When we lived in California, we’d occasionally drive to the Lark Creek Inn in Marin for a decadent breakfast, back when they still used many of Chef Bradley Ogden’s recipes, but after he’d moved on to Vegas. At some point, my husband bought Ogden’s Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner cookbook (from 1991!), and we started enjoying a few of his delicious breakfast recipes at home. Apple Cottage Cheese Hotcakes have stood the test of time at our house, and we usually serve them with homemade apple butter. Today I realized I’m all out of apple butter (good thing we just picked 10 pounds of apples yesterday), so we enjoyed them with yummy pear butter instead.
(Yield: 1 dozen pancakes)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, separated
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup large curd cottage cheese
2 tablespoons melted butter
Grated zest of one lemon
3/4 – 1 cup peeled and grated tart apple
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolk, milk, cottage cheese, butter, and lemon zest.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture, stirring until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
In a small, dry, clean bowl beat the egg white with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg white and the grated apple into the batter until just a few traces of the egg white are still visible. Be careful not to over mix.
Grease a griddle or large nonstick pan on moderate heat. Use a 1/4 cup of batter for each hotcake and pour onto the hot griddle. Cook the hotcakes on the first side until they are puffed and full of bubbles, looking dry at the edges, then turn and cook for one or two more minutes.
My daughter refers to my pear butter as “Beau bear cheek butter,” because it’s as silky smooth and delicious as her baby cousin’s cheeks! But you don’t have to just take our word for it — pear butter is easy to make at home on your own! Since it cooks down quite a bit, I recommend making a batch when you have at least 4 pounds of pears, but you could easily cook more. I also enjoy spicing it up quite a bit, with vanilla bean, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, etc., but you can use as much or as little of these as you like, or have on hand.
(makes about 5 half-pint jars)
4 – 5 pounds of ripe pears, peeled, cored, and quartered (this produced 7 cups puree)
lemon juice to prevent the cut fruit from browning (optional)
1 1/2 cups – 2 1/2 cups of brown sugar*
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
* Note: White sugar works fine too, or you can do a mix of brown and white sugars. I recommend starting with the smaller quantity of sugar and then adding it by the 1/2 cup as needed.
Place pears in a large pot with optional lemon juice, and cover with water. Cook over medium heat for 45 mins. to an 1 hr.
When pears are soft but before they break apart, strain pears and puree in blender or food processor. Pour out the cooking water. Return puree to pot. (Although I started with the pear pieces in a crockpot, I ended up transferring the puree to a big dutch oven on the stovetop, which reduced the liquid a lot faster.)
Add spices and sugar to puree and stir. Heat to a low bubbling simmer and stir occasionally until mixture thickens. This will take about an hour, but depends on the surface area of your pot, and level of heat. The butter will be smooth, and drip slowly from a spoon when it’s done.
While pear butter is cooking, prep your canning jars, lids, and rings according to manufacturer’s instructions. Heat a large pot of water to a boil.
When the pear butter is done cooking, pour into jars leaving about a 1/4 inch of head space. Place lids and rings on jars and lower into the pot of boiling water. Make sure the water covers the lids and boil jars for about 5 mins. Remove from the water and let cool on a rack.