There are blogs all over the internet highly touting Fiona's Belgian Pears, and since I had a glut of pears, I decided to make some. Surely, they couldn't be as good as the raves, but good nonetheless. And I had LOTS of pears.
The first batch I made with small pears a neighbor gave me, and followed the recipe exactly. I posted about them here. Then, because they really were wonderful, but a bit too sweet and short of pear taste, I made a batch with the larger, sweeter pears, using just half a cup of sugar. They were sweet enough that I probably could have left out the sugar altogether. It was a small trial batch and made just one quart, with a dish of them left over for my dessert. They did not look nearly as caramelized as the ones from the original recipe but the taste was similar, just not overly sweet.
Feeling adventuresome, I got a bottle of plum wine and made another small batch, using 6 ounces of plum wine, 2 ounces of champagne vinegar, and again, no sugar. I was hoping the pears would take on a pretty pink color from the wine, but they did not. They were sweet, and had a subtle taste that must have been from the wine.
Next up, pears using red wine to poach... and twice wine as much as in the plum wine batch. With all the batches, none have had enough liquid to cover all the pears sufficiently in the jars. I also added almost a cup of sugar, 3 ounces of champagne vinegar, and 2 small cinnamon sticks.
I started turned them half an hour into the process so they would get evenly colored and cooked.
Somehow I didn't take a photo of the finished pears in the pan before I canned them, but here's a few on a plate. YUM!
So, here's a line-up of jars of the various Belgian Pears. Left to right: Original Recipe, Minimum sugar recipe, plum wine recipe, and finally red wine recipe.
Close-up of the pears in red wine on the right, my favorite of the bunch. YUM!