1. In a nonreactive medium saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, ginger, cayenne and salt and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Add the pears, cover and cook until they are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Strain and transfer the pears to a bowl. Return the liquid to the pan.
2. Add the cranberries to the liquid. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the berries just begin to pop, about 3 minutes. Strain into a bowl and add the cranberries to the pears. Return the liquid to the pan and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cranberry mixture and let cool. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
The chutney can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.