Sweet pickled pears make the perfect autumn accompaniment to patés, terrines and charcuterie of all sorts, or just to jazz up a ploughman’s lunch…
Makes 1 kg (2lb 4oz)
600ml (1 pint) perry or cider vinegar; 425g (15oz) granulated sugar; 6 cloves; 6 slices fresh ginger root (peeled); 12 black peppercorns; 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two; 4 strips lemon rind; 1kg (2lb 4oz) Conference pears
Put everything except the pears in a large pan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside. Peel and halve the pears. Core with a small sharp knife, leaving the stalks. Heat the liquid again and add the fruit. Cover and simmer until tender – anything from five to 20 minutes.
Drain the pears and put in a hot, sterilised 1 litre (1¾ pint) jar. Boil the vinegar until it is quite syrupy, remembering it will thicken more as it cools. Strain over the pears while everything is still hot. Scoop out the cinnamon, cloves and pepper and add them to the jar, but discard the lemon and ginger. Seal and leave for at least three days before eating. They are best after a couple of weeks but will keep for about six months. Store in the fridge once opened.