Pear preserve of the Gods: Pear-Vanilla Bean-Nutmeg Butter

by Dorothy Reinhold on November 22, 2014

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So I bought 6 pears to make a wonderful-looking pear coffee cake I saw online, and I let them ripen on the counter. They ripened, they ripened, they ripened more, going from bright green to yellow, then beyond.

I was lazy, lazier and laziest, and I kept NOT making the coffee cake, no matter how much I wanted to taste it. I wished someone else would make it for me. Alas, that never happened. Does it ever go this way at your house? Please tell me I am not alone.

Finally today I could stand it no longer. Those pears were so ripe, with so many brown spots on the outside, that I would soon have to throw them away if I didn’t use them. So I made a quick pear butter, and I’m so glad I did.

Pear-Vanilla Bean-Nutmeg Butter | Pear Preserves Recipe | ShockinglyDelicious.comThis is my new favorite preserve, tasting intensely of sweet pears, with a perfumed note of vanilla and a hint of something else – nutmeg, it turns out. A fruit butter has no butter, you know. It is just cooked down fruit, spiced and sweetened.

Because I am lazy (see second paragraph), I didn’t water bath can it. This means it can’t go in the pantry, but must be refrigerated or frozen. No matter though…it won’t last more than 5 days, I can tell you now.

I’m eating this with turkey on Thursday. If there’s any left, I’ll eat it on pancakes, on bagels, on toast or dollop it on my oatmeal.

That’s a big IF.

Pear-Vanilla Bean-Nutmeg Butter

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Intensely pear-flavored with perfumed whiffs of vanilla and nutmeg, this is pear preserves of the Gods. Good on toast or with roast poultry or meats!


  • 1 2/3 pounds extremely ripe Bartlett pears
  • 1/2 cup vanilla sugar (or plain granulated sugar)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 Meyer lemon, juiced (about 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg


  1. Quarter, core and peels pears, cut into chunks, and put chunks into a 10- to 12-inch nonstick skillet. You should have about 1 1/2 pounds of pear left after you discard the peels, cores and stems. Add sugar to pan.
  2. Run a knife along one edge of the vanilla bean to split it. Open it flat and scrape out the tiny seeds and add them to the pears. Add the scraped vanilla bean pod to the pears, too. Add the lemon juice and nutmeg to the pears. Use a potato masher to mash pears in the pan a bit. If pears are extremely ripe, they should collapse immediately. If they are less ripe, you will have to do this after they cook.
  3. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid evaporates and pears thicken a bit (depending on how ripe they are, pears might be extremely juicy). If you weren’t able to potato-mash them earlier, do it now. If it looks like a good consistency to you, remove from heat and allow to cool. If it still looks a little too wet, cook for another 5 or so minutes to further evaporate juice.
  4. Remove from heat, allow to cool and spoon into a squeaky-clean lidded jar. Refrigerate if you will be using within a week or 2; freeze if you need to store for longer.
  5. Makes 1 1/4 cups.


Recipe source: Dorothy Reinhold | Shockingly Delicious, with inspiration from Food in Jars

Disclosure: Melissas’s Produce sent whole nutmeg and vanilla beans for recipe development.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda | Brunch with Joy November 22, 2014 at 9:37 pm

I really need to make this…and i have few pears sitting in the corner. Glad for being lazy myself coz your recipe came in just in time. 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold November 24, 2014 at 5:27 am

Wanna be in the lazy club with me? Nah, that would be too much work. 🙂


kita November 22, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Everything about this sounds amazing. We aren’t big on preserves in my house ( just never had them) but I have got to try this one!!


Dorothy Reinhold November 24, 2014 at 5:28 am

Preserves are just like jam, jelly, etc.


Cathy | She Paused 4 Thought November 22, 2014 at 11:38 am

Do you think this recipe would work with my overripe Fuyu persimmons? Call me lazy as well. 🙂


Dorothy Reinhold November 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm

I don’t know for certain, but I don’t see why not! You might have to cook it longer, since overripe pears basically disintigrate, but overripe Fuyus would still be firm. But more cooking won’t hurt it! It’s only fruit butter/jam! Try it and tell me how it is.


susan @ the wimpy vegetarian November 22, 2014 at 9:32 am

I’ve got to make this!! I love everything about it 🙂 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And yes, this kind of story happens to me All. The. Time. And now I want you to buy more pears, make that coffee cake, and post it so I can make it. Or at least make these preserves. Wait. These preserves would be fantastic with the coffee cake, yes??


Dorothy Reinhold November 22, 2014 at 10:48 am

You are so right. Both need to be made!


Sippitysup November 22, 2014 at 9:14 am

The real vanilla seeds makes this alluringly fragrant (even in a photo). GREG


Dorothy Reinhold November 22, 2014 at 10:49 am

You’re right. I often eschew vanilla beans because they are pricy, and I go with extract, but in this case, it is WORTH IT! Use the real vanilla beans!


Andrew Shaner November 22, 2014 at 8:58 am

Might disappear before Thanksgiving. Just saying.


Dorothy Reinhold November 22, 2014 at 10:49 am

I would BET on it!


Liz November 22, 2014 at 7:55 am

Delicious. You’re not lazy. You’re a hard worker.


Dorothy Reinhold November 22, 2014 at 10:51 am

You are too kind!


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