Preserving Mulled Pears, in a warming spiced-syrup, dates back to the Middle Ages, when during the winter months fresh fruit was not available. They made a wonderful treat, serve them with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream, with a little of the mulled syrup spooned over.
Preserved Mulled Pears Recipe
Makes about 1.3 Kg or mulled pears to pot. You need large, tall preserving pots, or jars, with wide necks, which can seal well. The whole of the pears need to be covered completely by the mulled wine.
- 1 .8kg small firm pears
- 1 orange (zest only)
- 1 lemon (zest only)
- 2 cinnamon sticks (halved)
- 12 whole cloves
- 5cm fresh root ginger (peeled and sliced fine)
- 300g granulated sugar
- 750ml light red wine (bottle of Merlot)
Peel the pears, leaving the stalks in the top intact. Peel very thin, curly strips of rind from the orange and lemon, use a citrus zester. Pack the pears and citrus rind into the large sterilized preserving jars, dividing the spices evenly between the jars.
Preheat the oven to 120°C
Put the sugar and wine in a large pan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil, then cook for 5 minutes.
Pour the wine syrup over the pears, making sure that there are no air pockets and that the fruits are completely covered with the syrup. Cover the jars with their lids, but do not seal. Place them in the oven and cook for 3 hours.
Carefully remove the jars from the oven, place on a dry dishtowel and seal. Leave the jars to cool completely, then label and store in a cool, dark place.
To check that jars are propey sealed, leave them to cool for 24 hours, then loosen the clasp. Very carefully, try lifting the jar by the lid alone: if the jar is sealed properly, the lid should be fixed firmly enough to take the weight of the pot. Replace the clasp and store until ready to use. Consume within a few months.