Toffee Pears

Remember, remember the 5th of November … it’s Bonfire Night, so hands up who thinks I’m making a quirky variation on toffee apples to munch along with your jacket potatoes and ginger parkin?

(Actually, that’s not such a bad idea … but), No! Unfortunately, my toffee pears started life as a recipe for pear jam. Needless to say, I’m not such a good jam-maker. When it comes to pears though, neither is my husband (which is my only slight consolation at the moment!).

Our fruitless hunt for the elusive pear jam started just over six years ago when we took a ‘last-chance-on-our-own’ holiday about two months before the birth of our first daughter. We travelled around Normandy in France, stopping for our final night in a beautiful old farmhouse near Barfleur. At breakfast, we were served a quite exquisite, homemade confiture de poire. I remember venturing into the kitchen to thank our host for providing such a delicious speciality, only to be shooed out with a wave of a tea-towel and a scolding for allowing ‘les mouches’ to buzz in through the open doorway!

My husband made the first attempt to reproduce this jam back home. Failing to reach anything resembling a setting point, it nevertheless made an excellent pear puree for our daughter. Several children later, I recently found a recipe for “une confiture qui me plaît bien” … a highly-recommended recipe for pear jam from France itself, the very place of our first encounter! I eagerly assembled a collection of Conference, Rocha, Comice and Williams pears and promised my husband a long-overdue re-acquaintance with the jam of his dreams.

To my chagrin, his doubts were confirmed. “Is it supposed to do this?” he asked, attempting to retrieve his spoon from the sticky caramel in the jam jars.


Hmmm. Perhaps not.

But … but, but but … it really is quite tasty, in a toffee-pear sort of way!

So, I now have 3 jars of ‘toffee pears’ to use.

Any suggestions?!


Leave a comment


  1. Sounds very good! Marble it in an American Coffee Cake with chunks of sliced pears. I’ve just done an Apple cake on my blog. I would use the cake part of that recipe and try it out.

    I have been following your recent exchanges on Rose’s blog regarding baking the flour. It is very interesting. I continue to
    use our original formula of just bringing the flour to 130 C and sieving. I use the lower protein flour I found at the flour mill place and it works very nicely for that flour. I suppose using a higher protein would require more changes for correct texture.
    It is very interesting all the work you have continued to pursue. Great work Kate!

  2. Ooh, I hadn’t thought of marbling. Thanks, Melinda!
    Is it the Shipton Mill flour you use?

  3. Yes , it is the Shipton Mill Flour.


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