Pear Butter (and a panini!)

A couple of weeks ago, we went to the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. Now from what I understand, this farmer’s market is a much bigger event during the summer, when it takes place outside, and we were there for one of the last weeks inside. No matter. We had a good time and picked up several tasty treats. One of those treats was a jar of Pear Butter from Seedling.

I’d never even heard of Pear Butter, but of course there were samples, and the samples were quite convincing, so we picked up a jar. If you’ve never had Pear Butter (or Apple Butter) for that matter, the term propbably requires some explaination.

According to Wikipedia, Apple Butter is a highly concentrated applesauce, made by cooking apples so long and slow that the sugars in the apples carmelize. Despite being called Apple “Butter,” there’s no butter, cream, or dairy of any kind involved. And the final product isn’t anything like butter, really. It’s more of a jam-like spread (though not quite as thick). We use it to spread on toast, mostly. The caramelization gives the apple butter a unique sweet taste. David, who favors apple jelly almost exclusively, likes apple butter a lot. His favorite use is to slather it on a toasted english muffin.

This Pear Butter was similar to Apple Butter—it had the same unique sweetness, but the pears gave it a little something special. I have been very happy to have it around.

The one other place I’ve seen apple butter at work is, oddly enough, in college. The dining hall made a surprisingly delicious sandwich with turkey, dill harvati, and apple butter. It sounds strange, I know, but the sanwhich was the perfect balance of salty and sweet. I decided to use the same flavors to make a panini using roasted turkey, leftover harvati cheese from our fancy Macaroni & Four Cheese, and of course, our new Pear Butter.

Pear Butter, Turkey, & Harvati Panini

For each sandwiches:

  • Two slices of good quality bread (We like this sourdough)
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • 1 tablespoon apple butter or pear butter
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced roasted turkey (from the deli)
  • 2 ounces harvati cheese, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1. Preheat a panini pan and press over medium high heat.

2. Spread one slice of bread with the mayonnaise. Top with one layer of cheese, followed by turkey, and then another layer of cheese, in that order. Spread the remaining slice of bread with apple or pear butter to complete the sandwich. .

3. Spread the outside of the sandwich (both slices of bread) with butter.

4. Place in panini pan and top with press. The sandwich is done when the bread is crisp all around and the cheese is melted all the way through. Slice in half and serve immediately.

Note: I wouldn’t say these sandwhiches were perfect, but if I had the ingredients laying around again, I’d definitely try to perfect it. They were quite tasty as it was. The two differences were the use of sourdough instead of plain, from a bag, sliced wheat bread (I’d say the sourdough was probably an improvement), and using regular harvati instead of a dill-flavored harvati (this could have made the sandwhich better).

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