So, I’m still working on a corn-free, dairy-free, and coconut-free safe-for-me caramel that doesn’t have dates in it because (a) sourcing wheat-free dates can be hard, and (b) I freaking hate dates (I know, that’s weird). In the meantime, I’ve been making do with this Vanilla Pear Caramel Butter that I canned up in the fall. It’s amazingly amazing. However, for those of you who aren’t into canning, making 7 eight ounce jars of something that you need to store in your freezer may not be the way to go. So I’m cutting back the recipe for you, so that you can store it more easily, if you can keep from eating it that long. If I weren’t canning it, I’d freeze it up into some of those large silicone ice cube trays (no affiliation with Amazon) which hold about half a cup. That way, once they’ve frozen, you can pop them out into a safe-for-you zip top freezer bag and you can grab a cube to defrost whenever you need it.
It’s unbelievable on chocolate cake, or any other dessert that just needs a bit of caramel sauce. I may or may not have just eaten a couple of spoonfuls when I needed a treat, since candy is nonexistent for me unless I make it. I suppose I could make some claim about it being “healthier” because it’s fruit, but it’s still got a fair bit of sugar in it, so that negates that idea. Also, it’s for dessert. Live a little.
- 3 1/2 pounds pears peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- zest of half a lemon
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I make my own with vanilla beans and vodka made from potatoes, as most commercial extract contains corn)
- crock pot
- Place pears, water, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a nonreactive stock pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once you've reached a boil, reduce the heat and and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the pears are soft (about 20 minutes).
- Using an immersion blender, blend until you have a texture like apple sauce. Don't complete liquefy the pears.
- Place the pear mixture into a slow cooker. Add the brown sugar, and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Prop the lid of the slow cooker open with a wooden spoon, and let the mixture reduce on low. Depending on the size of the slow cooker this will go faster or slower, it make take as long as 8 hours. Check it every two hours to see how it's doing and stir it. The finished pear butter will be thick and hold its shape on a spoon. Stir in vanilla extract.