Vanilla Bourbon Pear Butter was featured as the October bonus recipe this year. When I am recipe testing, I often have multiple batches of whatever I’m working on crowding my fridge and counter space. I started to think of other ways to use the pear butter besides the obvious toast, pancake, waffle, charcuterie platter, etc. I scooped out the middle of cupcakes and filled it with a little pear butter (yum!), used it as a filling for hand pies, and then started to think of making truffles with it after Ashley and I decided to have December’s posts be about homemade gifts. I have loved this pear butter every which way I have used it, and while this truffle recipe is time consuming, it is not difficult and makes a unique and lovely gift to share during the holidays.
Let’s first start off with the pear butter. This part takes the longest, but it is mainly due to the cooking time. The actual making of it is quite easy. You first roast the pears off:
And then purée with the amazing strainer/juicer attachment:
Next you mix in fresh orange juice, vanilla bean paste and fresh nutmeg and then back in the oven it goes:
Until it is thick and jammy:
Once cooled, you stir in bourbon and, if desired, maple syrup.
When deciding what to mix with the pear butter to make a truffle filling, I went back to the first time I made the pear butter and my husband and I grabbed a box of crackers from the pantry, smeared them with mascarpone and pear butter and split a bottle of wine. It was the most lovely flavor combination, all the roasted fruit and spice mellowed out by the creaminess of the mascarpone.
Now you’ll want to wait till the pear butter is completely cooled before mixing with the mascarpone, so the flavors stay somewhat separate once mixed. Then you just scoop into little balls (I found a small disher or teaspoon helpful) and lay out on a tray lined with waxed paper or a silicone baking mat and chill so they hold their shape when dipped in chocolate.
While the filling chills, it is best to set up a chocolate dipping station. I always melt my chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water on the stovetop. That way if the chocolate starts to harden, I can just bring the water to a simmer again and gently melt the chocolate as many times as needed. Once the chocolate is melted, let it cool till just warm to the touch before dipping filling in, otherwise the filling will start to melt into the chocolate.
Dipping all the truffles is the other time consuming part. I tried a chocolate dipping tool I had bought but found that a fork or my fingers worked just as well for dipping. Since the filling has hung out in the freezer, the chocolate will firm up fairly quickly on the truffle. I found edible pearl powder at Michaels craft store which I thought added the perfect festive touch to the truffles.
Let us know if you have any questions. If you need a visual aid for assembling the strainer/juicer attachment, click here. Hope your holidays are full of love, laughter, friends and family and of course lots of good food!
Vanilla Bourbon Pear Butter Truffles
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
1 batch vanilla bourbon pear butter (see recipe below)
12 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
36 oz. dark or milk chocolate
2 Tbsp. shortening
edible gold and/or silver pearl powder, optional
In the plastic whisking bowl with the single wire whisks, beat the mascarpone on medium speed (3 o’clock) for 1 minute. Add in the pear butter and whisk until mixture is swirled together but not completely incorporated. Using a small disher or teaspoon, scoop 1-inch balls of the filling onto a baking pan lined with wax paper or a silicone baking mat. Chill in freezer for 1 hour.
About 15 minutes before filling comes out of freezer, fill a 4 quart saucepan with 3-4 inches of water. Place chocolate and shortening into a large bowl and set on top of saucepan, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water. Bring the water to a simmer and melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally. Set chocolate mixture aside until just warm to the touch.
Line another baking pan with wax paper or a silicone baking mat. Dip chilled balls into the melted chocolate and place on pan until chocolate sets. If desired, dust tops with edible glitter or pearl dust.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Yield: 55 truffles
Vanilla Bourbon Pear Butter
6 pounds pears
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp. bourbon
2-3 Tbsp. maple syrup, optional
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Wash pears, dry and slice in half, removing the stems. Place cut side up on 2 half sheet pans. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Set up the Ankarsrum base with the strainer attachment. Place a large bowl underneath to catch the pear sauce and a medium bowl at the end to catch the waste.
Turn the machine on medium speed (3 o’clock) and feed the roasted pears through the attachment, using the plunger to push them down. Run the waste through the strainer 2-3 more times to extract the maximum amount of pear sauce.
Add orange juice, nutmeg and vanilla bean paste to pear sauce and whisk to thoroughly combine.
Place mixture into a 6-8 quart enameled Dutch oven or oven safe pot. Cook at 400° for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. The pear butter will turn brown and start to noticeably thicken and begin to turn “jammy” when done.
Let cool and then stir in the bourbon. If more sweetness is desired, add the maple syrup as well.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month. Alternately, store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Makes: 2 1/2 cups of Pear Butter