19 September 2007
PEAR JAM with VANILLA BEAN
Seasonal fruit…. a delicacy, a rejuvenation of the senses and a welcomed change with each calender month that passes. But I find it sad how people seem to be increasingly unaware of which fruit belongs to which season and thus buy on a craving basis. It is no wonder though… with the grocery stores offering strawberries, peaches, mangoes, melon… (I could go on here) 365 days a year! Unless you have tasted a hand picked, perfectly ripe, home grown fruit, how are your sense suppose to know the difference.
I am getting off my soapbox … and have decided to dedicate this post to THE PEAR – ‘poire william’ to be exact, currently in season and picked from the farm trees a few days ago.
There are two main types of pears in Europe, the Anjou and the William (or Bartlett as they are known in North America) Anjou pears are a hardy winter pear, light green in colour and available from the autumn through to spring. Whereas the William pears are a sweeter variety (great for jam making) golden yellow with a fleck of red and ready to pick from late summer through the autumn.
RECIPE – ERIKA ALLISTON, Sweet Pea Blog
- 1kg (1000g) peeled & chopped William (Bartlett) pears
- 800g white sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1 fresh vanilla bean (they are soft and usually sold in a small glass tube)
- 5 jam jars (depending on size)
Jam jar preparation:
- Preheat your oven to 100°C. To sterilise the jam jars (bocaux) wash them in soapy water, rinse and place open-side up on a tray in the the oven while you make the jam
- Next squeeze the juice of one lemon and set aside. Now peel the pears, remove the stem and seeds and cut into small pieces.
- In a very large saucepan (preferably one for making soups) add the chopped pears and sugar.
- On the stove bring the pears and sugar to a rolling boil, and cook for 10-15 minutes.
- While waiting prepare the vanilla. Cut the vanilla bean in half and remove the grains from inside by creating a long slit length wise down the vanilla bean and scraping out the inside.
- Add the grains, the empty vanilla bean pod and the lemon juice to the jam, and cook for another 5 minutes until the “GOUTTE TEST” works (see below)
- Remove the jam from the stove and take out the vanilla bean pods. Using an electric hand-mixer, slightly blend the fruit until desired texture (ie mix well if you prefer a smoother jam)
- Remove the jam jars from the oven and with a ladle fill each jar until approx. 1cm from the surface. Cover with plastic or screw tops. Leave to set for 2-3 days.
GOUTTE TEST: a goutte is a drop and as I do not use pectin / certo to thicken the jam (lemon juice helps with this), you need to cook it until, dipping a wooden spoon into the jam and them holding the spoon horizontally over the saucepan, the LAST goutte / drop does not fall off the spoon but holds. You then know your jam will set.