As a kid, I adored what I now recognize as a particularly uninspiring iteration of the classic poire belle Helene, which slurped bought chocolate sauce over anaemic, watery canned pears and bought vanilla ice cream. But while the idea of bought sauce and canned pears now fills me with dread, pears and chocolate are a marriage that works. What about turning them into a jam?
Of course it’s not quite as simple as that, given that pears are pretty low in pectin, which means the jam sets much better if you throw some apples into the mix. The Bosc pears we bought at the weekend were also narrow-necked and a total pain to peel and chop. So after a minor incident involving a canning buddy’s finger and a newly sharpened knife, I turned to the food processor to transform my quartered fruit into jammable mush.
And a recipe? We winged it, based on a preserve we’ve made before, but throwing organic chocolate chips in right at the end. Color is a little meh, it’s a dubious brown with very tiny bits, which leads me to conclude that it actually is better to chop the fruit by hand. (A second pear apple jam, made fivespice this time, looks much more satisfying, with chunks suspended in flavorful syrup.) But the taste? Ooh. Canning buddy licked out the ladle and left me the pan. This is one to do again.
Pear chocolate jam
1 kg ripe pears, peeled and chopped
600 g apples, peeled and chopped
150 g crystallized ginger, chopped finely
550 g sugar
juice of two lemons
almost a cup of good quality chocolate chips (70 percent cocoa)
Heat the fruit with sugar, ginger and lemon juice, slowly at first until the sugar dissolves, and then at a rolling boil until the jam it sets.
Take off the heat and wait a few minutes for the jam to stop bubbling. Then stir in the chocolate chips and bottle in sterilized jars.
Store in the fridge. (I suspect the chocolate would go odd if you tried waterbathing this jam, so we didn’t risk that one.)