Method

Choose very large pears that are not overripe. Peel them and toss them immediately into cold water to prevent them from darkening from the knife. Wash the peeled skins, cover them with water, add at least ten quartered pears (but not those that are intended for the confections), and cook over a high flame. After the water has sweetened and has become infused with the flavor of pears, add the pears intended for preserving. Cook them until they can be easily pierced with a straw, but do not overcook or let them fall apart. Drain the pears in a sieve, let them dry, and sprinkle them with sugar. Arrange the fruit with the stem end upward on a dripping pan covered with straw. Set in a summer oven for the fruit to firm, but do not let it dry out. Meanwhile, add ½ lb sugar for 1 lb pears to the water in which the pears were cooked and reduce until the syrup thickens. Remove the pears from the oven and, holding the fruit by the stem, dip each pear into the syrup. Sprinkle, if desired, with sugar and cinnamon, arrange on the dripping pan, and return to the oven. Repeat several times. When the pears have dried out sufficiently, sprinkle with sugar and pack into a jar after they have cooled.

*Smokva is usually translated as fig, but Molokhovets used the term for sweetened and dried fruit confections in general. See also the last section.

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