The hardest thing about this recipe is deciding what to call it. Is it pear sauce? Pear compote? Stewed pears? In a word, yes. No matter what you call it, it’s incredibly tasty. Subtle pear flavor is infused with a hint of fresh ginger, and real vanilla bean. I have nothing against everyday apple sauce, but it pales in comparison to homemade pear sauce. Celebrate the season with this distinctive, home-style recipe.
A note on the recipe: Pear and apple cores have natural pectin, so many cooks include them in their sauces and then put everything through a food mill. My daughter doesn’t like the papery seed casings that make their way into the sauce, so I tend to leave the cores out. Core-less sauce also makes it easy to puree in a blender and skip the food mill all together. I make mine without sweetener, but feel free to add some according to your family’s tastes.
Instead of canning my pear sauce, I freeze it. If you are planning to can the stuff, please refer to the Ball canning site for a canning-friendly recipe.
Homemade Pear Sauce
makes about 4 pints
approximately 20 Bartlett pears, cored and quartered
1″ section fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3″ section of vanilla bean, halved
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup honey (optional, omit if making for children under 1 year of age)
In a large, non-reactive sauce pan or dutch oven, heat the pears over medium heat. Add the lemon juice and ginger, scrape in the vanilla seeds, and toss in the pod. Cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. When the pears are quite soft, turn off the heat and remove the vanilla pod. Remove to a blender to puree, or use an immersion blender and puree just until the sauce is uniform, but still has a bit of texture.
Spoon the pear sauce into jars, being sure not to fill past the freeze line. Wipe the rims, screw on the lids, and allow sauce to cool. Then place in the freezer. Pear sauce will store for up to 6 months.