Apple sauce and sour cream are the most popular toppings for potato latkes, but have you ever considered shaking it up? Galician pear butter is creamy like butter, but it's actually dairy free! In honor of the first night of Hanukkah, the Federation's Jewish Food Experience shares a delicious recipe for the topping, created by cookbook author Emily Paster from The Joys of Jewish Preserving© (2017 Quarto Publishing Group. Photo by Leigh Olson).

Galician Pear Butter

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours

Yield: 4 cups


  • 5 pounds pears, preferably Bartlett, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Place the pears in a large stockpot and add a cup of water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. (The boil may be hard to see because of the volume of fruit. Listen for the sound of large bubbles.)
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is very soft and breaking down, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool slightly.
  4. Puree the fruit using an immersion blender or, working in batches as necessary, transfer to a food processor and puree.
  5. Return the pear mixture to the stockpot, and add the sugar. Stir to combine, and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the mixture simmer until it is reduced by about half and is quite thick, about 2 hours. It may bubble quite a bit; use a splatter screen on the pot as necessary. As it thickens, stir more frequently to prevent scorching. When the butter is much thicker, and will mound on a spoon without giving off juices, it is done.

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