This recipe will make 2-3 quarts (I got two). The recipe I was working from )Martha Stewart Living, 1994) didn't say anything about sterilising the jars. I went ahead and did it anyway, though I suppose with the high acid content of the fruit and the addition of booze, it might have been unnecessary. My advice is to do it anyway.
The pears will need to sit for at least six weeks, under refrigeration to soak up all the brandy flavour. I made these when I originally bought the magazine and as far as I know, no one got botulism-but that doesn't mean you should be careless with canning. I'm not sure why they insist they should stay under refrigeration, but I'll take the recipe author at their word. The last time I made these I used an entire bottle of Asbach brandy for the task, which as I recall lead to my husband walking around mumbling about very expensive brandied pears. Thank God I didn't go for the Armagnac. This year, I used the very inexpensive, though surprisingly good Christian Brothers brandy that costs about nine bucks a bottle.
You Will Need:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
5 1/2 lbs. seckel pears (about 20)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cups brandy
Fill a large bowl halfway full with water. Add the lemon juice. Carefully peel pears to retain shape(keep stems on) and place in the water.
Combine sugar, cinnamon sticks and three quarts of water in a large pot. Drain and add the pears and bring to a boil. (Note: the pears will brown slightly from the cinnamon-this is to be expected)When pears boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 10-30 minutes, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and distribute evenly between jars.
Turn the heat up to high under the syrup and boil until reduced to 2 cups (about 50 minutes). Remove from heat. Strain through a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth. Distribute the syrup evenly between the jars. Top off jars with brandy to cover the pears. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 weeks (the longer the better).