Apart from one recipe, all my previous dishes using pears have all been sweet so it seems a good time to redress the imbalance. It's the time of year when you're on the look out for some new Christmas cooking ideas and a recipe for Christmas Chutney over at the BBC got my attention - A mix of apples, pears and dates it is spiced with cinnamon and cayenne. I have played around with the recipe a little and as for all recipes with spice, it's best to always judge the quantity by taste.
1 red onion, diced finely
2 apples, peeled, cored and quartered, roughly choppped
3 pears, peeled, cored and quartered, cut into bite sized pieces
70 grams dates, stoned and roughly chopped
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon mixed spice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
120 grams raw caster sugar
Place the onion and a half cup of water into a pot and place on a medium heat. When it comes to the boil, turn the heat down so it simmers - cook until the onion has softened but not coloured.
Add in the apples, pears and dates and give the mixture a stir - let it cook very slowly so that fruit starts to soften (you don't want them to become mushy and disintegrate) - about 10 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle over the salt, cayenne, cinnamon, mixed spice and cloves along with half of the cider vinegar - stir it well to ensure the spices are well distributed and continue cooking for another 10 minutes - or until the mixture starts to thicken.
Pour in the rest of the vinegar along with the sugar - give it another good stir to help the sugar dissolve and then simmer until the mixture is quite thick.
Divide the hot chutney into sterilised jars and seal - once cold, store in the fridge.
You can enjoy this chutney now or leave it for a week or more to allow the flavours to develop.