Pear Bourbon Butter
What is Fruit Butter
Fruit butter is simply pureed fruit that is cooked down to a spreadable consistency. Unlike jams and jelly, it does not contain pectin or other thickeners and relies on a long cooking time for it’s thickness. You are probably most familiar with apple butter, which is delicious, but other fruits, and even vegetables, can be used as well. Pumpkin butter, anyone? I am looking forward to trying that next.
How to Make It
The steps to make a fruit or vegetable butter are quite simple:
- Cook the ingredient you wish to use until it is completely soft. Most recipes braise the ingredient with a flavorful liquid but I don’t see why you couldn’t just also steam or roast the ingredient as well and add a bit of liquid after it is pureed.
- Puree the ingredient and add any desired flavors. Usually, sugar, and acidic component like lemon juice, and spices are added at this point.
- Simmer the mixture over low heat, stirring often, until it reaches the desired consistency. You will know it is ready when you can drag a spoon across the bottom and it leaves a distinct trail.
How to Use It
There are so many ways to use this that extend well beyond just slathering it on toast, although that is a very valid way to get it in your belly.
- Use it as a base for a vinaigrette. I love sweetened vinaigrettes and think they are needed when you have a bunch of savory vegetables with no other sweet element.
- Swirl it into ice cream or yogurt.
- Try a new twist on PB&J using pear butter and almond butter.
- Integrate them into baked goods – cakes, cookies or muffins.
- Use it in a glaze for chicken or pork.
- Top any number of breakfast items – oatmeal, waffles or pancakes.
- Do a sweet and savory pressed sandwich with pear butter, blue cheese and shallots.
Pear Bourbon Butter
Combine pears, cider and bourbon in a large Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pears are very soft, about 20-25 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer pears to a food mill and process until dry skins are all that remain. Scrap the bottom of the food mill as a lot of the puree will stick. Discard skins and transfer puree back into the Dutch oven. Stir in sugars, lemon juice and salt. Simmer over low heat (otherwise, it will splatter!), stirring occasionally, until mixture is browned and thickened and rubber spatula or wooden spoon leaves distinct trail when dragged across bottom of pot, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer pear butter to a jar with tight-fitting lid and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Pear butter can be refrigerated for up to 1 month.
- I didn't get the pear variety from the farmer I purchased them from, but they looked like Bartletts.
- If you can't find 1816, use your favorite bourbon, preferably one with similar characteristics (check out the tasting notes here).
- This recipe is adapted from the Apple Butter recipe in America's Test Kitchen D.I.Y Cookbook.