Photo Credit: Michele Fillion / MicheleDesigns
 Photo Credit: Michele Fillion / MicheleDesigns
We got a nice surprise at The Sitting Room in Warren, Michigan. At this most excellent Bed and Breakfast establishment, there was a pear tree with an abundance of fruit. Help yourself! So we did.

If you know this Cat you know that pickles rank high on the menu. Those pears were very hard even when ripe. How hard? "That's what she said," kind of hard. And, if you don't know the reference, never mind.

The first cut was to treat our found fruit as if it were a regular cucumber pickle. Cooky Cat's certified 1 vinegar to 2 waters. A little salt and a bit more sugar. No spice. This resulted in a pretty unimpressive pickle. The pears are flavorful, but they don't sing on the palate.

Next attempt: We transported our first batch back to New Jersey and at the Cooky Cat Test Katchen we found success. That, by the way "Katchen"is not a typo. It's just the way this Kitty rolls. "Kitchen" is just much too kittenish for this fussy culinary cat.

Anyhow, try this with some firm pears. Bosc or from your tree that stay hard for a long time.

2-3 pounds of trimmed pear pieces. Let to stand in some acidulated water to keep from browning. Prepare a brine with cider vinegar and clean water (1:2, please). Stew in a package (12 oz.) of fresh cranberries. Press the juice from the cooked cranberries, discarding skins. Add a cup of light brown sugar, 6 or so whole cloves, 6 allspice berries, a cinnamon stick, a pinch of salt. Heat to dissolve sugar. Then add the cut pear pieces and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Or, until slightly soften, but still crunchy. Leave to cool, jar and refrigerate.

HINTS: Careful, this is not for your regular near ripe or ripe pears. Those will turn to mush. A good mush, but here we're after a little tooth in our taste. Also, you can adjust the tart sweet factors to your taste. A recipe we've adapted from the Joy of Cooking called for 3 Cups of light brown sugar. Egads!