Photo by Fiona Andersen
My mother reminded me that my grandmother used to make pear and ginger jam with pears dropped to her door by a friend who obviously had a prolific tree. Pears are at their best for a very short time, so pear jam makes for an interesting change from berry jams.
Instead of the more usual ginger, I have made the jam with vanilla and a hint of orange.
You may feel using the orange powder is a little frivolous, but it can be made ahead, at time when you have the oven on for something else. Store it in an airtight container and sprinkle over icing, add to desserts or use in baking. You can leave out the orange and add 1 tsp vanilla extract instead.
Makes 2-3 small jars.
- Pare the rind from 1 orange and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Place in a low oven to dry for about 1 hour. The peel should be completely dry and the colour intensified, but not brown.
- Leave to cool, then pound to a powder, using the end of your rolling pin. Store in an airtight container.
- Cut the pears into quarters and place in a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan.
- Cook in 1cm of water over a low heat for 15 minutes until soft.
- Puree the pears using a hand mouli or use a wooden spoon to push them through a non-metallic sieve.
- Weigh the pear puree and add 150g sugar for each 500g of puree.
- Add the orange powder and vanilla bean and cook the mixture over a low heat, stirring at regular intervals, until it thickens, about 45 minutes. Stir constantly in the final 10 minutes of cooking.