Saturday, 28 July 2012

Gingering Things Up

July has not proved to be any less stressful and busy than June - and the start of August isn't going to be any improvement either.

Years and years ago I bought the best digital cooking thermometer with a probe that I've ever had. Well - maybe the second best! After my mother died I gave it to my dad, to make sure he was heating things through properly. And then started the quest for another good one. I couldn't get the same make and model again, and I don't think it's overstating things to say I tried at least 5 more before finding one that was reliable and robust. I'd still love a Thermapen, but I like having a probe.
The thermometer I ended up with was a French make (I saw some lovely products from the same company (Mastrad) in the kitchenware department of BHV in Paris). And it came with correspondingly upmarket recipes in the instruction leaflet; two for foie gras, and one for

Pear Preserves with Ginger.
I'd always wanted to try the last, and one day a couple of weeks ago was the day.

1 kg reasonably firm pears
700g sugar
50g fresh root ginger.

Wash, peel and remove the pips from the pears. Then cut them into pieces, place in a thick-bottomed pan and cover with the sugar.
(The recipe was very unspecific about size. I'd cut them into quarters to take the pips out and then cut each quarter into two or three; next time I think I'd just cut each quarter in half horizontally).
(I also had a few pieces turn brown as the sugar didn't quite cover them, and I think I'll try dropping them into acidulated water while I prepare them next time).
Peel the ginger, cut into small pieces and add to the pan.
Cook over a low heat till the temperature reaches 104 C, 219F.
Place in sterilised preserving jars.
The pears are strongly infused with flavour from the ginger, and along with plenty of the syrup (which is just sugar and some juice from the pears, I expect, they make a lovely accompaniment to a good vanilla icecream.
In fact, I'm just going to go and have some now.
I think they would make quite a nice Christmas gift too, especially if I could find more jars like this, which was the last one in the shop.


  1. I've seen those jars somewhere - a certain food supermarket I think? Want me to check my local one and get you some?

  2. You have my mouth watering - sounds delicious!!!