Despite the fact that I’ve now made this jam twice in as many weeks, I don’t have any pretty progress shots of it. I made it once with a class and another time for a video shoot, so there just weren’t any moments to snap a few images. However, it tastes so good that I didn’t want to deprive you all of the opportunity to make it just because I wasn’t able to make time for photography.
This is truly a transformative jam for vanilla lovers. Flavor-wise, pears are fairly retiring, so they provide a perfect platform for the vanilla to shine. What’s more, when cooked, the pears take on a translucent, golden-y hue that allows all those vanilla bean flecks to show their stuff.
Last Saturday night, we had a party to celebrate my husband’s 34th birthday. As in traditional in our little family of two, we put together a board of eight cheeses for our guests. I pulled out a couple of jars of jam to serve as accompaniment, but it was this one that got all the love.
Paired with a runny triple creme, people were speechless with the goodness of it. Because I’m a girl who loves to share, I gave all the other jars away as late night party favors and now I’m totally out (I finished off the jar you see above yesterday). I may have to make another batch, so you may see those pictures yet.
Note: Often I’ll tell you that you can substitute vanilla extract for the more pricey beans. However, I do not recommend it in this recipe. If you can’t splurge on vanilla beans (they are really expensive these days), consider getting a small bottle of vanilla bean paste instead. I use 1 teaspoon for every bean a recipe calls for.
Pear Vanilla Jam
- 8 cups chopped Bartlett pears or any smooth, thin-skinned pear. There’s no need to peel.
- 2 vanilla beans split and scraped
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 packet liquid pectin
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 6 half pint jars. Wash 6 lids in warm, soapy water and set aside.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine chopped pears, sugar and vanilla beans (and all that bean-y goodness you scraped out). Cook over medium heat until the fruit can easily be smashed with the back of a wooden spoon. Use a potato masher or immersion blender to break the fruit down into a mostly-smooth sauce (remove the vanilla bean solids before blending).
- Add the pectin and bring to a rolling boil. Let boil for a full five minutes in order to active the pectin, so that the finished product will have a nice jammy consistency.
- Funnel finished jam in the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath canning for 10 minutes (if you live above 1,000 feet in elevation, adjust your processing time accordingly).
- When the processing time is finished, turn off the heat under the pot and remove the lid. Let the jars rest in the cooling water for 5 minutes. When that time is up, remove the jars from pot and place them on a wooden board or towel-lined countertop.
- Let the jars rest undisturbed for at least 12 hours and then check the seals. Sealed jars are shelf stable for up to 18 months. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.