Homemade Spiced Pear Jam (Without Pectin)


 

Stone fruits are my first love and I have them in abundance during the season but the pip fruits, pears, apples are a different story all together. There are many varieties of pears that have hit the market this season including the sweet nashpaati, crisp nakq and gritty, sweet and juicy babugosha. i’m absolutely enjoying myself biting into the fresh ripe fleshy fruits but sometimes a few of them turn out a little bland in taste and that is when the exotic ideas of caramelized pears, stews, poached pears in red wine, jams, jellies, tarts, upside down cakes or a humble Indian spiced chutney come to mind. Do check out my other recipes for jams and jellies.

Pears are rich in dietary fibers among other things. The star of this recipe are the intense flavors of spices and the tang from lemon. As the pears were not very sweet this one has a mild sweetness of the fruit but those with robust flavors are mind blowing when used in preserves. I usually pick up the juiciest and sweetest lot.

The cinnamon and clove give it a classic flavor and the sugar gives it the desired thickness. I guess this is the time to bring Autumn into your kitchen. 🙂

Pear an Peach jams do not set like other jams if there is no additional pectin. They require a little bit more cooking time to get the right consistency.

Ingredients : 

2 Cups – Chopped, peeled Pears

4 Cups – Sugar ( depends on the sweetness of the fruit)

4-5 – Cloves / 1/2 tsp of  freshly ground clove powder

1/4 inch Cinnamon stick  / 1/2 tsp Freshly ground Cinnamon

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Steps: 

Add all the ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan and boil them on low heat for an hour or so or until thick. As the mixture begins to thicken you will need to stir more frequently. Once the bubbles begin to appear stop stirring and let the foam come up. Turn the gas off and skim off any foam that may have come on the top. Put it back on stove on low heat.

Once the jam thickens to the desired consistency and the mixture looks glossy and shiny turn off the gas.  If the jam coats the back of the spoon and the bottom of the pan it is done. The color will darken too. Conduct a spoon or sheet test – take some jam in a frozen spoon or chilled  steel plate and slightly tilt it , if the jam stays at one place it is done. If it flows then you need to cook a bit more. Always cook jams on low heat.

You may keep the jam a bit chunky or mash the fruit with a masher while it is cooking to get a smoother jam.

You can add a 1″ piece of grated ginger if you like the taste. I do it sometime. It perks up the taste of the jam.

Let the jam come to room temperature then spoon it in clean glass jars. Leave 1/4 inch head space while filling the bottles.

Slather this golden sweetness lavishly on the bread and enjoy wit ha hot mug of coffee.

Tip – Add a little red wine to the jam if you don’t mind things getting a little tipsy.   🙂

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Quick Dessert – Poached Pears With Spices And Caramel


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Poached fruits are great quick desserts and a good way to convert ho-hum fruits into something fantastically delicious. I love the basic  sugar and water  poaching for everyday dessert because it retains the taste and delicate flavor of the fruit and isn’t loaded with heavy aromas of spices or other ingredients but for special occasions or if I am in a little indulgent mood I add spices, wine, caramel sauce etc according to the mood of the day.

Poaching is done at any stage of ripeness of the fruit but if you have nice and firm juicy fruit it reduces the amount of sugar/honey to be added which is good.

There are a thousand ways one can enhance poached Pears by pairing them with different ingredients. On cold winter days this is one of my favorite desserts. So, how did this idea of poached Pears pop up suddenly. I am writing about the eroticism of cooking alone or for someone special or with someone special and the I think the elegance and sensuousness of perfectly poached warm pears with  chilled vanilla ice cream or hot caramel sauce is unbeatable.  Creating something in the kitchen for me is like making love, you need to give yourself to the ingredients and let them spin the magic for a perfect orgasmic experience of a well made dish.  So here is the recipe for all of you to spice up and sweeten your winter days.

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Ingredients :

6 medium size firm plump ripe Pears of your choice

3/4 inch Ginger peeled and finely chopped

1/2 lemon

Spice mix – 4 cloves, 4 peppercorn, 2 all spice, 1 star anise (broken in half) , 1 cinnamon stick broken in half ( you can choose your own)

Honey – 2 Table spoon

Vanilla essence – 1 teaspoon or one split vanilla bean

Sugar – 1/2 cup Sugar ( you can use sugar according to the sweetness of fruit and use part white and part brown sugar or entirely use brown sugar too. Don’t use honey if using brown sugar)

Water – Just enough to cover the pears. (About four cups should do)

For caramel Sauce –

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

A pinch of salt

Method For Poaching Pears:

Wash and peel pears. You can keep them whole or cut them in half from top to bottom. Keep the stems so you can pick them easily.

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Scoop out the middle part with a melon scooper. ( if you are using whole pear scoop out the center from the bottom and cut it flat so it can stand on the plate.

Take a sauce pan and add water,  sugar,  add spices as it warms and bring to one boil. Squeeze lemon juice into it and remove the froth that comes up while boiling.

Add pears and cover the lid. Let it simmer on low heat now till the fruit becomes tender enough for the fork to pierce easily.

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Add honey and vanilla essence at this stage and mix. ( if using vanilla bean add with spices)

Check for tenderness of the fruit and plate those which are done.

Once all the fruit is out on the plate or Bowl let the syrup thicken a little on low heat.

Pour the syrup over the pears along with the spices.

Caramel syrup 

Take a heavy bottom pan and add sugar to it. Let it melt. Swirl the pan a few times so the sugar dissolves equally and doesn’t burn, add tap hot water to it and keep stirring till the syrup is amber gold in color. (Don’t over cook so the sugar will solidify) . Remove from heat when done. Warm the syrup when needed

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Serving

Take out the poached fruit on a plate or in a bowl pour some warm syrup over them along with the spices. Serve with chocolate sponge cake or vanilla ice cream drizzled with generous amount of the luscious caramel syrup.

Variations 

You can poach the pears in simple traditional  sugar and water style or in red wine (I use Merlot or Shiraz) and it will fill your home with an irresistible aroma that will linger in your senses for a long time. Add/remove spices as you wish. Experiment with Jaggery instead of sugar. Serve plain or with chocolate/ caramel sauce. It tastes  great with mint chocolate. I use After 8 for that. There is no limit to to what you can do. Go Indulge.

Enjoy this gorgeous treat and let me know the experience.