Cranberries are really tart so they usually require an ungodly amount of refined sugar. A little part of me dies when I see the ratio and so this year I decided to cut the refined sugar by half and substitute the rest with a home-made pear purée. I like a cranberry sauce that resembled a compote or homemade jam, where you can still see the remnants of the cranberries but feel free to take this to a completely smooth sauce if you prefer!
Makes 2 cups
12 OZ fresh cranberries
1 TSP nutmeg
4 very ripe pears, Bartlet or Red Crimson
3/4 C cane sugar
Peel and cut your pears once they are very bruised and over-ripe. This allows the sweetness of the fruit to go further than where it’s ideal for eating on their own. Think of this like using the bruised and over-ripe bananas in a banana bread application. Same idea ! Add the pears and a bit of water to a saucepan. The water is just to prevent any burning. Allow the pears to cook over low heat for 20 minutes or so, adding a pinch of salt, and a touch cinnamon if you like. Using a potato masher, fork, or immersion blender create a purée that resembles baby food. Allow to cool slightly.
In a separate similar sized saucepan, add the cranberries, sugar, and 1/2 cup of water over medium-low heat. Once you start to see a bit of “popping” action from the cranberries, add your pear purée, salt, and nutmeg. Continue cooking for 5 minutes more until you have a thickened but still chunky sauce. If you prefer to have no lumps, continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so, and really stir aggressively to break down the remaining cranberries. Taste for sweetness, and at this stage, pour the sauce into a pyrex to cool. I like to remove 1/4 cup into a small bowl for the fridge to swirl into a yogurt or spread on a sandwich at home the next day!