We're calling this a “butter” but it's really more of a cross between butter and sauce–a thin butter or a thick sauce, if you will. It's inspired by an abundance of gorgeous pears in a holiday gift box and adapted from a recipe of Farmgirl Fare, a delightful blog that chronicles life on a 240-acre farm in rural Missouri. Most of the sweetness comes from the ripe pears themselves (any variety will do here), but a touch of brown sugar adds a caramel-y touch while the whole star anise brightens the overall flavor. It's dandy spread on toast or dolloped on waffles or pancakes, and it would be a delicious condiment with our Spiced Roast Pork.
4 pounds ripe pears (any variety), cored and cut into chunks
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of sea salt
3 whole star anise pods
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Place pears in a food processor; pulse until pureed (depending on the capacity of your processor, you may need to do this in batches). Add sugar, juice and salt. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13-inch (4-quart) baking dish. Add star anise. Bake at 300 degrees F for 3 hours or until thick, stirring every 30 minutes. Cool completely (mixture will continue to thicken as it cools). Refrigerate up to 1 week.
Yields about 4 cups