Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pear Caramel Ice Cream

Since Tara's birthday was on the 4th of July, this week was her week to suggest a dessert. She marked about 6 different ones in my ice cream cookbook. To be honest, I was deciding between the mango sorbet and the pear caramel ice cream. I went with the pear caramel because I happened to find immediately ripe pears while the mangos were still a bit hard like grenades. The recipe was really easy as you just sauteed pears and sugar, added cream, blended the entire thing and then threw it in the ice cream maker for about 30 mins. Despite the easiness of the recipe, people rated this as either the best or second best dessert I had made over the course of dessert night.

All in all, I think it was a great success. Check out the in progress photos (yes, ChuThis, I'm learning). I didn't get any finished product photos because it disappeared too fast.

The pears and caramel sauce cooking before the cream is added:


The almost finished ice cream mixing in the ice cream maker:


Pear Caramel Ice Cream (from The Perfect Scoop):

3 medium-sized ripe pears, peeled and cored
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (180g) sugar
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
A few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice


Dice 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.

Once the sugar becomes deep amber, stir in the pear pieces. Some of the caramel will seize and harden, but as you cook the pears, use a heatproof utensil to stir them and melt any bits of hard caramel. Continue to cook the pears for 10 minutes, until the pieces are cooked through.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup (125 ml) of the cream, then mix in the remaining cream, along with the salt and a few drops of lemon juice.

Let cook to room temperature, then puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Press the mixture through a mesh strainer with a flexible rubber spatula to remove any tough pear fibers.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Makes about 1 quart (1 liter).

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