Yesterday I spend the morning making Pear-Quince Butter. It’s a twist on the traditional apple butter because I’m using the ingredients I have on hand. I have an abundance of quince trees in the garden, and the fruit is now beginning to ripen up. I also have basket full of pears right now – some from our Seckel pear tree, but most the girls picked up in Hood River this past weekend.
I make membrillo out of quince every year, and also Caramel-Spice Pear Butter (sorry, the recipe is top-secret!), but with the quantity of both in my kitchen right now, I thought I’d try mixing them together. I’m quite happy with the result. Here’s my recipe:
Spiced Quince-Pear Butter
5 large quince
10 pears (I used a mixture of Comice, Seckel, Barlett, and Red Anjou)
1/4 C water
6 C sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp kosher salt
Juice of two lemons
4 Tbsp brandy (optional)
- Wash the fruit, peel and core it. Cut the quince into 16ths and the Pear into 8ths (quince are harder and take longer to cook, cutting them into smaller pieces insures they will cook at the same rate).
- To a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch Oven, add the chopped fruit and water. Cover, and cook on medium until all of the fruit is tender (about 30 min).
- After fruit is tender, remove lid and reduce head. Here you have two options: for a super smooth butter, process fruit in a food mill. For a more rustic butter, mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Measure pulp. You should have 8 cups.
- Return the pulp to the pot. Add spices, salt, and sugar. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the butter cooks down to a desired thickness (depending on the heat and frequency of stirring, about 45 min to 2 hours)
- Halfway through cooking down the butter, Heat up the hot-water bath canner. Place clean jars in the canner and bring them up to a boil. Place lids and rings in a small saucepan and warm them (do NOT boil, it damages the rubber seal).
I use a lid-rack I found at a thrift store ages ago to keep the lids from being in direct contact with the bottom of the pan. It also makes them easy to grab when filling jars.
- When butter is ready, stir in lemon juice (and brandy, if desired). Cook 2-3 minutes.
- Fill half-pint jars, clean top of the jar, place lids and rings on snuggly. Process 5 minutes in a hot-waterbath canner. Remove from heat and let cool for several hours. Makes 9-10 half pint jars.