Sunday, October 16, 2011

Recipe: Spiced Pear Ice Cream (no machine required!)

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!


  1. Hi that is a very tempting picture I wish I can taste it right now but I guess the only way will be to make it my self. Thank you for bringing us such good things, and since this is made with fruit and has no preservatives this is now one of the new recipes in my book of favorites.

  2. I sounds delicious, but how is $4.50 per quart living on a "poor girl budget?" Try feeding a family of 4 on $527 a month of food stamps... Then I'll be impressed.

  3. Because I don't eat the entire quart in one sitting. A quart of ice cream for me will last several weeks, so to be able to enjoy a homemade dessert over several weeks for under $5 IS a real deal for me.

    Also, my job here is not to impress anyone, but to share my ideas of how to eat good food without having to resort to a lot of the unhealthy, processed junk that most people in my financial situation tend to eat. I share what I make in my own home to inspire others to get creative in their own kitchens with what THEY have on hand. If readers choose to follow one of my recipes instead, even better!

    But if you really must know, I HAVE been on food stamps before and know what it's like to literally have $0.48 to my name for weeks at a time. Even with a job now, I live paycheck-to-paycheck & still face some pretty tough times (just this month, I had to make a choice between paying my rent & getting my desperately needed asthma inhaler; I chose shelter and ended up very ill for 2 weeks, so believe me, I KNOW what it's like). During those times, I have to resort to some very humble foods - BUT, I try to make those humble foods as delicious & attractive as possible because it makes me feel good to have a nice meal.

    To learn more about me and how I do this, you're more than welcome to read my story under the About Me section, or follow my journey on SNAP at this link: The Tips section is also helpful for those who think I am not as "poor" as I claim to be, because those tips are what help me make the most of my food dollar.

    Back to the ice cream, though: like most people, when I have a few extra dollars to treat myself to something nice (like a pound of pears for $1), then I will do so and make the best of it. That's exactly what I did with this ice cream, and I'm enjoying every spoonful. Hope that when your situation improves or when you're able to make some of the tips found on my site work for your family, that you, too, will be able to enjoy some.

  4. Sounds delicious.... I'm making it this weekend

  5. This sounds yummy, I love pears :)

  6. Anonymous, what an icky comment! I feed a family of six on 550/month of SNAP. Does that make me somehow superior to you just like you let yourself feel superior to PG up there? Awful.

    This looks amazing and like something that would be fun to do with my kids, price tag be darned. Can't wait to try it, will report back!

  7. scored some free pears so I'm trying this this weekend!! *fingers crossed!* the hardest part looks like making the custard, so if I screw that up, at least I will still have yummy pear sauce :) Love your recipes, love what you do!! Thank you for the inspiration.

  8. I've never commented on your site before, but I've been making your recipes and recommending them to friends for over a year. My family of 4 could qualify for SNAP but we don't use it. We eat on less than $527 a month for a family of 4, and all that money is hardearned. I don't fault people who need it for using snap at all or think that makes me better than anyone, but I think that comment by anonymous was truly unnecessary and extreme;y rude. I appreciate your blog when all I could afford was potatoes and beans sometimes. I make homemade ice cream for my family all the time on a poor girl budget!

  9. Thank you Kimberly, this looks lovely! I can't wait to try it. My girls will love a chance to make ice cream.

    And Anonymous, I feed a family of 4 on $400 and that includes our health/beauty, cleaning, paper products etc. since I don't have the money for a separate budget and don't get SNAP. And I live in one of the most expensive areas in the country, so it's possible. Just remember that things like the ice cream are treats, not a weekly part of the budget and you can afford it!



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