Luckily I live in an area that grows lots and lots of apple varieties. I don’t have any apple trees myself, but always have a plethora of options at the Farmer’s Market. And if I am willing to purchase apples with scars and a few bruises I can get them for around fifty cents per pound.
It’s hard to turn down this great offer, so I often go home with 25 pounds of apples. Then reality sets in: “I have to process all these apples!”
Over the years, I have dried apples, made applesauce, cooked with apples – a lot – and even canned the occasional jar of apple-plum jelly. But this year I solved the too many apples problem once and for all. I made Boiled Apple-Pear Syrup.
As a cookbook author, I spend a fair amount of time researching new ingredients. One ingredient that keeps popping up lately is boiled apple cider. Boiled apple cider is exactly what it sounds like: apple cider boiled down to a syrup-like consistency. It is an old-fashioned sweetener much like molasses or honey that is experiencing a revived popularity.
Boiled apple-pear syrup is similar, but not quite the same. When making boiled apple-pear syrup the fruit is cooked first, then pressed, then the juice is boiled down to a syrup. Unlike homemade apricot syrup or rose syrup, no sugar is added to boiled apple-pear syrup. All of the sweetness comes from the fruits’ natural sugars.
According to Linda Ziedrich, whose recipe for Sirop de Liege inspired this version, the apple-pear syrup is a traditional preserve in Belgium. There it is, served over soft cheese and bread. You can find Ms. Ziedrich’s original recipe in her very excellent The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and other Sweet Preserves.
Have you ever had apple cider directly from the cider press? Cider that hasn’t been pasteurized or filtered?
Boiled apple-pear syrup tastes like the best cider you ever had only sweeter. But it doesn’t have the cloying sweetness of sugar-added syrups, plus the pears give the syrup an earthy flavor base. I could eat it by the spoonful except that it is too precious! Even if you do buy apples 25 pounds at a time.
Boiled Apple-Pear Syrup can be used anywhere you would use molasses, honey, or boiled apple cider.
• Glaze for donuts or baked ham
• Added to homemade applesauce or apple pie
• Substituted for molasses in fruitcake
• Added to sugar cookies
• Served over pancakes or pork chops
• Drizzled over Apple-Pear Crisp
• 4 lbs. apples, any variety or a combination
• 4 lbs. pears, any variety or a combination
1. Wash but do not peel or core the fruit. Cut it into quarters.
2. Place all the fruit in a large slow cooker. Cook on low overnight or at least 10 hours.
3. Drain and press the fruit. I did this in batches using a cheesecloth lined colander over a large bowl.
4. Pour the juice into a medium sized saucepan. Boil gently, stirring occasionally until syrup is dark and thick, 20 to 40 minutes.
5. Pour syrup into a clean jar. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
Syrup should keep for up to 3 months, if you can refrain from using it all before then!
Yield about 1 pint
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