Friday, January 16, 2015

Pear Brandy Liqueur

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such. – Henry Miller

Golden moments, captured in liquid form? I suppose this liqueur could be considered such.

The scent of ripe pear is a golden moment of autumn. Close your eyes, lift a pear to your nose, and breathe deep. It’s the smell of a well won harvest, of garden labour winding down, of pride in accomplishment.

All in one small, yellow orb.

It’s a nostalgic smell. And it’s one to counter the weeks of cold and wet still ahead. “Farch,” the term coined by local writer and consultant Jim Meek to describe the seeming eternity of February and March in Nova Scotia, is very apt.

There’s really only one caveat for this recipe. Get a ripe, very fragrant pear. It has to have the aroma you want to capture. So look weird, smell the pears in the produce section.

Yes, I may be on a strict diet right now, but I will not always be so. And then I’ll be able to enjoy a sip or two – on occasion – of this wondrous golden liquid.

If you want to capture a few rays of autumn sunshine to brighten this winter, try this liqueur. It’s so very easy, and so delightful.

Pear Brandy Liqueur
Time: 1 week  |  Yield 750ml  | 20% alc/vol (estimate)
375 ml (1 pint) brandy
1 medium pear, fragrant
2 whole cloves
1 cup sugar
1-1/4 cup water

Wash and slice the pear into 12 wedges. Combine the brandy, pear and cloves in a jar. Seal and let steep for seven days. Shake gently once per day.

At the end of the week, strain the pear and clove from the brandy, reserving both. I used a fine sieve lined with eight layers of cheesecloth.

The fruit will discolour. This is normal.
Combine the sugar, water, pear slices and cloves in a saucepan. 

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Strain the syrup through the cheesecloth again, pressing gently on the pear slices to extract the juice. Then combine with the brandy. Bottle and seal.

The liqueur should last 6 month unrefrigerated if stored in a cool place out of direct sun.


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