One of my favorite magazines is Hobby Farm Home. Maybe I ought to do a blog on the best gardening magazines. Anyway, Hobby Farm and Hobby Farm Home are the only two magazines I subscribe to. There are two other good ones, I'm considering since I almost always end up bringing each issue home. Anyway, in the November/December 2011 Hobby Farm Home, an article caught my eye. It is called "You're Cordially Invited" and it gives recipes for several fruit cordials.
Thanks to our new Governor, the 40 year law banning the sale of 190 proof grain alcohol in New York State has been lifted, and I no longer have to scrounge far and wide for Moonshine and grain alcohol. I can buy it at our local liquor store! So a new recipe piqued my interest. I made a copy of the Raspberry Cordial recipe for my step mother who was harvesting dozens of quarts of raspberries throughout the summer. The one that got me excited was Pear Cordial.
My mother has four pear trees, and for several years, they have produced bushels and bushels of pears. We have run out of pear ideas. Mom even went so far as to make pear pie, which, to quote my sister, "tastes like apple pie with something wrong with it.'
My favorite pear is the Bosc Pear which is a brown pear, with a rough, almost sand papery skin. It is tasty even when under-ripe. We eat a lot of them.
She also has a winter pear called Keiffer which takes a little more patience, but when you get it at the exact right ripeness, it is very good as well.
Making pear cordial is very easy. You will need 6 perfectly ripe pears, a gallon jar, some sugar, some high test alcohol, and some patience.
First you bring 3 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water to a boil, stir until dissolved, and let it cool to room temperature. Then you peel and slice 6 pears. Plop the pears in the jar, pour the syrup over them, add 1 tsp of lemon zest, and 2 cups of vodka. The article says if you are working with 190 proof grain alcohol, you should dilute it with an equal amount of water. Pffttt... as IF!
You put the jar in a cool dark place for 4 weeks, visiting it every couple of days to slosh it around. At the end of the four weeks, you strain out the pears through cheese cloth. It makes about 6 cups.
What you are left with is a deep chestnut liquid that looks remarkably like cider. The aroma is fruity. At first it was a little sharp, with the lemon zest taking over a bit. You are suppose to let it age 6 months, and in a week I already notice a difference as the flavors blend and mellow. I've been sampling it now and then by just dipping a spoon into it. It is very smooth, with a delicate pear flavor. Then you realise it packs a bit of a punch as it hits your palate. I think it will be good over ice. I wonder what it would be like served hot like Glögg?