This pear sorbet recipe caught my attention for its clever sophistication. Rebecca Franklin, who writes a french food blog on About.com, adds two additional ingredients, that cause it to stand apart. First she adds a small amount of ground cardamom, which readers of this blog know is kind of a spice of the moment for me. Here it adds a bit of complimentary dazzle to the pear flavor.
Then she adds eau-de-vie de poire which I think is the perfect finishing touch. Pear brandy reinforces the inherent pear flavor of the dessert, which is of course the point of making it. It is easy to forget that cold dampens our perception of taste and little tricks like this can help assure the intensity of flavor we are imagining, when we set out to make frozen desserts.
The alcohol in the brandy adds a satisfying note of complexity to the sorbetto, and has the very desirable property of not freezing. This helps prevent your otherwise sophisticated, adult dessert from turning into a very big Popsicle.
Last but not least, both the cardamom and the pear brandy expand the sorbet’s bouquet pleasing your nose as well as your taste buds.
Like all sorbets this is a simple and foolproof recipe. Unlike many, it exhibits a real mastery of flavor design, which with a tiny bit of effort, you can be the beneficiary of.
One of the best things about making ice cream at home is that of all the many foods you can cook, it is both very forgiving and very open to experimention. Once you learn a small set of basic techniques you can let the mad scientist in you run wild.
Last night I wanted to make some ice cream for dessert. After looking in my refrigerator I saw that I had some half and half, some buttermilk and some Meyer Lemons on hand. Also the idea of a caramel appealed to me at that moment. So I went to iloveicecream.net (what an awesome website! 🙂 ) and found two recipes I could mix and match from to make ice cream from what I had on hand.
I primarily used the Burnt Orange recipe to see how to make a citrus caramel and the Buttermilk recipe to find out that the buttermilk is added in after the custard is heated up on the stove. So here is what I came up with. Note this ended up being a relatively low fat, low sugar recipe.
1 Large Meyer Lemon zested and juiced. Try to have around ¼ - ½ a cup of juice.
½ cup of table sugar
¾ cup of half and half
¾ cup of buttermilk
2 egg yolks
¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Combine half the sugar, and the 2 egg yolks and salt in heat proof, medium sized bowl. It needs to be big enough to hold the whole recipe.
Combine zest and half and half in a saucepan and bring almost to a boil. Stir so that mixture doesn't burn. Remove from heat.
Now we are going to make a simple caramel from the juice and sugar. In a heavy bottomed saucepan add half the sugar to the lemon juice. Bring to a boil over a medium low heat. Let the mixture boil until it starts to brown, swirl the mixture occasionally. I found that I had to add a tablespoon of sugar after awhile to kick it over the point of caramelizing. Once its starts to brown it does so quickly, so start stirring with a fork. You want to go for at least an orange brown color, but brown it as deeply as you wish, just keep it moving so that it doesn't burn. When you are finished remove from heat.
Slowly add about ½ cup of the half and half/zest mixture to the caramel, whisking vigorously. Mixture will bubble and steam. when things calm down, add the rest in a thin steady stream, continuing to whisk. I prefer to use a fork for all this whisking as there isn't enough custard to fully engage a whisk. Return the caramel to the stove and cook over a very low heat until everything is well mixed and hot.
Remove mixture from heat and in a series of small trickles pour into the bowl containing the egg yolks, whisking vigorously. The point here is to combine everything slowly enough so that the eggs don't overcook into scrambled eggs. If you are leery of this process you can use a more traditional tempering method.
Pour the combined mixture back into the caramel saucepan and cook over a medium low heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens. 170 degrees Fahrenheit on a reliable instant read thermometer is good. Do NOT let it come even close to boil.
Pour mixture into a clean bowl and stir in the buttermilk and vanilla.
If you have a freezer/compressor ice cream maker you can pour the mixture into it as soon as you would like and freeze as per the manufacturers instructions. One pint wont take more than 20 minutes or so to freeze.
If you have freezer bowl style maker, refrigerate the mixture until its cold, at least 2 hours, before making. For other pre-chilling methods click here.
So how did it turn out? Well I wont be entering any ice cream competitions with this recipe but it did the job, everyone forced to try it (little persuasion needed), liked it. I found the citrus caramel and buttermilk flavors worked very well together as I had hoped. Mission accomplished.
This ice cream freezes hard after an extended period in the freezer. Microwave for 10 seconds to soften before scooping and serving.
Though I found the recipe plenty sweet for my taste, if you have strong sweet tooth that would be the first thing I would suggest changing. Maybe add a 1/4 to 1/3 cup more sugar. Next I think I would try heavy cream in place of the half and half or maybe add tablespoon of cornstarch to smooth out the texture a bit more.
A good video from finecooking.com on making caramels.
Clotilde DuSoulier at Chocolate and Zucchini entitles her post, and very refreshing and delicious recipe “Lemon Kefir Ice Cream” I hope she will forgive me for dropping the Ice Cream part. Not so much for accuracy (who cares really), but because I have been neglecting my frozen yogurt recipes section and kefir is close enough. 🙂
This is a very simple, low fat recipe that, as Clotilde points out, has numerous delicious substitution possibilities. For example, any citrus fruit in place of lemons. She uses Meyer Lemon, The Queen of the Lemon Family. I know this to be a fact, as the tree in my backyard reminds me copiously twice a year. You can use other fermented milks, buttermilk, or yogurt instead of kefir is you wish. Any sweetener you would like can take the place of agave syrup: Honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, or mix of all the above, etc.. And finally a splash of Limoncello or other alcoholic flavoring of your choice would not be out of order.
First off I know this image is gigantic, but I don’t care, I love that old metal ice cream can.
I’m always on the look out for interesting lemon recipes because I have a Meyer Lemon tree that keeps on giving, a giant, bad hair day, rosemary bush and fresh ginger in house, most of which ends up going bad and getting replaced in an ongoing entropy feedback loop. When I ran across Katie’s recipe I knew I had to try it. I am happy to report it tastes as good as it looks.
Normally I would just link you over to recipe at this point, but I thought it might be helpful to list the ingredients in American quantity equivalents.
1 cup sugar
1½ cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half and half
Juice 4 lemons
Zest 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, very finely grated
Note: The above will (i think) be less sweet than Katie’s version as castor sugar is finer than American granulated sugar. But I tend to cut back on the sugar used in most recipes.