Wine Works Wonders, Once Again

I think I have eaten more ice cream and sorbet in the past three months than I have at any previous time in my entire life.  I’ve had the ice cream maker for five years, and we certainly used it plenty last summer, but I don’t think a week has gone by, since May, that we didn’t churn something up at least once a week, if not twice.  This week we may get up to three. 

Our latest creation, and my current favorite, is pear sorbet.  It’s so incredibly simple that it barely needs to be described.  1. Cut up ripe pears into chunks, throwing away the core and the stem (and the little stringy part that connects the two).  2. Put them in a saucepan with a squeeze of lemon juice, a glug of simple syrup, a vanilla bean, and several big sloshes of wine. 

Yes indeed, wine is once again making an appearance in my fruit sorbets.  However, whereas during the summer I used red wine in berry and stone fruit sorbets, the deep red color complimenting or enhancing the already rosy nature of the fruit, now that fall’s pomme fruits are taking over the markets, I’ve switched to white wine.  Not only does its lack of color not muddy the pristine, white inner flesh of the pommes, but its clean, light flavor is a better match to the crispness of apples and pears.  A red wine would be too deep and mellow, in my opinion.

But back to the sorbet: we have a saucepan full of pears and flavorings.  What’s to be done with it?  3. Put the saucepan onto medium heat and cook the pears until they are soft and mushy.  4. Take the vanilla bean out of the pan, dry it off and save it for something else (like poaching more fruit).  5. Put the rest of the contents of the saucepan into a food processor and whiz it up until it’s a loose pearsauce.  (This step is really only necessary because I didn’t peel the pears.  I like the added texture of the peels, but I doubt that removing them would be a disaster.  If the pears were peeled before cooking, the mixture could probably just be mashed with a potato masher, right in the pan).  6. Tip the pearsauce into a tupperware container and chill it in the fridge for at least a day.  7. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker.  Voila: sorbet.

The sorbet may be simple, but it is incomparably delicious.  It tastes like the essence of pear–the lemon juice, vanilla and wine only enhance the natural flavors of the pear, adding a sparkling background, but not dominating at all.  And, just like red wine in berry sorbets, the white wine provides an amazingly luxurious texture, making each bite as smooth as velvet.

We have only two servings of this ambrosia left; now I just have to create a meal worthy of serving as a prelude to it.

Published in: on October 17, 2007 at 12:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

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