I like pears…a lot! Sweet crunchy or not but always very juicy. I saw this recipe and thought of how pears in period were not always tasty (being rather small and hard even when ripe) and that this was a great way to make a rather hard to eat fruit into a really tasty treat!
I believe that the translation is as follows. The recipe is unclear as to whether this is the authors transcriptions or the original recipe.
Peel, quarter, and core the pears, then put them in a large pot of boiling water; take them out when they have become soft to the touch. Drain them well and put them in a glass jar. Boil the vinegar with cinnamon, cloves and sugar, then pour the boiling liquid over the pears and let them macerate for 24 hours (let cool before sealing the jar).
Decant the liquid, bring it to a boil, and pour it over the fruit once again. Repeat this step a third time 24 hours later.
Zaouali, pp. 177
Firm pears (# depends on the size of the glass jar(s) being used)
1 cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
6 cinnamon sticks OR ¼ tsp cinnamon
12 cloves OR ¼ tsp clove powder
8 cardamom pods or 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
First I assembled the spices, vinegar, sugar and pears. Now the number of pears here are based on the size of the jar…not the jar based on the number of pears. As you can see…I had a rather large jar on hand though several smaller jars would have worked just as well.
I took the pears and peeled them, then quartered and cored the pears. Once the pears were ready for cooking, they were put in a pot of water though I would also suggest a good honey wine for that extra sweet kick if desired.
The pears are cooked till soft. Once they are soft to the touch, the water (or wine) is drained and the cooked pears are placed into a jar or jars.
Now while the pears are cooking, take another pot and place in the vinegar and sugar. Stir till the desired balance of sweet and sour has been achieved. I do recommend a good apple vinegar or a good wine vinegar, a regular vinegar is VERY VERY tart. Oh the tartness you can taste! Add the spices to the boiling mixture.
The cloves are not whole, but in ground form at that was what I had on hand. The cardamom was an addition of mine though I think the taste would have been better if ground and not just in pod form. The recipe did not clarify on whether the spices were removed prior to pouring over the pears or allowed to steep with the candied pears. I chose to remove the spices as cinnamon in stick form can some times over flavor the dish.
Once the mixture has boiled together and achieved the desired sweet/tart/spicedness, take the mixture and pour over the pears.
Before sealing make sure the pears are completely covered so as to prevent bacteria from getting in and ruining the entire jar. The recipe suggests waiting till cooled before sealing as well as multiple boils. I bypassed the multiple boils as I don’t believe this would have been done, though I could be wrong!
I would suggest the pears with heavy cream and honey after an excellent meal!