Our first-ever BGSK gift guide highlights eight days of presents we know you want to give and receive. To cut through the cluttered shelves of kitchen-oriented goodies, we’re spending eight days showing you the best of the best of the kitchen goodies to wrap up for or unwrap on Hanukkah and Christmas.
Today is Day #8—Gifts in a Jar: Poached Pears.
In our world, the edible gift is an obvious choice in the roster of kitchen-y gifts. But you can’t gift the mundane; no soups, stews, or salads here. You can give a jar of hot fudge, fry up an exquisite breakfast, or offer up an entire dinner feast. The common thread between these and other great gifts is the care that goes in. Thought counts here.
Poached pears look rustic and gorgeous in the hipster’s favorite presentation: the mason jar. Reminiscent of the good old canned pear of our youths, these halved fruits are flavored with hints of lemon and orange, and each jar is garnished with a cinnamon stick, which also imparts its flavor.
And poached pears are a joy to use up, provided the recipient likes fruit. Spoon them over vanilla ice cream, or bake them into this delightful cake. Best of all, use the syrup in champagne (or other!) cocktails for a delicate pear touch.
Plus, isn’t there something in that Christmas song about a partridge in a pear tree?
From our kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Cara & Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOKS
Poached Pears with Orange Zest and Cinnamon
Makes about 5 pints
I am not going to endeavor to teach you about canning. It’s not hard, it’s just that you have to be precise–about acidity and about sterilization. If you’re interested in preserving these, check out the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 cup water
6 pounds Bartlett pears, peeled, halved, cored, and tossed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
In a stockpot, combine the sugar, honey, and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and the honey. When the water boils, add the pear halves and the orange zest. Cook just until the pears are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice.
Place 1 cinnamon stick half in each jar. Scoop the pears into all five jars, then use a ladle to pour all the syrup over the pears. Screw on the lids and let the jars come to room temperature (or process them in a hot water bath). If you haven’t processed them, transfer to the fridge.
To gift, cut out a circle of pretty fabric. Secure it around the lid with a piece of ribbon. Add a little card that lists the ingredients and instructs the recipient to keep refrigerated.