Saturday, August 10, 2019

Chai Asian Pears

Asian Pears in Chai Syrup. Perfect for parfaits, porridge or spooning over ice cream for a spicy, warming treat.

I'm going to let you in on a secret - I hate Chai tea. I know, in the day of suave millennials enjoying spicy black tea in various forms, I just can't stand it! However, I am in the minority, and with a gaggle of coworkers who regularly drink Chai in the winter months I knew I had to make something for their Christmas baskets that they would appreciate.

Last year when I made these the first time, I had come into a glut of almost-overripe Asian pears thanks to a super-sale at the local Asian market. I had made carrot cake with some of them (using shredded pear in place of the pineapple) but was interested in seeing if they could be preserved too. I came across a recipe that looked promising by Jo Ebisujima and figured I'd give it a shot, swapping out the water for a strong mug of Chai. It worked, sort of - the flavour was good (the pears did something to mellow the Chai-ness) but the pears don't break down like "normal" pears and thus didn't create a jammy consistency. However, the syrup and infused, tender fruit was too good to pass up, so a quick re-branding later and I had four jars of a perfect fruit topping. My coworkers told me that it was fantastic on everything from ice cream to oatmeal, and one of them even ate it with a spoon straight up!

If you're looking for a unique preserve to add to your pantry, give these syrupy Asian pears a try. Versatile and darn delicious, it's hard to go wrong!

Asian Pears in Chai Syrup
Makes ~4 cups
1 kg peeled and roughly chopped firm Asian pears (I used the pale skinned ones)
zest and juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup juice)
300 mL strong-brewed Chai tea
500 g sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
  1. Combine the pears, lemon juice and zest, and tea in a pot and bring to a simmer. 
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes until the pears are beginning to soften and the liquid is reduced.
  3. Add the sugar and spices and continue to simmer, stirring often, for 20 minutes. 
  4. Can 15 minutes in a waterbath.

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