The quest for pear butter

Pear Vanilla Butter
Vanilla Pear Butter

So now that I’m fully initiated into the iPhone cult, I can post to my blog while we drive to the cottage! No, I’m not doing the driving.

Ever since I had the vanilla pear butter with artisanal cheeses at the now dead-pooled restaurant Locavore, I’ve wanted to make my own version. I hated pears as a kid; I couldn’t stand their often mealy texture. Even now they aren’t a fruit I’d eat right off the tree, but I have a new love for them as baked, stewed and now, as butter.

I picked up a couple baskets of Ontario Bartlett pears and made two batches this week. The first batch I based on a recipe and the second one I improvised. The first on has a bit more citrus than I really wanted, though it is still delish.

Vanilla Pear Butter

  • About 15 medium Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup water or apple juice
  • 1 tsp ascorbic acid (Fruit Fresh) to prevent browning
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  1. In a large saucepan combine pears, water or juice and ascorbic acid. Over medium heat cook pears about 20 minutes, until they begin to break up. Remove from heat and using a hand held blender, purée the mixture until totally smooth.
  2. Add sugar and vanilla bean innards and return to heat. Cook on low, stirring often, until butter has reached desired consistency, or mounds on a spoon.
  3. Fill 250ml sterilized jars, and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Makes 5 to 7 jars.

Variation: substitute 1 cup of the sugar with a 1/2 cup of brown sugar and a 1/2 cup of maple syrup for a Maple Pear Butter.


  1. Chiot's Run says:

    This sounds like a winner, I generally make gingerbread pear butter, but something about the simplicity of pears and vanilla in this recipe really appeals to me. This would be great spread over gingerbread though I think!

  2. Melissa says:

    Do you think you could use vanilla extract instead of vanilla bean? Can you even use extracts in canning? I’d love to know!

  3. admin says:

    I don’t see why not; but part of the appeal of using vanilla bean is the impact it makes to the visual appeal of the pear butter. It makes it that much more special to know it has real vanilla bean in it — that you can see it — and the flavour is unbeatable! While vanilla beans are a bit more expensive than extracts, they are totally worth it. I’ve noticed Costco has a pretty great deal on vanilla beans when they have them in stock. I believe they sell them in sets of two tubes, each with about four or five very large beans, for about $10-$15. In my experience, they were way fresher than others I’ve seen in grocery or specialty stores — large, plump, shiny and full of natural, flavourful oils. But to your question, I don’t think there is any negative impact of using an extract in place of the bean. Most extracts have an alcohol base, and you can make jellies and jams with alcohol (think port wine jam or white wine jelly) so I don’t see the alcohol having any negative impact.

  4. OMG – this sounds truly delicious. Never heard of such a wonderful thing before, but might give it a whirl. Thanks!

  5. kate gibson ---vashon island,wa. says:

    pears are by far my favorite fall fruit, and I love to cann so this is definitly going to be tried and, I’m sure, enjoyed.

  6. Courtney says:

    Do you think you could up the vanilla beans? I’d like to add several more, but I’m not sure if that’s “legal” with canning…lol Can you tell I’m new? hehe

  7. admin says:

    Heheh you certainly could — although with vanilla beans I firmly believe there’s a point at which you’re just throwing away your money — they are quite strong on their own and if you cook the butter with the scraped bean in it, you’re going to get tons of vanilla bean flavour.

  8. Cynthia says:

    Would it matter if I used comice pears instead of Bartlett?

  9. admin says:

    No I don’t think so – Bartlett are just one of the most common pears we have around here.

  10. John Verville says:

    Do you think I could substitute Vanilla Bean Paste for the vanilla bean? Maybe a teaspoon full for this recipe? I have a lot of the paste but no beans at the moment.

  11. admin says:

    Im sure vanilla bean paste would be just fine (I have no idea what’s in it — it’s not a common product here in Canada), but I’m sure it’s just fine. Enjoy!

  12. Melinda says:

    Sounds delicious!

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