Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Yali Butter

The figs of weeks past were somewhat a disaster. Already a bit overripe when I bought them, slicing and leaving them out overnight resulted in an odd cobwebby coating. I can't explain it, but I sure as hell am not eating it.

I'm still working on creating a butter out of Chinese dates, but in the meantime, defeated by figs, I went for a quick hit: pear butter. I looked through the many pear options at Alemany last weekend and found these in bin marked "yali":

"Is that a pear?" I asked the two Asian farmers at the stand.

"No," the woman answered.

"An...Asian pear?"

"No," the woman repeated.

"Yali," the man said.


I asked for a sample. It looks and tastes just like an Asian pear, with a firmer bite than a (non Asian? Continental?) pear and a butterscotch-like flavor. I bought two pounds and lugged them home.

So far I've made jams and marmalades but no butters, so I referenced an apple butter recipe by Mrs R D Lea of Chesterfield, VA.

Basically I boiled the peeled, sliced "yali" until about at soft as you'd want mashed potatoes, ran the fruit through a food mill, and then boiled it with sugar, some spices and a bit of vanilla until I liked the texture.

The resulting butter can be as spicy as you like--I used about 2 cups of pulped fruit, one half cup of sugar, and a quarter teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, which gave it a nice kick. I think I might try it warmed over ginger ice cream.


KennethSF said...

I guess "Yali butter" sounds much more poetic than "Asian pear butter."

By the way, from my Asian perspective, they just look like international pears.

cat said...

That sounds delicious! All those cold weather flavors. It must be autumn.