2 1/2 pounds baking apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 pounds ripe pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 x 1/2 inch strip orange peel (orange part only)
Position rack in center of oven and heat to 350F. In a large saucepan, combine the apples, pears, cider and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer then cover. Simmer until fruit is very tender, about 35 minutes. [This will depend entirely on how ripe the pears are…it may take an hour or so if pears are firm.]
Carefully and in batches puree hot fruit in food processor. Mix in sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Transfer mixture to baking dish (preferably glass) and add orange peel. Bake, uncovered, until mixture is dark and thick, stirring often, about 2 hours or more. [You are looking for a consistency that’s thick and similar to apple butter.] Remove from oven and carefully remove and discard orange peel.
Transfer “butter” to a wide bowl and allow to cool completely. [May be made 1 week ahead; once cool, cover and chill until ready to serve.] Makes about 3 1/2 cups.