Halloween Snack Board Pear Jam with Star Anise, Cinnamon and Dry White Wine
3 pears (about 1½ pounds)
2 whole star anise pods
1 pinch red chile flakes, or to taste
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup golden raisins
1½ teaspoons finely grated ginger
½ cup finely chopped onion
¾ cup sherry vinegar
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice (half lemon)
Peel, core and cut pears into slices that are ¼” thick. Place in heavy saucepan with star anise, red chile flakes, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, raisins, ginger, onion, vinegar, wine, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, stir and slightly reduce heat. Boil for about 45 minutes, occasionally stirring until liquid is gone. (As liquid evaporates, you will need to stir more frequently to prevent burning.) When pear is falling apart, and a spoon dragged across the bottom of the pan leaves a trail that does not fill with liquid, remove from heat. Set aside to cool for at least an hour or cover and refrigerate overnight. To serve, remove anise pods and pair with strong cheese and crackers or crusty bread. Makes about 1½ cups
This is one of those dishes where the flavors deepen if you make it a day ahead.
If your star anise is in pieces, tie it up in a small piece of cheesecloth to make it easier to remove.
Use either light or brown sugar.
Most of the alcohol in the wine will evaporate during cooking.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three weeks.