I’ve written three different introductions to this recipe now, trying to think of a witty way of saying that this is an adaptation of a recipe from Paula Deen. I can’t think of anything. Really, I’m embarrassed to say that I like one of her recipes. I want to be cool like Anthony Bourdain and just sit around smoking cigarettes,* eating pork and drinking cocktails, but that’s not happening today. I should thank one of my old friends for turning me on to this preserve. She’s an amazingly sweet southern girl that should have her own cooking show, and when she gave me a jar of pear honey as a gift a few years ago, it pretty much blew my mind. It was one of the most delicious canned goods I’ve ever tried. I distinctly remember my friend looking me in the eyes and saying “Don’t tell anyone the recipe!” and I realize that what I’m doing right now is literally the exact opposite of that. I’m kind of a big mouth when it comes to recipes.
Now, I’m never one to stick to an ingredient list, and I had some quince that were sitting around looking all pretty, so instead of pear honey, I made pome honey. It’s a delightfully rosy mixture of bosc pears and quince that tastes sweet and juicy out of the jar. The term “honey” is a reference to the bright flavor and has nothing to do with the ingredients list. (The original, pear-only recipe tastes a bit more like honey than my version).
I have to fess up, though. There’s also a secret ingredient:Canned Crushed Pineapple. Classy, I know. The thing is, this recipe is so delicious that I always break my rules about local, seasonal fruit and make a big batch once a year. The canned pineapple actually kind of hides in the background and is hard to recognize behind the pears. I could definitely make this preserve a little bit less questionable and just use fresh pineapple instead of canned, but they don’t have fresh local pineapples where I live, so my rules are already broken (…although, if you live somewhere where there are fresh local pineapples, I would definitely pick those over the canned stuff.)Pome Honey
Cooking Time: about 1 1/2 hrs.
Makes: 12-16 half pint jars
- 8 c. peeled, cored, chopped pears
- 8 c. grated fresh quince (I leave the skins on, but make sure not to use the core or the stem)
- 1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in pineapple juice (make sure to check that it is not canned in high fructose corn syrup. That’s slumming it a little bit too much.)
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- 10 c. sugar
Bring boiling water canner to a boil. Wash jars and lids in hot soapy water. Sterilize jars and lids using whatever method you prefer (I put my jars on a cookie sheet in the oven, 20 minutes at 200 degrees.)
Combine all of the ingredients in a large, nonreactive pot. Cook on medium heat until everything has thickened, stirring occasionally to prevent the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pan. At this point, you can either purée the fruit or leave it chunky. I like to give it a quick spin through the blender so that there are no recognizable chunks of pineapple (shh! it’s a secret!)
Pour the hot pomes honey into hot jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe the rims clean. Screw on lids and rings and process in the boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
The finished product is perfect mixed with yogurt, on croissants, over ice cream, and especially over this chevre cheesecake.
Oh, and if you wanted to really go nuts, I’m pretty sure that if you added about 1/2 c. of cherry jam in with all the fruit while it cooks that it would taste exactly like canned fruit cocktail, but without all the high fructose corn syrup, red #5, soggy grapes, etc. I haven’t tried it yet, but I might experiment with it on the next batch.
*not that smoking cigarettes is cool.