Jason has this theory that in order to convince people that he knows how to speak french, all that he has to do is omit most of the letters in a word, and say the rest while never fully closing his mouth. So, “bonjour” is “bohjuh” and “aigre-doux” (bitter-sweet) is pronounced “ahra duh.” This does not work, in case you thought it might. It just makes him look a little like he’s having a stroke. If you make this aigre-doux, you should totally pronounce it in a crazy way because you totally can. Because you made it.
This recipe came from a cookbook called The Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant. I’ve never seen an aigre-doux (by that name) before this cookbook, and I’m really excited about this one. There’s also a butternut squash aigre-doux and a cranberry aigre-doux that I can’t wait to try. The mixture of sweet and salty/spicy is really incredible, and I’m really excited to save it for winter.
from The Preservation Kitchen by Paul Virant; makes 4 pint jars or 8 half-pint jars
1 1/3 cup white wine (the cookbook recommends a gewurtztraminer, which is what I used.)
1 3/4 cup champagne vinegar
3/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon honey
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped, then cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns in each pint jar
5 bosc pears, peeled and cut into chunks
In a boiling water canner, simmer 4 pint jars or 8 half-pint jars and their lids and bands. Put the peppercorns in each jar, then pack in the chunks of pear. Ladle the hot mixture over the pears. Leave about a half inch of headspace in each jar, wipe the edges with a clean towel, then place the lids on top and gently screw on the bands. Process them in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Let them cool completely before testing the seals.
To serve, put the aigre-doux into a small pot and heat it slowly, stirring constantly. Allow the juice to thicken up and the pears to soften. Then, serve it over a strong blue cheese with some crusty bread. It’s like fall on a plate!