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Pear Port Compote

This is a wonderful fruity dessert that one can make in the middle of summer when one is harvesting pears, and then come winter, it will make a flavorful and easy ending to a dinner with friends.   All you need do is scoop it out into pudding dishes and top with crème fresh.  This recipe is for canning and variations can be found in several of the Ball cookbooks.  In the 2006 version, it calls for port wine, but any type of rum or brandy can be used.   Here, at MV, I used some homemade apricot brandy that I received as a gift, and switch powdered ginger for crystallized ginger, which I’m sure is going to become a family favorite.  Enjoy!
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup golden raisins
½ cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
grated zest and juice from one orange
grated zest and juice from one lemon
½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
6-½ inch square pieces of crystallized ginger, diced
¼ teaspoon salt
10-11 cups coarsely chopped, cored, peeled pears, 
       treated to prevent browning
1 cup slivered almonds
¼ cup port wine, or apricot brandy, or rum
pear compote
In a large stainless steel kettle, or stainless jelly kettle, combine dark and golden raisins, apricots, orange zest and juice, lemon zest and juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.  Gently fold in pears and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat, cover and boil gently, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover, increase heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.  Stir in almonds and brandy and cook 5 minutes more, stirring constantly.  
Ladle hot into hot jars, leaving ½ inch head space.  Remove air bubbles and adjust head space.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is felt; then tighten to fingertip-tight.  Place jars in canner, bring to  a boil, and process 20 minutes.  Turn off canner and wait 5 minutes.  Remove jars with jar lifter and allow to cool 12-24 hours on a cloth on a counter out of any drafts.  Check seals.  Remove screw bands; wipe jars, label and store. 

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