I love giving away food hampers at Christmas as it’s the perfect excuse to make some homemade treats and put a little love and creativity into gift giving without breaking the bank. I don’t necessarily make everything that I put into a single hamper, but give a mixture of homemade goods and interesting foods I’ve come across in the run up to Christmas. It’s such good fun trying to find exciting gifts, making new recipes and also wrapping them and the final hamper presentation.
Homemade preserved fruits are a great present to give in a Christmas hamper and so I’ve made some of these pears in a rooibos syrup for my friends and family this year to do something a bit different.
I’ve loved rooibos, or redbush tea ever since a friend introduced me to it at university. Rooibos tastes fantastic with other Christmassy flavours like orange and cinnamon as it has a very unique flavour profile that’s nutty, woody and almost smoky, but with some sweet vanilla and caramel notes too. Cold brewing it by steeping the bags in cold or room temperature water overnight brings out the best flavours for this recipe and avoids too much bitterness and smokiness.
Makes 2 jars
- 8 ripe conference pears
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 orange
- 200g sugar
- 1 rooibos tea bag
- 1 litre room temperature water
- Cold brew the tea by placing the tea bag in room temperature water overnight.
- Preheat oven to 150°C (no fan).
- Wash the jars in hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly before putting them in the oven until they’re dry.
- Peel the pears and chop into quarters. Place them in a bowl water with a bit of lemon juice to stop them going brown until they’re all ready.
- Carefully place the pears in the jars with the orange and cinnamon, leaving room at the top for the syrup to cover the fruit and to give a bit of space for the fruit to expand.
- In a saucepan, heat the infused tea and sugar to make the rooibos syrup until it’s just about to boil. Pour it into the jar over the pears and fill it as close to the top as you can. If there’s some left over keep it to one side as you may need to top it up later.*
- Place the lids on top but don’t screw them on yet, and put the jars in the oven for 1 hour (still at 150°C).
- After they’ve cooked, get them out of the oven and add more syrup to the top as needed. Screw the lids on while hot – you’ll need oven gloves!
*Sometimes you lose some liquid while the pears are in the oven, and also you can get bubbles around the pears when you’re adding the syrup in the first place which can rise to the top during cooking.
Remember to enter my giveaway before 16th December to win a hamper of Opies goodies – you can find more information in this post.