What do you do when life gives you a bag of pears? You make Pear Chutney of course! I made Autumnal Pear Chutney seven years ago which had tomatoes and herbs in it, but I wanted to come up with a slightly different recipe for my latest batch, and opted for a more Christmassy riff that includes dried cranberries, more spices and the delicious crunch of toasted walnuts.
Edible Christmas Gifts
It’s never too soon to be thinking about getting ahead with your edible Christmas Gifts… and I reckon this chutney is the perfect place to start as it takes six weeks to mature.
You can easily get hold of super pretty jars these days, which I think make your gifts look more classy. If you wanted the same look as mine, I used the Kilner Vintage Jar range in the 0.25l size.
You could try packaging a jar of Pear Chutney up with a wedge of Blue Cheese and some posh crackers in a little basket. Can’t believe I’m already dreaming about Christmas – what a nutter!
Stress Relieving Chutney
Making chutney is so therapeutic. You’ve got the soothing task of peeling and chopping, followed by the comforting process of slowly simmering the fruit which fills the kitchen with the most wonderful scents.
It had been an extremely stressful morning trying to coax Arlo into Day Two of Middle School, so this was the absolute perfect antidote. Cooking always has been and always will be a huge comfort. You can just focus on the task at hand, blast out some chilled tunes and create something delicious. I can tell you I felt a whole lot better afterwards!
I haven’t made any preserves for ages, so chutney is the perfect way back in because there’s no stress around setting points and it’s a lot less messy. Don’t get me wrong, I adore making jam, but this really did fit the mood.
Serving up your Chutney
To photograph this beauty of a preserve, I nipped into Boda Home for some posh crackers and cheese to set the scene. It’s a fabulous gourmet deli, boozery (well it sells organic wines, beers and gin) and homewares shop here in Whitley Bay that you can spend far too long mooching around, but in the end I opted for a box of Miller’s Toast in Cranberry & Raisin and a wedge of delicious Smoked Blue Stilton from the Northumbrian Smokehouse.
I smothered the little toasts with a dollop of Pear Chutney and topped with some crumbled blue cheese – simple but completely delicious. A few of these loaded toasts would go down a treat on the side of a steaming bowl of Leek & Potato soup. I’m feeling proper autumnal just thinking about it.
A gloriously chunky pear chutney full of spice and delicious toasted walnuts - easy to make and perfect for edible gifts
- 5 pears
- 1 large cooking apple
- 1 medium white onion
- 350 ml cider vinegar
- 75 g dried cranberries
- 75 g sultanas
- 1 large orange
- 250 g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground all spice
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 100 g walnut pieces
Peel, core and chop the pears and apple into 2cm dice squares and peel and chop the onion.
Place in a large saucepan with the cider vinegar, give it a good stir and then simmer for about 40 minutes until softened. Keep an eye on it, giving it the occasional stir as you don't want it to catch.
Meanwhile pop the dried cranberries and sultanas into a small bowl, then zest the orange on top, then cut in half and squeeze the juice in too. Stir and allow to sit while the other fruit is cooking.
Once the pear and apple has cooked, add the soaked dried fruit along with the juice, sugar and spices to the pan, give it a good stir and continue to simmer gently on the lowest possible heat for another 40 minutes - again with the occasional stir and taking care it doesn't burn. Remove from heat.
Toast the walnut pieces in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes, then stir into the chutney.
Spoon the chutney into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately. Label and then store for six weeks before using to allow the flavours to mature.
To sterilise jars you can either run them through the dishwasher, or just wash them up in hot soapy water, giving them a good rinse. You can then air dry them in a warm oven.
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