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.
"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.