If you’re not quite ready to start your Christmas shopping (or equally, if you have!), why not try Elaine’s Pear Chutney or Pear Vodka recipe? The vodka has a delicious, festive spice to it, and the chutney is the perfect accompaniment when served with blue cheese and crackers. Here's Elaine with more…
Elaine's Pear Chutney and Pear Vodka Recipe
“As I have a very abundant pear tree in my garden, one of the things I make every year is pear chutney, and give it to my nearest and dearest as Christmas presents. It reminds them of me, since I’m a little pear-shaped too!
Here’s my recipe. I tested mine after a week, and it was delicious with really salty cheese - Stilton, Gorgonzola, strong cheddar, or a mature goats cheese are my favourites. It should last at least 3 months in perfectly sterilised jars, but it goes much quicker than that in our house! I think any variety of pears will do the job, but don’t use overly ripe ones as they emit too much juice.” – Elaine
Makes about 6-8 jars
28 medium/small pears (you can adjust quantities), peeled, cored, and diced into small chunks
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced into chunks
1 red onion, diced
1 white onion, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 orange, zested and juiced
100g walnuts, chopped
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cloves
2tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp dried red chilli flakes
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 ½ tbsp ginger, freshly grated
2 sprigs of rosemary
2tsp English mustard
375g fairtrade demerara sugar
500ml organic cider vinegar
1. Wash, zest and juice the orange, and place in a bowl with the cranberries and sultanas, and set aside to use later.
2. Start peeling, coring, and dicing the pears and the apple. Keep the scraps to make Pear Vodka – the recipe’s after this one.
3. Gently roast the walnuts on a low oven. Don’t forget about them, as burnt nuts are bitter, so set a timer and keep checking them. They’re ready when they start to smell all lovely and nutty.
4. Put vinegar, pears, apple, onion, green peppers, and rosemary into a pan, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Add the sugar, sultanas, cranberries and orange juice mixture, spices, and simmer for another 20 mins, until thickened (a jammy consistency). If it’s taking a while to thicken, spoon into a shallow pan, and that will speed things up.
6. Add the walnuts.
7. Remove the rosemary stalks. It is entirely up to you if you want to chop the rosemary before adding it, and leaving it in.
8. Add to sterilised jars (this can be done by boiling them in water, or immersing them in boiling water). Remove as many air bubbles as possible by poking the end of a sterile metal spoon, down the inside of the glass.
And, in the spirit of not wasting anything, I came up with this for the pear off-cuts...
Pear off-cuts (the peel, the tops and tails)
8 All-spice balls
4 cinnamon sticks
1 litre vodka
I've slightly winged it on this recipe, so taste-wise it’s up to you how much you prefer on the spices.
I found some old, clean jars, and put everything in, and made sure the vodka covered all of the other ingredients.
After a couple of weeks, or longer, strain the lot through some muslin (or, I used a piece of kitchen towel in the bottom of a sieve), and put into clean, sterile bottles.
I’ve been experimenting with it, and it is really, really good. It is fantastic with tonic and ice, or with Prosecco.
Et voila! A present for those you really