Pear Vanilla Chocolate Jam

You‘re busy. You’re tired. But you’re still gay.

On a Saturday or Sunday morning, use this on buttery croissants. Keeps the kids happy, too.

When you’re having guests over, make a plain panna cotta for dessert and spoon a generous helping of this jam on top. Or, easier still, put it on a cheese plate, next to a sharp blue cheese such as Roquefort or Gorgonzola.

3 ½ lbs. (3 lbs. net) / 1600 g (1350 g net) ripe but still firm Bartlett pears

juice of 2 lemons

1 cup / 250 ml water

4 cups / 800 g white granulated sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 cup / 200 g Ghirardelli or other good quality semi-sweet chocolate or milk chocolate chips

Makes six 250 ml jars.


  1. Place the pears with the lemon juice in a large bowl; the lemon juice prevents the pear from discoloring and will help the mixture set. Add the water and sugar. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds; add the seeds and the vanilla bean to the pear mixture.
  2. Pour the mixture into a heavy pot. Stir over low heat until all the sugar has dissolved; then turn up the heat and boil rapidly, while stirring, until the pear pieces are translucent. If you prefer a smoother jam, use a potato masher or immersion blender. Make sure to stir constantly to prevent the sugar from sticking to the side or bottom of the pot and caramelizing. Check the temperature with a candy thermometer; the mixture will reach setting point at 221°F [105°C]. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, put a few drops of the mixture on an ice-cold plate to check the consistency; it should set within a few seconds. Take out the vanilla bean and discard.
  3. Clean six 250 ml jam jars and lids. Fill each of the jars with a thin layer of the pear mixture. Sprinkle some chocolate chips on top of it. Repeat the layering of jam and chocolate chips until all jars are filled almost completely. The jam should remain fairly pale, interspersed with partially melted pieces of chocolate. Wipe the rims of the jars with a wet paper towel. Screw the lids on immediately. The jam will keep for two or three months in the refrigerator.
  4. Variations

    Instead of vanilla, you can add 2 teaspoons of ground cardamom, cinnamon or dried ginger. If you feel like taking a walk on the wild side, add Armagnac (Cognac’s less expensive but more interesting cousin) or Poire Williams (a spirit made of Bartlett pears); just add ½ cup [100 ml] to the mixture at the very end of the boiling process.

    Posted by Ferd van Gameren

    Ferd van Gameren, a native of the Netherlands, moved to the United States chasing adventure and a graduate degree. Since then he has taught Latin, Ancient Greek and English at independent schools in Massachusetts and New York for quite a few years. After living in Canada for almost six years, he and his (Gays With Kids co-founder) husband Brian Rosenberg recently moved with their three children back to New York City.

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