I started making this jam late last summer, after a more than abundant harvest of golden habañero peppers from my garden.
It took a few test batches to get the ratio of peppers to pears right, but after realizing I only needed six ingredients, five if you take out the bourbon (but why would you?), once I had the final recipe established, it was perfect. The sweetness from the pears, followed by the low heat from the peppers, not only wakes up your taste-buds, the release of endorphins from the capsaicin in the peppers gives your brain a nice little jolt!
6 ripe Bartlett pears
3 golden habañero peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 fresh vanilla beans, scraped
¼ cup bourbon
2 tbsp. pectin or unflavored, powdered gelatin
1) Add the pears, peppers and sugar to a medium sauce-pan and cook over moderate heat until the sugar is melted and the mixture begins to bubble.
2) Stir the scraped vanilla paste and whole vanilla beans into the mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the jam to cook for 30 minutes or until you see the color deepen to light amber.
4) Stir in the bourbon and cook an additional 15 minutes.
5) Remove the vanilla beans from the jam and using an immersion blender, blend the jam to the desired consistency (less to make chunkier, more to make smooth).
6) Stir in the pectin or gelatin and remove pan from stove.
7) Allow jam to cool thoroughly and then spoon it into glass jars. Don’t forget to share a jar with your friends (they’ll thank you)! Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to two months.