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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

As The Pears Infuse

Filtered infusions bottled and starting to age.
For the past three weekends we have been tasting the pear infusions I made to see if it was time to start their aging process.

We tasted in the order from lightest to heaviest -- simple pear and vodka, pear and vodka with a dash of brandy added, a whole pear immersed in brandy, and the spiced pear brandy liqueur.Very small tastes of each with a small glass of water to cleanse our palettes before we moved to the next infusion.  Here are our tasting notes:
  • Week one we found there was very little development in any of the infusions. 
  • At week two the spiced pear brandy liqueur was ready to filter. Spices and pear flavor was just right, the added vanilla quite nice, the sugar mellowed it all out and it had a deep caramel color. This will probably be the best of any of the infusions.
  • Week three  the vodka with brandy added had developed a nice pear taste and light golden color. The brandy appears to have mellowed the sharpness of the vodka and enhanced the pear taste.
  • The pear in brandy should be ready next weekend. The simple pear vodka may be ready but realistically may take another week.
It's been fun tasting the infusions and are looking forward to tasting the finished product in two or three months when they have aged. We'll definitely be tasting the spiced pear brandy in mid-December as we are hoping to serve after Christmas dinner.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Making Pear Vodka and Brandy

Pear Season!

Recently while trolling Pinterest I came across a recipe for making pear vodka which reminded me that few years ago we had a bottle and thought it was an amazing. So I set off on a quest to find the best way to make some.

I found a myriad of recipes for pear vodka and brandies. Some of the recipes were quite simple—
clean and slice a pear or pears, put into a mason jar, pour in the liquor, cover and let it set for anywhere from a week to a month, shaking the jar every once in a while. Others were more complex with simple syrup, sugar, vanilla bean and spices. Hmmmm, what to do? I decided to make a variety to see which recipe we like best.

The Plan

First I went to my favorite local orchard, Maple Leaf Farm in Spring Valley, WI - www.mapleleaforchard.com, to purchase the pears. Mark guided me to a small pear that was large on flavor.

Next I sent my husband to buy some large bottles of vodka (Karkov) and brandy (Petri) both inexpensive and drinkable brands. He brought home 2 bottles of vodka and one brandy. If this chemistry experiment turns out, much of it will be gifted.

Then I set out to finalize what recipes to use. This time around I wanted to do mostly simple infusions rather than liqueurs, but decided that the spiced pear brandy just must be made. Here's are descriptions and links to the recipes:

  1. A spiced pear brandy liqueur, with sugar, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon stick. I doubled this recipe and added half of a split vanilla bean that I had seen in another recipe.
     http://thewiesbadenerkaffeklatsch.blogspot.com/2011/09/homemade-pear-brandy.html
  2. A pear infused vodka with a little brandy added. http://www.wegmans.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10052&catalogId=1&productId=393720
  3. Just sliced pears with vodka
    http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Pear-Vodka
  4. A whole pear in brandy. On this one I washed a medium-large Bosc pear (store bought, not from the orchard) and pricked all over with a paring knife. I placed it in a jar and poured the remaining brandy to cover it.

Now we wait about two weeks and take a small taste. If it tastes ready I'll strain through a coffee filter and then pour into sterilized bottles and let it sit for 1-3 months. In January or February I'll update or comment on this post to give taste test results.

Next year I plan on making Sweet Pear William:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/9477824/Sweet-pear-william-recipe.html