Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pear Liberation

So like my previous post not only have I been surrounded by squash lately but I have also been surrounded by pears.  Now I didn't have nightmares about pears, but I have to say that I may be peared out...well at least for a little while anyway. 
In fact, quite possibly actually, if I see another bruised unhappy looking pear in my lunch I think I will throw it at someone, and believe me, I have a list of candidates.  So to avoid pear violence I had to find a way to use lots of pears and quickly...and pear butter came to mind.  Having said that, it turns out that lots of pears turn into lots of pear butter....so now instead of being surrounded by pears I am surrounded by pear butter.  In fact the giant bowl of it would just stare at me every time I opened my refrigerator because, well, I was too damn lazy to properly jar it.  Now I am in complete desperation to liberate myself from pear purgatory.  The first step in my liberation was to freeze a large quantity of this stuff, with the hopes that I would forget about it....but it was too yummy, so I had to salvage a small amount, to give me my last dose of pear butter for....at least a week or so anyway (and to provide my husband another companion for his peanut butter).  Needless to say, the purpose of this post is not only to give you a recipe for yummy pear butter but also to give you a yummy recipe that utilizes this little treat.  Isn't liberation is great!  Especially when it comes in the form of butter.

Pear Butter

4-6lbs of very ripe Bartlett pears
peeled, cored, and sliced
1/3 cup water
1 vanilla bean split and the seeds scraped
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

In a medium sauce add the pears, water and vanilla bean with the scraped seeds.  Cover and cook over medium heat until the pears are very soft, about 45 minutes. 

Once the pears are soft remove the vanilla bean and pour the pears into a food processor and process until smooth.  Return the pear puree to the pan and add the sugar, spices, and vanilla extract.  Cook the puree, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until the puree is reduced and very thick, about another 30 minutes. 
Note: The great thing about pear butter is that you can vary the spices quite a bit.  Star anise is very good, so is a little orange zest.  I am not a fan of nutmeg, but for those of you out there who love it, it would be good as well. 

Brie And Pear Butter Panini With
Arugula and Caramelized Onions

2 slices ciabatta bread
2 tablespoons pear butter
1 tablespoon butter
pinch of salt
1/2 yellow onion sliced
2-3 slices of brie (about 2oz)
3-4 arugula leaves
olive oil or extra butter for toasting the bread

Melt the butter in a small fry pan over medium heat.  Add the sliced onion and the pinch of salt.  Cook the onions until they are nicely caramelized, about 10 minutes.  While the onions are cooking preheat your panini pan over medium heat and assemble the rest of the sandwich. 

To assemble the sandwich, spread 1 tablespoon of the pear butter on each slice of bread.  On one slice place the Arugula over the butter and on the other slice place the brie over the butter.  Add the onions to one slice of the bread, put the two slices together and spread both sides of the sandwich with either olive oil or butter.  Place the sandwich in the panini pan and toast until the cheese is melted and the Arugula is wilted, about 4 minutes on each side.


  1. Julie, the one you work withNovember 17, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Looks super yummy! I have a question for you, oh great blogger, where do you get your whole vanilla beans? Thanks, in advance!

  2. Hey there Julie,
    You can usually get vanilla beans at any grocery store. They are usually kinda hidden by the spices. I know that Whole Foods always has them, and William Sonoma carries them as well in the store. Hope that helps. Thanks so much for reading! I need all the viewers I can get!