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Spiced Pear and Walnut Chutney

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Walnuts and pears say classic English Christmas to me.  I envision this Spiced Pear and Walnut Chutney served along with some sharp farmhouse cheddar and oat biscuits, or spooned on top of baked brie.  It makes the kitchen smell like spiced cider.

The chutney takes on a deep brownish tone from fresh walnuts.  If you want to reduce that look and get a paler golden tone, use packaged walnuts, and add them to the chutney after it’s cooked.   I like the dusky look of it, though.

Walnuts right out of the shell are one of the great pleasures of holiday season eating.  They are so crunchy and the flavor is much richer than you get from the pre-packaged nuts.  I don’t have a nutcracker so I just used a small hammer to bash them open.

Fresh pears are so cheap right now, and I get double duty out of themfirst I display them in a bowl to enjoy their beauty for a few days, and then, when they start to get fragrant and soft, I cook with them.

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3.34 from 3 votes

Spiced Pear and Walnut Chutney


  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4 cardamom pods cracked
  • about 5 ripe pears any variety, peeled and rough chopped, about 4 cups, after chopping
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 star anise
  • 1/2 cup rough chopped walnuts


  • In a heavy bottomed pot toast the mustard seeds, coriander seeds and cardamom pods for a few minutes over medium heat, stirring or shaking the pan constantly.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and mix well. If your pears have very little natural juice you may need a little water to get it started. Bring to a bubble, then turn the heat down and continue boiling for about 30 to 45 minutes, until the chutney is reduced and thick. I cover the pot for the first half, then uncover. Just keep cooking until the chutney is as thick as you want it to be. It will firm up a little more as it cools.
  • Fish out the star anise and fill a small jar or jars with the chutney, and let cool completely. Cover tightly and refrigerate until needed. You can keep the chutney for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.



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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    October 13, 2017 at 8:19 am

    I made this up and am a bit surprised abut the seeds – perhaps I did them wrong, but the chutney ends up tasting “gritty” to me because of the seeds. Are they supposed to dissolve into the chutney? I did toast them in the pan first – maybe too long?

    So love the idea of this – would like to fix it! Thanks for your help!

    • Reply
      October 13, 2017 at 8:29 am

      They don’t dissolve, Lyn, but it is probably a matter of taste. My husband loves to bite down on Indian spices because you get little bursts of flavor. But you can certainly grind them, or use ground spices next time for a smoother experience.

  • Reply
    Magnolia Verandah
    December 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Don’t know how I missed this little gem but so glad it finally turned up in my “in” box. I love this type of chutney just perfect at Christmas with some cheese or on a cold meat sandwich. Yum Yum!

  • Reply
    December 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    oh, boy, do i love chutney! it’s kinda sweet, but it’s perfectly appropriate for eating with the main part of the meal and compliments so many things! great recipe, sue!

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    December 19, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Sue, this sounds jsut wonderful. I make a pear chutney every year for Christmas and serve it with a rosemary/garlic pork roast and potato dumplings – my kids go crazy over this. I love the spices you use in yours and might add a bit of the coriander to mine. That’s one spice that I just love but never thought of using it in chutney, thanks!

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    December 19, 2012 at 8:09 am

    this is EXACTLY what we’ll be eating in our English kitchen this christmas!

  • Reply
    Cathy at Wives with Knives
    December 19, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I love a good chutney and this one looks delicious, Sue. Some cheese, crackers and a glass of wine…doesn’t get better than that. Happy Holiday!

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    December 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Yes! With sharp white cheddar – this is perfection.

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    December 19, 2012 at 3:17 am

    OH I love the nutty walnuts with the flavors of mustard seeds against the pears! this looks and sounds amazing

  • Reply
    December 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Yum, this looks divine. So classy and winter-y.


  • Reply
    shannon weber
    December 18, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    oh you know i love pears, too. 🙂 this sounds SOOO good; i’d snuggle right up to this if i had it here.

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    December 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I love a good chunky chutney and pears – oh yes! What I’d give for a bite of a perfectly ripe pear, cooked into this, right about now!