I’ve been meaning to post this for a while now, and consequently, since making it I have had the opportunity to try this with almost everything I can think of. It never fails to make whatever it is I am eating exponentially better. I saw the recipe for this over at Food in Jars months ago, and was immediately intrigued. I’m not usually a huge jam person, but occasionally something catches my eye, and this looked like exactly what I needed to serve with a cheese board (which is something that is put out at every function -bookclub, playdates, Christmas, any time a wine is opened -at my house). This didn’t disappoint. It pairs perfectly with a creamy brie or camembert, but is also an excellent foil to a sharp old cheddar or gruyere. In addition to serving this with cheese, I have found that it is excellent with yogurt or ice cream, fantastic on a pancake or waffle, and can make a boring old turkey sandwich sing. This was fairly simple, whether or not you have made jam before, and definitely worth the effort. If you haven’t done any canning previously, check out Food in Jars, she has some fantastic how-to’s posted that will make you much more comfortable with the process and jam is an easy place to start.
8 cups chopped, ripe, thin skinned (like Bartlett) pears, don’t worry about peeling
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped (this is a necessary splurge, you will not get the right flavour with an extract, just trust me)
4 cups sugar
1 package (85 mL) liquid pectin
1. In a large, heavy bottomed pan, combine everything (including the scraping from the beans) but the pectin. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the fruit can be mashed easily with the back of a spoon.
2. Remove the vanilla bean solids and either mash or use an immersion blender to smooth everything out a bit. I like mine to have the occasional chunk of pear so I used a masher, but adjust it to fit your tastes.
3. Add in the pectin and bring to a full, rolling boil. Let boil for a good five minutes to activate the pectin.
4. To can, start with clean, sterilized jars and lids; this will make about 7 half pint jars. Place the lids and rims in a bowl and cover with boiling water. This will soften the rubber on the lid to help ensure a good seal. Fill a jar to about 1/4″ from the top, then wipe the rim clean so a seal can form. Place a lid on top and then screw on the rim. Repeat with remaining jars and jam. If you end up with a not full jar of jam, just put it in the fridge and count that as the first one you are going to eat.
6. Remove jars from bath and let cool on counter top for at least two hours. All jars should have a good seal at this point, which you can test by pressing in the centre of the lid – there should not be any give. If something did not seal, store in the fridge and consume within a month.
7. Taste test as soon as possible, preferably with some good brie or, if you can find it, St Andre triple cream cheese which is amazing. Have it on a nice fresh baguette slice or a homemade raincoast crisp.