Preserved Pears in Rooibos Syrup

I’ve mentioned our apple glut quite a bit over on Instagram, but we’ve also got a pear tree that has been just as abundant. I have plans to make plenty of chutney, and perhaps to freeze a few, but I love to preserve them in a flavoured syrup too and enjoy them with some ice cream or sliced on some toast. They could also be cooked into a pear cake (like this Pear and Cardamom Cake) where they’ll add a lovely sweetness and spice. I decided to dig out this old recipe from my now (pretty much) retired blog A Year in Dinners where I used to share recipes and travel stories (before starting Plot & Lane, and also being grounded by Covid…) The combination of rooibos tea and spices works so well with the pears which can be enjoyed hot or cold – perfect to carry us from our current warm September weather to the cooler autumn months to come.

I’ve loved rooibos tea ever since a friend introduced me to it at university. Rooibos tastes fantastic with cosy, autumnal flavours like orange and cinnamon as it has a very unique flavour profile that’s nutty, woody and almost smoky, but with some sweet vanilla and caramel notes too. Cold brewing it by steeping the bags in cold or room temperature water overnight brings out the best flavours for this recipe and avoids too much bitterness. I’m thinking of trying a wilder version this year using homemade Rosebay Willowherb tea from this post and adding wild spices like hogweed seeds and wood avens. These preserved pears make great gifts too so this is a recipe to file away for your Christmas hamper ideas list!

Preserved Pears in Rooibos Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

Makes 2 jars

  • 8 ripe conference pears
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 orange
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 rooibos tea bag
  • 1 litre room temperature water

Method

  1. Cold brew the tea by placing the tea bag in room temperature water overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 150°C (no fan).
  3. Wash the jars in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly before putting them in the oven until they’re dry.
  4. Peel the pears and chop into quarters. Place them in a bowl water with a bit of lemon juice to stop them going brown until they’re all ready.
  5. Carefully place the pears in the jars with the orange and cinnamon, leaving room at the top for the syrup to cover the fruit and to give a bit of space for the fruit to expand.
  6. In a saucepan, heat the infused tea and sugar to make the rooibos syrup until it’s just about to boil. Pour it into the jar over the pears and fill it as close to the top as you can. If there’s some left over keep it to one side as you may need to top it up later.*
  7. Place the lids on top but don’t screw them on yet, and put the jars in the oven for 1 hour (still at 150°C).
  8. After they’ve cooked, get them out of the oven and add more syrup to the top as needed. Screw the lids on while hot – you’ll need oven gloves!

*Sometimes you lose some liquid while the pears are in the oven, and also you can get bubbles around the pears when you’re adding the syrup in the first place which can rise to the top during cooking.

Let me know whether you make this and which teas/spices or other flavours you use – feel free to switch things up and make it your own as always! Tag me in your creations on Instagram @plotandlane where I love to see them and share them.

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