large sprig fresh sage (approximately 15-18 leaves)
1/2 pint mason jarsYields: approximately 1 & 1/2 pints

1) peel pears, slice in half, core, and drop in a bowl of ice cold water with the lemon juice. this will keep them from discoloring.

2) chop pears coarsely and place in preserving pot, add vinegar and 1/8th cup of water. bring to the boil, then simmer until pears are just soft.

3) sauce the pears. you have choices; you can run them through a food mill, blend in a blender, or do as i did and use an immersion blender right in the pot.

4) add pear sauce back to the pot if you’ve taken the pears out to sauce. put the heat on low & add sugar. stir until sugar melts.

5) add the ground white pepper and whole sage sprig. turn heat up and bring to the boil.

6) boil, stirring frequently when it begins to thicken. it will take about 35-45 minutes to reach a spreadable thickness. you will know it’s done when you can glide your stirring spoon across the bottom of the pot and see the bottom for a second or two before the butter melts back over itself.

just when you begin to cook the sauce down you can prepare you canning pot and sterilize your jars.

7) once desired thickness is reached remove the sage sprig. you will have a lot of butter sticking to the sprig, make sure to shake it off over the pan so as not to lose any of that buttery goodness.

8) fill jars and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. store in a cool, dry place for up to one year.

Note: this is a very small batch, so please double or even triple it if you like.

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