Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Fresh Pear Sorbet with Poire William

Yesterday, I walked home via Whole Foods with the intention of picking up Moro blood oranges and some coconut milk in order to make a tropical sorbet for our Monday night Bachelor fest.

I also walked away with Jazz apples, three pears, a canister of olives from their olive bar (my not-so-secret addiction) and some smoked salmon trimmings.

Does anyone else find themselves veering off their grocery list on a regular basis?

As I ambled my way down the snowy streets, I walked past my favourite wholesale florist, paused and then decided that I hadn't treated myself to any flowers in months. (If you're in Toronto and haven't done so already, check out the 6 or so wholesale florists on Avenue by Davenport. Their prices are fantastic! I always go to Yang's.)

Whenever I usually by flowers, I usually go for bright and vibrant colours, but last evening, as the snow fell gently on the street outside, the orchids and roses all done up for Valentine's Day all seemed too garish and vulgar all of a sudden. Instead, I opted for a mix of cream and white carnations, freesia, hypericum berries and this totally fascinating flower whose buds look like the trip of an asparagus.

Vase from etsy seller Pretty Random Objects
If you know what this is, please fill me in!

Carrying that bundle of white flowers home through the deserted snow-laden parks made me begin to rethink my sorbet choice. Suddenly, it felt as though a vibrant pink sorbet had no place in my evening. I wanted something equally pure, crisp and soft on my tongue - something that tasted like the sweetness of a calm winter night.

I had the pears, albeit not entirely ripe ones. I had a bottle of Poire William (pear eau de vie that tastes like a gorgeous summer evening in the garden).

And I had Nigel Slater to inspire me, and an ice cream maker to make my job easier.

When we sampled dessert, there were groans of pleasure all around. Sometimes the absence of words speaks volumes.

Pear Sorbet with Poire William

(adapted from Tender II)


1 cup water
½ cup sugar
3 pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
1 lemon, cut in half, seeds removed
2 tbsp Poire William


1. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add pears and lemon halves. Reduce heat and let simmer until pears are perfectly tender.

2. Remove from heat. Remove lemon halves from mixture. Pour everything else into a blender (or, if you destroyed yours yours broke that time you were trying to make clementine smoothies, a food processor) and blend until totally smooth. Stir in Poire William. Place in a bowl in the fridge to let cool.

3. Once cool, pour all ingredients into the canister of your ice cream machine and process according to manufacturers' instructions.

Sweet, intensely peary and floral. The perfect ending to brighten a snowy February weekday.

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