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Yamuna Devi's Pear Chutney with Dates and Pecans

pear medley:

Yamuna Devi's Pear Chutney with Dates and Pecans

Yamuna writes: "While residing in the vale of Evesham, I had the opportunity to sample some of England’s best produce. Every day for weeks on end I took on the challenge of coming up with a different cooked chutney, and in due course this recipe emerged from the test kitchen as everyone’s favorite."

Preparation and cooking time: about 1 hour,

Makes: about 1 ½ cups.

¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed dried red chilies,

1 tablespoon scraped, finely shredded or minced fresh ginger root,

2 teaspoons grated orange zest,

¼ teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds,

2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick,

2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter,

½ cup fresh orange juice,

¼ cup maple sugar or brown sugar, packed,

6-7 medium-sized Bosc pears (about 2 ½ pounds/1.5 kg), peeled, quartered, cored and cut crosswise into 1/3–inch (1 cm) slices,

½ cup pitted soft dates, snipped into 1/3-inch pieces,

1/3 cup chopped toasted pecans.

Combine the red chilies, ginger, orange zest, cardamom seeds and cinnamon on a saucer. Place the ghee or butter in a 3-quart/litre saucepan over low heat. Before the ghee is hot or the butter froths, add the combined spices. Fry for 1-2 minutes to release flavours. Add the orange juice and sugar, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the pears, bring to a gentle boil, and cook until syrupy and thick, about 30 minutes. Stir often during the last 5 minutes to prevent scorching.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the dates and pecans, and cool to room temperature. Serve, or cover and refrigerate for 3-4 days.