Friday, August 6, 2010

Red Pear Sorbet

Over the weekend I encountered pear sorbet, technically it was "poire et cidre" at the Havre aux Glaces stand located in Atwater market. I love ice cream shops with interesting flavors and this is considered one of Montreal's best. The pear was calling my name but I am stubborn and could not pass up a dark chocolate ice cream that day. Needless to say, the thought of that pear sorbet has been stuck in my head for most of the week - any excuse to go to the market.

Thankfully I found some brilliant red Stark Crimson pears while grocery shopping so I put them to good use in this delicious sorbet. I have used a small amount of beetroot to color the sorbet a lovely shade of pale vintage pink. The tiny wedge came from some beets that I had steamed to slice in our salads and wraps. This step is just for color but it does leave a little beetroot taste in the finished sorbet. To prevent staining your hands red, use disposable gloves when trimming the beets.

1 envelope (1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatine powder
1/2 cup water
4 Stark Crimson pears, or your choice of pears
Small piece of steamed beetroot (about 4 grams/0.14 ounce)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar
Pinch of sea salt

To steam the beetroot: After trimming and peeling 5 small beets, fill a pot fitted with a steamer basket with enough water to touch the bottom of the basket (1/2-1 inch of water). Bring the water to a boil and cook the beets covered for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. Remember: You will have leftover beets for use in other recipes as the sorbet only calls for a small amount just for coloring.

In a small pot, use a whisk to stir the gelatine into the water. Let this stand to allow time for dissolving while preparing the pears. Gently peel the pears with a vegetable peeler and trim the ends. Quarter the pears and remove the seeds.

Add the pears, beetroot and lemon juice to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until you have an extremely smooth puree. Strain the puree into a bowl. Use a soup ladle to rub the puree against the strainer basket helping it to move through faster. This should make about 2 cups of pear liquid.

Whisk the water and gelatine, then add the pear liquid, agave and salt. Over medium heat, bring the temperature of the mixture up until just warmed while whisking.

Use an ice cream freezer and follow the manufacturers instructions or pour the mixture into a small shallow baking dish; cover and freeze overnight. Take the sorbet from the freezer, break up the pieces and add them to the bowl of a food processor. Work with the sorbet at this point: allow it to melt a little and use a spoon to break it up into smaller pieces. Puree until smooth. Put the sorbet into a container that has minimal surface space at the top and cover. Freeze until ready to serve.

Serves 4

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