Now I don't like Brandy, I don't like any 'shorts', I've been known to swish Whiskey around my mouth if I have had toothache and no tablets available but that's about the extent of it. If you ask after a meal if I would like an 'Irish Coffee' I would recoil in horror, contaminate perfectly good coffee with alcohol ..... no thank you!
But I do like Pears in Brandy!!
The alcohol preserves the pears so well and gradually seeps into the fruit in a most warming and mellow way. The longer you leave them the nicer they get, we are still eating out of a jar from 2010 that Mum made for us, and believe me you only need a couple of slices with a dollop of cream or ice cream to feel like you have really had a tasty luxurious dessert.
And it's so simple ....
..... peel your pears into a bowl of salted water (this keeps them white much better than lemon and doesn't make them taste even slightly salty don't worry) ...
... drain and then top and tail them cut them into quarters and remove the core and then slice in half again ...
... simmer gently in some mild sugar syrup (just a couple of tablespoons of sugar and water) until just a little bit firmer than you would like to eat them, mine were ready in four minutes, ...
... and then using a slotted spoon place into your sterilised jars.
I made these in two halves as I used my smaller pan, while I made the second batch the first lot of poached pears slid down inside the jars and found their own level so I topped two of the jars from the third.
Once you have packed your jars with as many pears as possible top up with Brandy. The more pears you get in the less Brandy you will need. Make sure your lids are on tightly and then turn the jars upside down once or twice so that the Brandy mixes evenly with any of the sugar syrup that was clinging to the pears.
I got six jars from my 35cl size bottle of Brandy which cost me £5.50 last year, so each jar has cost me around a pound to produce including the cost of the sugar, the pears were free off my Mum's tree - thank you Mum. As each jar does at least four desserts (2 people x 2 Desserts) with either cream or icecream and occasionally some meringue as well, it means we are having a luxurious tasty pudding for around 50p including the extras.
Wow .... real luxury on a budget, I just surprised myself with that one.
I've just checked prices and the cheapest you can get Brandy at the moment is around £1.50 per 100ml but that is in a larger 70cl bottle (Sainsbury's Basics) which would of course make you 12 jars at even less than a pound a jar or you could use half for bottled pears and half to drink.
Now .... lurking at the back of the cupboard was this. Lovely Hubby always seems to be given Whiskey as presents or as a 'thank you' for doing a job or favour, it must be this Scottish accent, but he hates the stuff and is a Port man through and through. So they get pushed to the back of the cupboard or re-gifted ... our milkman was VERY lucky last year with a bottle of the very finest vintage as his tip!!
As this one is open I can't really get away with doing that ..... can I? NOOOOOO that would be soooo wrong ...Lol !!
So I'm thinking Pears in Whiskey ..... I may just give it a go and see, but just a couple of jars to be going on with. I could of course always give one away as a gift if we're not keen on the flavour ourselves.
Oh and a little mention for Kev - none of these is suitable for baby :-)
Simple September - Top Tips #17
Take things you don't like and try making them into things you do. If you really don't like the finished products (but it is completely edible, drinkable and safe) then give them as gifts.
My jars of Pears in Brandy (or Whiskey) would look lovely for Christmas gifts with a sprig of holly and a label tied onto the jar saying what it is and giving some dessert ideas.