Last week I found myself with a surfeit of pears. The one and only William pear from my own little tree, plus a whole basket of mixed pears from my friendly neighbours. I used the soft William pears in another Pear and Almond Cake but still had lots of conference pears left.
I knew that the likelihood of us managing to eat them within the narrow ‘window of ripeness’ was slim, so I searched the internet with what to do with them. I came across a recipe on London Eats blog for ‘Pear Jelly‘. I was intrigued by the lovely amber colour and the easy process.
I changed the recipe by adding a few cooking apples to the 2kg of fruit, I thought it would increase the pectin content. I also did not bother grating the pears, I just chopped them up, then once they started to cook I mashed them a bit, then at the end of the cooking process I whizzed them with a stick blender.
Here is the resulting pulp hanging in a jelly bag from an upturned occasional table.
The only problem I had was that my jelly would not get up to setting point. I used a jam thermometer and I could see that it was boiling at 100 degrees, not 105, and we guessed that this was because the pears were so juicy that they had a high water content. Next time I will reduce the pear juice down for longer before I add the sugar and possibly add some extra pectin.
Eventually after a good half hour of hard boiling, and the juice of an extra lemon, the syrup thickened and the cold saucer test showed that it had got to the setting point.
I don’t think my future lies in jam making, but I am really pleased with this jewel like jelly.
If you have lots of windfall pears and don’t know what to do with them this is an unusual but beautiful and tasty option and all it needs is a big bowl of pears, just over a bag of sugar and a lemon or two.
I think it will be lovely spooned over ice cream or on hot buttery toast.