Loyal readers will know that last week I had my heart set on David Lebovitz's Caramelized Pear Ice Cream. I had 6 pears that seemed to refuse to soften for the better part of the week. Finally... finally, seven days after purchase, three of them were (finally) ripe enough to try the recipe. All week long I had dreamed of smooth, creamy, cold caramel-ly goodness perched atop a sugar cone.
I suppose it all started a couple months ago I made David L.'s Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream. Oh my goodness! It was spot-on perfection. So creamy: melt-in-your-mouth caramel that remained scoopable even 4 days later. Except that a particular 6-year-old turned off the freezer and everything melted. There was just less than a cup of that caramel ice cream goodness left and, not one to waste anything, I refrigerated it and poured it into my iced coffee the next morning, which only made me fall more madly in love with the ice cream.
Except that I think I must have been stirring constantly for two hours. And readers, you know me by now, I am gung-ho to do that once, but next time I try a shortcut!
You see, when I made the Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream my caramel seized when I added the butter, then seized again when I added the cream custard and both times the recipe instructs the cook to keep stirring over low heat until the caramel melts. All this was before I was blogging, so I didn't time it, but it took too long.
So when I discovered Caramelized Pear Ice Cream, made with no butter and without a custard base, I thought I'd found my shortcut. Except that this ice cream tastes like caramel and pears. I know what you're thinking, "Duh." I guess I was hoping that the pears would be more of a carrier than a flavor. And not only are they a flavor, but the ice cream has a little bit of pear grittiness. It is a unique flavor combination, and letting in 'ripen' in the freezer for a day or two is a must to help the two distinct flavors combine. As someone with more foresight than me might except, this isn't the right thing to melt and drizzle into your coffee.
Oh, it has perfect scoopabilty, even after 5 days in the freezer, and being without a custard base, it is a very simple recipe. It might just make the perfect gourmet ending to a dinner with friends, but me, I think I'm going to have to make that Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream again. I'll be sure to let you know when I do. And in the meantime, if you make anything that might satisfy a caramel craving, please tell me all about it.
Caramelized Pear Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.
Makes 1 quart.
3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 ripe pears, peeled and cored, then cut into a 1/4" dice
2 cups heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon kosher slat
a couple drops of lemon juice
1. Spread sugar evenly in heavy-bottomed pot (something with at least a 2 quart capacity). Heat over medium heat. Don't be too anxious to stir. When you can see that the bottom layer of sugar has melted, stir carefully with a heat-proof spatula to encourage the sugar crystals on top to melt. Stir occasionally until the sugar has melted and become a deep caramel color. (It goes without saying that melted sugar is wicked hot, so be careful.)
2. Pour all of the diced pears into the sugar at once. Stir to combine with the caramel. Your caramel will seize. It's okay. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. At this point all the caramel will have melted and the pears will have softened. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in 1/2 cup of cream. Then stir in the rest of the cream, the salt and the lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature.
4. Pour into blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. (Using my Cuisinart, I did not find it necessary to chill before churning. Churning took about 20 minutes. ) The consistency will be softer than soft serve. Transfer to 1 quart container and ripen in freezer at least 24 hours.