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Caramel Pear Preserves


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  • 2-3/4 # firm, ripe pears
  • 2-3/4 c sugar and 1-1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp quatre epices*
  • 7 oz orange juice
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 packet liquid pectin or 6 oz homemade apple pectin
  • Quatre Epices is used in all sorts of French sausages and terrines. The little bite of white pepper blended with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. It’s a nice blend to have in the cupboard – lovely with pears, nice with winter squashes. Give it a try.


Adapted from


Step 1

Wash, peel, core and cut the pears in a fine julienne
Mix the pears with the 2-3/4c sugar, spices and the juices
Allow this mixture to macerate while you make the caramel.
In a preserving pan or 5 qt heavy stockpot, over low heat, slowly dry melt the 1-1/2 c sugar. Allow it to turn color from golden to a deeper amber color. It will smell like caramel (not like burned sugar.) Don’t rush this process. Take it slowly. You shouldn’t need to stir it much, if at all.
OK, here’s the really scary part. The part that will make you think you’ve wrecked it all.
Pour in the pears and all the liquid. The caramel will break. It will make you cry a little.
Don’t worry. Just heat the whole mixture up slowly. You’re going to bring it up to 221° which will take awhile. And stir it – a lot – trying to get those pieces of caramel off the bottom of the pot and incorporated into the preserves. It’s a hellish moment. Just know that I had it, too.
By the time the preserves is at 221°, the caramel will be incorporated and it will be heavenly.
You’ll smell those spices. You’ll be happy again.
Add the pectin and bring it back up to a full boil you can’t stir down and let it boil, stirring all the while, for a full minute.
Ladle into jars, wipe the rims well, place lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

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