Pear and ginger are one of my most favourite flavour combinations. You know the ones you always turn to, and they never seem to get old? That’s what the marriage of pear and ginger is to me. I had purchased some pears with the intention of making ice cream, and waited dutifully for them to soften. A few days passed, and they were still hard as rocks and equally scentless, so I waited a few more. When I checked on them, half had turned mushy and rotten, and the other half were still hard and flavourless. Ugh!
I decided to go ahead with the hard ones in the hope that the cooking process would intensify the pear flavour, and thankfully, the final result did not disappoint. A custard base with pears softened in brown sugar, embedded with little nuggets of candied ginger, it’s lovely on its own, or in a float with gingerale.
Poached Pear & Candied Ginger Ice Cream
3 ripe bosc pears, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
In a pot, cook pears, brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice until soft. Transfer to a blender and puree. You should end up with about 4 cups of puree.
Heat cream, milk and vanilla in a saucepan until it begins to boil, then turn heat to low. In the meantime, combine white sugar and egg yolks in a bowl, whipping until it forms yellow ribbons. While whipping rapidly, pour 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the eggs; then pour the eggs into the milk, stirring, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Combine pear puree and custard and chill overnight.
Churn ice cream according to ice cream maker instructions. In the last five minutes of churning, add crystallized ginger. Transfer to a container and allow to harden in freezer for a few hours.