What an amazing place the blogosphere is… Although I often am astounded by the kindness and generosity of my fellow bloggers, I feel that this sentiment isn’t shared nearly enough. Endlessly inspired by colorful prose and pictures in so many posts, there’s never any lack of creativity out there, and the enticing ideas that I’m itching to try myself just pile up as the numbers on my blog reader grow in synchronicity.
This time however, it was a timely comment that got me racing back into the kitchen, providing fuel for a round of recipe writing. Ricki, of Diet, Dogs, and Desserts and the brand new book Sweet Freedom, made the brilliant suggestion to turn some of my excess dried fruit into fruit butter. You could probably have heard me smack my forehead from miles away when I read that! Seemingly so obvious, and yet something that I would have never thought of, it was an absolutely perfect solution for dealing with that bulky bag of shriveled pears. Racing to turn on the stove and get this fruity spread going, the hardest part of the whole process is probably just waiting for the contents of the pot to cook!
Warming spices just didn’t seem appropriate for the season, so I kept the flavors bright and simple with just a touch of lemon juice, plus one dry, wrinkled vanilla bean that was nearing the end of its usefulness as well. Instead of struggling to scrape out any remaining seeds from this seriously leathery pod, I simply popped the whole thing into the pot, let it rehydrate, and blended it all up thoroughly in the VitaMix. This recipe would be so easy to dress up with any number of different spices or flavorful juices though, the variations and possibilities are nearly endless. Have fun, play around with it, make it yours- I can see plenty of gifting opportunities with this sweet spread in the coming months, too!
12 Ounces Dried Pear Halves (About 3 Cups)
2 Cups Unsweetened Apple Juice
1 Vanilla Bean
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/3 Cup Maple Syrup
Combine all of the above ingredients in a large pot, and bring it to a simmer. Cook gently for about 15 minutes, until all of the dried pears are soft and rehydrated, stirring the mixture occasionally. Let cool for a few minutes, and then transfer everything into your food processor or blender, and thoroughly puree. The mixture will be extremely thick, so make sure that you scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice to get things entirely smooth. Spoon the pear butter into clean jars, and seal tightly. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, where it will continue to thicken slightly as it cools.