pear and tomato cheese

When Julie was over with her green tomatoes, we made pear and tomato cheese. Think something between a jam and a fruit leather.

pear and tomato cheese

The recipe is from Oded Schwarz’s Preserving, which is the first preserving book I ever bought and is full of pretty pictures and sometimes crazy notions. J-P and I made pear and tomato cheese for the first time about six years ago in Boston. It was delicious, but we did a lot of things wrong: we used whatever tomatoes came in our CSA, we made a double batch, we cooked it down in a stock pot rather than something with more surface area… It took more than seven hours of simmering to get it to the right consistency. We’ve been shy of it ever since, but finally got up the courage for another go this past Sunday.

Here’s how to do it right. Yields about 2.5 pounds, and that is plenty. Please don’t try a double batch.

  • 2 lbs Roma tomatoes (really important to use a dry variety of tomato)
  • 1.5 lbs pears
  • .5 lbs apples
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups water
  • granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Coarsely chop tomatoes, pears, apple, and lemon. Put in pot with water and bring to a boil, then simmer about 30 minutes, until the fruit is mushy. Pass the mixture through a food mill or sieve. Measure the resulting puree and add 1.5 cups sugar for every 2 cups of puree. Put this mixture, with the spices, in a roasting pan or something with similar surface area that you can set over two burners. Return to a boil, then simmer forever (about 4 hours), stirring frequently. (We returned it to a stock pot after a couple of hours, out of fear of burning it.) It’s ready to be poured into oiled pans (we used two pie plates) when it plops/heaves rather than bubbles, and you can draw a clear line through it with your spoon. Let sit in the oiled pans for at least 24 hours, then turn out and coat with granulated sugar. Use a cold, clean knife (which you will clean frequently) to cut squares, which you will roll in more granulated sugar and store in tins between layers of waxed paper.

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