Prefer a non-alcoholic version? Try this Fresh Pear Sorbet.
Yield: 1 quart
- 2 lbs. Bartlett, Bosc, or Anjou pears (about 4 pears)
- 1 1/2 cups extra-dry or brut sparkling wine or champagne, divided
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Quarter, core, peel, and roughly chop the pears. Put the chopped pears, 1/2 cup of the sparking wine, and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixtures comes to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, still stirring when you think of it, until the pears are tender and the liquid has thickened a bit, about 10 minutes. You are cooking the mixture for two reasons: to thicken the sugar syrup, which will improve the texture of the sorbet, and to "set" the color of the pears (if you don't cook them, they will oxidize very quickly and the final sorbet will be a not-very-attractive brown color instead of a lovely, creamy white. Be sure to stop the sparkling wine bottle and put it in the fridge so it's chilled when you need to add the other 1 cup.
- Whirl the mixture in a blender until perfectly smooth. No matter how much you whirl it, the distinctive grainy texture of the pears will still come through.
- Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let it come to room temperature. Cover and put in the fridge until chilled, usually a few hours (you speed this process up by putting the pears in a metal mixing bowl and nesting that bowl inside a large bowl filled with ice water and stir the mixture until it's chilled).
- Stir in the remaining 1 cup of sparkling wine and freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. If you don't have an ice cream maker, transfer to a large metal pan or metal mixing bowl and put in the freezer. Stir the mixture every 30 minutes or so, paying special attention to scraping the frozen bits along the side, until it's all frozen. Once it's all frozen, whip it with electric beaters to lighten the texture, if you like, and refreeze before serving. Note that since there is alcohol in it, it won't freeze hard, but stay beautifully smooth and scoop-able.