Clean the pears thoroughly in water. The pears should be ripe enough to have at least a little juice. Very ripe pears work just fine. Slice and quarter them, removing the seeds and core and put them in a large saucepan; peeling the pears is optional.
Turn the heat to low and let the pears simmer until they are very tender and falling apart. You may add water if you think it too dry, but they tend to make a lot of juice. Turn off heat and let cool slightly. If there is a great deal of liquid at this point, I pour some off so that the reduction time is not so great. Then purée with a stick blender.
Cardamon Pear Butter:
Mix 3 1⁄2 cups of purée, diced ginger and other spices and zest. Let simmer, watching to make sure that the mixture does not stick, and stirring frequently.
When the purée is as thick as you would like, take off the heat. Let cool before serving as a topping for cheddar cheese and crackers.
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