San Francisco has handed me some winter sorbet weather recently: very sunny skies, and strong but warm winds.
Back when I lived in Los Angeles, we called it Santa Ana winds, but I don’t think the same lingo applies to Northern California. Up here, people call it earthquake weather. But that’s a bit over-dramatic and scare tactic-y for my taste. Hence, I’m calling it winter sorbet weather.
While raspberry zinfandel sorbet absolutely knocked it out of the park for Thanksgiving dessert, I must admit I might never have gone down that road had I not first experimented with the overabundance of Warren and Bosc pears I received courtesy of Frog Hollow Farm.
In an effort to ensure they didn’t go bad, which is a problem I constantly face with pears even though I love the juicy fruit, I put some to use in a sorbet.
My inspiration came from a scoop of pear sorbet I had enjoyed a little over a year ago in Paris on a brisk Autumn day. It wasn’t too sweet, but tasted exactly as I imagined a juicy, frozen pear would.
I started with some very juicy, ripe pears – a combination of Warren and Bosc pears – and added only a little simple syrup flavored with spicy ginger and fresh lemon zest to brighten things up a bit. Then I added a bit of brandy to further round out the flavors while also preventing crystallization in the sorbet thanks to its alcoholic content. I had apple brandy on hand, but pear brandy or even regular brandy will do.
I enjoyed a few spoonfuls right out of the ice cream machine, but found the flavor deepened nicely after a couple days in the freezer. Enjoy!
Gingered Pear Sorbet
Makes 1 quart
2/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. water
1 Tbsp. finely chopped ginger + 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
1 tsp. lemon zest
7 ripe, juicy pears (I used 4 Bosc, 3 Warren)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. apple or pear brandy
In a small pan over medium high heat, boil sugar, water, 1 Tbsp. chopped ginger, and lemon zest until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool.
Peel, halve and core pears. Rough chop, and puree pears in food processor until smooth. Pour in ginger syrup, remaining 1 tsp. grated ginger, cinnamon, and brandy. Pulse a few times to combine. Transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate until well chilled.
Process in ice cream maker per the manufacturer’s instructions (mine went for about 30 minutes until it had the consistency of soft serve). Transfer sorbet back to airtight container, laying a piece of plastic wrap over the top and pushing it down until it touches – and seals in – the surface of the sorbet. Freeze for at least a few hours to firm up. I enjoyed the sorbet best after about 4 days, after the flavors developed a bit more.
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