"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
I adapted two recipe’s from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop for this one, taking elements of his Pear-Caramel Ice Cream and adapting for the non-dairy Pear Sorbet. I haven’t churned it yet, but it tastes pretty amazing so far.
While the slightly burnt taste of caramel can be off putting to the less adventurous eater, I think it’s a natural combination to the sweetness of the pears. You can also finely chop in some candied ginger or drizzle a little chocolate sauce on top to make it even more mouth-watering.
If your pears aren’t completely ripe, you should still be ok, just stew them a little longer. Rock-hard unripe pears won’t taste good. Also, making caramel is one of the more nerve-racking things in life, right up there with brain surgery and being shot out of a cannon. Have faith and patience, it’ll turn out all right. It’s supposed to seize up and harden and look ruined before it melts back down nicely. It helps to have a wooden spatula, especially one with a flat bottom.
Pear Caramel Sorbet
4 big ripe pears (2 1/2 pounds, 1 1/4 kg) peeled and cored – my pears were small, I used ~8
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar – white is best, but you can top up with a little brown
1 1/4 cups (305 ml) water
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice – add more to taste
dash of coarse salt
(optional) 1/4 cup (25 g) very finely chopped candied ginger
Cut the pears into 1/4-inch (1-cm) pieces.
Spread the sugar in a large, nonreactive, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook the sugar over medium heat, watching it carefully. When it begins to liquefy and darken at the edges, use a heatproof spatula to very gently stir the sugar, encouraging the heat of the liquefied sugar around the edges to moisten and melt the sugar crystals in the center. If any sugar clumps up on the end of the spatula, scrape it off on the side of the pan.
Once the sugar is completely melted and becomes deep amber, stir in the pear pieces. Almost all of the caramel will seize and harden. Don’t worry! Continue to cook the pears, stirring with a heatproof utensil to melt any bits of hard caramel. The pears will continue to dissolve the caramelized sugar. Continue to cook the pears for 10-15 minutes, until the pieces are cooked through and tender when poked with a paring knife. If still slightly tough, cover for a few minutes.
Transfer the cooked pears to a blender and add the water, lemon juice and salt. Purée until smooth. Add more lemon juice if desired.
Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If adding finely chopped candied ginger, do so during the last few minutes of churning, or stir in after churned.