Pear sweets! I was given two large bags full of pears. I thanked my neighbour very much, really not knowing what I would do with them all. With some I made pear and apple juice which is in milk cartons in the freezer so that it lasts, and with the others I made these. And how delicious they are. If you are like me, and you need just a little something after dinner and that little something may turn into a regretful helping, these are the answer. They are so sweet that one is enough!
In the words of Granny Dot:
‘To Candy Greengages, Apricots, Plums, Cherries, and Pears.
1lb of loaf sugar; 1/2 pint cold water; 1 lb. of fruit.
…Lay them (the fruit) in the prepared syrup, bring to the boil, and simmer gently until the fruit becomes clear. Skim well. Lift out the fruits one by one with a skimmer or fish slice; lay on the flat dishes in a dry place. Cover for 24 hours. Boil the syrup to to the pearl degree. Lay the fruit in, and simmer gently until tender. Put on a flat dish again, cover, and leave another 24 hours. reheat the syrup, put in the fruit again, and boil for a few minutes. Take out witih the skimmer, and have ready some castor sugar; sift it over the fruit on both sides until quite white; then lay on wire trays in a moderate oven until dry. Turn occasionally.’
(The Daily Mail Fruit and Vegetable Book, 1920 Mrs C.S. Peel)
1lb/453g of granulated sugar
1/2 pint/284mls cold water
juice of half a lemon
fruit, peeled, cored and halved
1. Put the sugar and water in a large heavy based pan over a low heat. When it has melted, add the lemon juice, and bring the temperature up to the boil and take it to 230 degrees F/110 degrees C.
2. Add the fruit and let it simmer until it becomes clear.
3. Skim any skum that rises to the surface off.
4. Carefully lift the fruits out with a straining spoon and lay them on baking paper on a baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel or more baking paper, for 24 hours.
5. Set aside the pan with the syrup in it to re-use the next day.
6. Bring the syrup gently to the rolling boil, a little hotter than the day before, and add the pears again for a few minutes, but not too many so keep an eye on it. You just want them to be candied a bit more. Remove them as in step 4 and set aside in the same way until 24 hours later.
7. The next day put the pears back in the same reheated syrup and let them boil for about 3 minutes before removing into a bowl of caster sugar. (Use vanilla sugar – caster sugar stored with vanilla pods in it, if you have any.)
8. Put the pears on a wire wrack and put them in the oven at 338F/170 degrees C for about ten minutes and then turn the oven off, leaving them in there to dry out a bit.
9. Store them on clean baking paper in an air tight container.