Start with fresh pears.
I used Bosc pears for this recipe, because they hold their shape beautifully when cooked, and because they taste wonderful. What better reasons do I need?
For the batch of Bosc Pear-Cranberry-Orange Sauce in the photo, I mashed the mixture toward the end of cooking; I'll show you what I mean later on in this blog post. If you prefer a chunkier sauce, you can skip the mashing step, and the chunks of Bosc pears will still be visible in the end result.
This recipe calls for equal parts fresh (or frozen) cranberries and chopped pears. I used 3 cups of each, which is one 12 ounce bag of cranberries and 3 medium-size pears. It's okay if you have more pears than cranberries, or vice versa. As you will see, this recipe is all about options.
Here's the simple part: mix together pears, cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon in a heavy-bottomed pan.
You can choose to peel the pears, or not, but you definitely need to core them first! Leaving the peels on will result in a slightly grainy texture, which some people like. I leave the peels on for their nutritional value, and because I hate to throw anything away.
Bring to a boil, stirring often so that the sugar will dissolve, then reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for ten minutes.
It will probably look a lot like this:
Have you ever cooked cranberries? They crackle and pop like crazy when their skins burst. It's an entertaining sound, sort of like popcorn popping. Kids love it, and so does everyone else who's never heard if before. I've heard it many times, yet I still get a kick out of it!
If you want the sauce to look like the first photo, go ahead and mash the entire mixture with a potato masher or a heavy spoon.
Continue to simmer the mixture for a few more minutes, mashing and stirring occasionally. If you want it chunkier, skip the mashing and keep on simmerin'. It should be thickening nicely by now and it will continue to thicken after it cools, so the Bosc Pear-Cranberry-Orange Sauce is finished cooking when it still has a bit of liquid left.
That's all there is to it!
Like I said, it's a simple recipe. It's also adaptable. Feel free to add a few raisins or currants or a bit of orange or lemon zest, or even candied orange peel or crystallized ginger root . You can also add ground spices other than cinnamon, like nutmeg, ginger, allspice or a teeny bit of ground cloves.
You can store it in the refrigerator, for up to 3 months, in the freezer for 6 months, or you can ladle it into canning jars, then seal & process using the boiling water bath method.
Can't find Bosc Pears where you live?
Check out The Fruit Company.
Like magic, fresh fruit will arrive at your door in a gorgeous box, swaddled in pretty pastel tissue paper & wood shavings.