I am of the mindset that cheese makes everything better. Each day, at least one of my meals will feature some form of cheese and I enjoy finding recipes that act as a supplement to my beloved fromage. The pear butter is sweet and rich and is perfect paired with knob of creamy blue cheese on a peppery cracker.

Louis Lozowick, Still Life #2, image: 26.3 x 33.7 cm, sheet: 36 x 51.2 cm
Lithograph in black on woven paper, 1929, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Louis Lozowick was a Russian born artist who immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century. He produced many lithographs during his 50-year career in his signature streamlined style. He was influenced by urban life, the Russian Constructivism movement, and de Stijl. De Stijl is a term given to a body of work produced in the early 20th century in the Netherlands. The subject is abstracted to it’s essential form and colour with emphasis on horizontal and vertical lines (1). Lozowick’s Still Life #2 was produced at the end of the de Stijl period (which ended in 1931). Many of the aesthetic values embodied by the Dutch artists are found in the lithograph. The tablecloth is a dizzying array of squares and lines with the sliced apple and napkin devoid of tonality. The contrast between black and white is pushed to the limit to produce patterns and forms of positive and negative space. It was through the balance of light and dark with linear forms that Lozowick sought to depict the urban geometry of the grand American cities he visited.

Fruit butter is not in fact real butter (as in the dairy variety) but a fruit paste that is similar in texture to butter. It belongs to the same category as jam but is much softer in consistency and is made from the whole fruit and crushed (2). The most well-known fruit butter would have to be apple butter which was a popular meal accompaniment on colonial Pennsylvania Dutch dinner tables (3). Apple butter is often associated with the Appalachian region and is also known as boiled cider applesauce (4).

{Caramel Pear Butter}

adapted from Bon Appétit
makes about 2 c of butter

4 TB apple juice
1 1/2 TB fresh lemon juice, divided
5 large ripe pears
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp coarse kosher salt

Add the apple juice and 1/2 TB of lemon juice in a large pot. Prepare pears by peeling, coring, and chopping into 1/2 inch pieces. To prevent the pears from browning, add to the juice mixture as soon as you mix pears into juice mixture in pot as soon as pears are cut, to prevent browning.

high heat cook the fruit until the juices begin to boil. Stir continuously for about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat and simmer until the pears are tender. Continue to stir frequently for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and pass the pear through a sieve or food mill back into the pot. Add the remaining lemon juice, brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Over medium heat bring back to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Reduce heat and continue to simmer until thickened and reduced to 2 cups. Be sure to stir ever couple of minutes to prevent the bottom from burning.

the hot mixture into sterilized canning jars. Leave 1/4 of an inch of space from the top. Wipe the rim clean with a damp cloth and screw on the lids. Process in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes. Will keep in a dark cool place for 1 year.