My mother doesn’t like the smell of cloves nor anise. When I use them, she never fails to tell me that they remind her of the dentist office. I’m not exactly sure what smell she’s referring to, but to me, the combination of cloves, anise and cinnamon, smell like the forest after a good amount of rainfall. Plus, I really like my dentist.
It had been raining the entire morning–so much for peak autumn season–so all I wanted was to stay home and cook something that would cheer up the kitchen. When I saw Seckel pears at the farmers’ market in Cold Spring, I bought a couple of pounds thinking of that smell.
Of all commercially-grown pears, Seckel pears are the smallest. I love them for their size and they look good preserved in a glass jar. I think preserved spiced pears are good with heartier dishes like goose, lamb and rabbit; the pears’ syrupy juice a nice complement to gamey meat and crusty bread.
1 pound Seckel pears, peeled, stems intact
2 sticks of cinnamon
2 whole star anise
1 cup white sugar
3 cups of water, or enough to cover
1. Place pears in a saucepan and cover with water. Add the spices, uncovered, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered until they’re tender when pierced with a fork.
2. Allow them to cool in the syrup and then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.