6 or 7 medium-size firm pears (leave the skin on)*
2 1/2 cups caster or superfine sugar
7 ounces water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 tablespoons liquid pectin (optional)**
* You can not judge a pear by the color of its skin. Although a few varieties change from green to yellow as they ripen, others do not change colors at all. Purchase fresh pears that are firm without bruises or spots. Pears are ripe when the skin near the stem yields to gentle pressure. Pears ripen from the inside out, so do not buy soft pears.
** Use only the liquid pectin called for in this recipe. Powdered pectin and liquid pectin are not interchangeable in recipes.
Rinse the pears. Cut off any bad places (bruises, etc.). Remove the stalks but leave the skin on.
Cook the pears in boiling water, whole and unpeeled, until soft. Remove from heat and let cool just until easy to handle.
Peel off the skin while still slightly warm. Sieve the pear pulp using a food mill or a metal spoon and a wire mesh strainer. You should have 3 cups of pear puree.
The amount of sugar used should be about 3/4 that of the puree. Dissolve the sugar in 7 ounces of water. Boil syrup for a few minutes until it reaches 218 degrees F. Then add the pear puree, lemon juice, and liquid pectin (if using). Continue to cook, stirring, until it reaches a rapid boil; boil for a few minutes, then reduce heat to low. Cook for an hour or so, stirring often enough so it does not stick to the bottom, until the mixture reduces and thickens. It will be ready when the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Fill bowls, molds, or hot sterile jam jars. Let cool completely, and refrigerate until set.
Chef’s Note: To mold the perada into a form that will hold its shape for slicing, you can add liquid pectin, or include an apple along with the pears while cooking. This will help the perada to set fully so it can be sliced, since pears are naturally low in pectin. Pour into molds and allow to set fully. Once set and completely cooled, un-mold and slice.
To serve, un-mold and either set whole on your serving platter or slice and serve with a variety of cheeses. NOTE: Create a cheese platter with the best cheeses you can afford.
Makes about 16 ounces of jelly.