Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Pear Sorbet

My day job feels Important. With a capital letter. The things I do at work matter; I feel the responsibility to get it right, and the consequences if I get it wrong. In terms of Doing Good in the world, I can plausibly say to myself that I'm on the side of the angels - and that's wonderful, it's a privilege. But every now and then, I desperately wish for the luxury of something ...not really mattering. Sometimes, I want the biggest decision I have to make to be what kind of sandwich I want for lunch. Actually, that is really quite a big decision.

That's why I like this blog, and cooking in general. I can put time and energy into creating something and if it goes a bit wrong, then it doesn't really matter. When your pear sorbet is slightly too lemony, that's not really a disaster - you've still got delicious pear sorbet. And next time you can just add less lemon. See? It all works out.

I'm sorry that today's recipe is another for the freezer. Before you complain, I know it's chilly outside, I know there are other sweet treats than those which use our new ice cream maker. But we're obsessed! It is our alpha and omega, our permanent pudding preference and our solution to chronic over-purchasing. We've already made the chocolate sorbet twice and given that the pear and chocolate combo is one of my favourites (ahem, see herehere and here), we couldn't resist trying out this Jamie Oliver recipe. The amount of lemon he suggested was slightly overpowering - poor pears, they didn't stand a chance - but the sorbet was still bright, zingy and delicately refreshing. Ah, ice cream maker. What can I say? It's love.

Pear Sorbet
Adapted from Jamie Oliver here

- 750g soft pears, peeled, quartered and cored (note - I got myself in a muddle about whether they should be weighed before or after preparation and wasted minutes of my life I'll never get back. The amounts I used were prepared, ie: peel/quarter/core them, then weigh to 750g)
- 150g caster sugar
- 150ml water
- a lemon
- 40ml vodka (or he suggests grappa, but we didn't have any)

Put the sugar and water in a large saucepan, bring to the boil then turn down the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the pears and simmer for another 5 minutes (or a couple longer if yours aren't really ripe, like ours).

Take off the heat and leave it to sit for 5 minutes, then grate in the zest of about half the lemon and add the juice of half. He recommends slightly more but ours came out quite lemony, so go cautiously and taste. 

Now you have a quick bit and a tedious bit. Quick bit - put in the food processor and whiz to a puree, hurrah! Tedious bit - then push this puree through a sieve into a big bowl or jug. I desperately wanted to skip the sieving bit but it truly is worth it - I tasted some of the fruit mush left in the sieve at the end and it was really grainy, which is not what you want in a sorbet.

Slosh in the vodka then put the whole lot in the fridge to cool down. Once it's cold, add to your ice cream maker and churn for about 20 minutes or until frozen! He actually says to do it without the ice cream maker, just mushing it up with a fork every half hour, but we are lazy and obsessed so obviously went for that.

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