Slice up a baguette, spread on ricotta cheese and top with this sweet treat, and you’ll have a simple, crowd-pleasing appetizer.
1 1/2 lbs fennel bulbs with fronds
3 pears, cored and diced into 1/4″ pieces
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1 cup green Kasmiri or golden raisins, chopped
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp orange zest
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
5 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup mild honey
1 Place a plate in the freezer for a set test and sterilize your jars. Peel and core the fennel bulbs. Slice the bulbs lengthwise and stalks crosswise into thin strips, reserving the fronds separately. You should have about 5 cups of sliced fennel bulb and stem and 1 packed cup of fronds. In a large stock or heavy-bottomed pot, combine the fennel, pears, water, juices, raisins, zest and pepper. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat and cook until the fennel is tender but still firm, about 15 minutes; turn off the heat and gradually stir in the sugar and honey until they are completely dissolved.
2 Return the fennel mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and let it cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and test for a set using the chilled plate. If it hasn’t reached its setting point, continue to cook the mixture for another 5 to 7 minutes, then test again.
3 When the preserves pass the set test, ladle into hot sterilized jars and position the lids and rings and heat-process for 10 minutes and store.