The ice cream-making bug has hit me again. I thought I would be safe, now that the weather has turned from sweltering to pleasantly warm. Then I remembered that I’m one of those silly folks who craves frozen confections more in the colder months than in the warmer ones. And with all the warm spices and rich flavors of the approaching holidays popping up all over the place (how did we get here so fast?!), I couldn’t help but start to experiment.
On my last $25 Shopping Cart trip to Raley’s, I’d scored some gorgeous French Butter pears for the wee price of just $0.99/lb. My love for pears being so great, those little guys were consumed as afternoon or evening snacks in no time (nothing better than a chilled, sweet, super juicy pear, no?), so I made a stop on my way home one day and picked up a few more. My hope was that they’d last long enough to use them in a nice dish.
They didn’t. These sweet little pears just had to be consumed immediately! They were quickly peeled, cored & chopped, then tossed into a saucepan with plenty of cinnamon & other spices to make a pear version of an applesauce.
My tiny kitchen instantly smelled of autumn, the sweet aromas that wafted through the air reminiscent of homemade pies made from scratch.
Naturally, I had to capture this feeling of all things comforting and sweet into an ice cream that can be enjoyed almost year round, and the result was fantastic! It’s like having an apple or pear pie a la mode, only without the crust. I had intended to add some extra chopped pears for added texture, but I didn’t end up having enough to do so. Still, despite my preference for chunks of stuff in my ice cream, the smooth, creamy result of this version was quite fabulous.
In order to make the best tasting version of this ice cream, I do recommend using fresh, ripe pears. However, if you’re jonesin’ to make this on the off-season, or if you can’t find affordable pears, you can certainly use the jarred or canned variety. As always, I use nonfat milk in my ice cream and it still comes out very creamy, but if you’re a die-hard 2% or Vitamin D fan, feel free to use your favorite kind of milk. The end result will only be that much creamier. Now, let’s check out this super simple recipe!
Spiced Pear Ice Cream (makes about 1 quart; total cost of recipe: $4.50)
1 lb fresh, ripe pears
1 pint heavy whipping cream
4 egg yolks
1 c nonfat milk
3/4 c + 2 T raw sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground allspice
1. Rinse, peel and core the pears. Chop into 1″ cubes and toss together with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and all the spices. Place in a medium saucepan and cook over medium low heat for about 6-7 minutes, until the pears have completely softened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining sugar until smooth. Heat the milk & cream in a saucepan, making sure the mixture doesn’t come to a boil. Carefully pour the heated cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking vigorously to prevent the egg from cooking. Return the custard to the saucepan and cook over medium low heat for about 8 minutes, stirring constantly. The custard will be ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Cool in an ice bath for about 10 minutes.3. Using a hand blender, purée the pears until smooth. Combine the purée with the custard and mix well. Pour the mixture into a deep metal pan and place in the freezer for about 45 minutes. Remove from freezer, stir the frozen bits into the rest of the mixture until smooth and return to the freezer for 30 minutes. Repeat this process every 30 minutes for about 2 hours, making sure the mixture is completely smooth before returning to the freezer.
4. Pour the mixture into an airtight container and cover with a thin layer of plastic wrap. Freeze until ready to use. Garnish with cinnamon sticks or drizzle caramel sauce on top, and enjoy!