By request, I take a brief pause in drafting other posts I’m planning to share a simple dessert I mentioned and pictured in my last post: pear sorbet.
During the summer I enjoyed introducing a few of my friends on the McDougall board to the joys of banana “ice cream.” Now I love banana ice cream. But I have a tree full of pears, folks. It’s a grafted tree, so it produces three different varieties and pollinates itself. First come the Bartlett, then the Bosc, then the Anjou. It’s a funny looking sort of little tree that spread out instead of way up, because I tried to train it along the fence so I could reach the pears without having to climb a ladder. The fancy name for that is “espalier,” which means “shoulder” in French. That kind of worked but I wasn’t able to be consistent about it. So some of the branches grow straight up. Some of them drape over the clothesline, and the gate to the vegetable garden. It’s been living in my yard since the year of the MS diagnosis. And every season it happens to produce pears, I love them more than ever. They are like eating liquid sunshine.
Those of you with MS or some other chronic illness elusive to conventional treatments are probably familiar with people recommending folk remedies, or somewhat “out there” alternative remedies (even though now we all know this “alternative” is by far the most effective one). Like bee sting therapy, for instance. (I know it works for some people, but I am allergic to bees, so that never appealed to my sense of adventure.) My favorite one, though, comes to me through a friend and client from the famous clairvoyant Edgar Cayce. She claimed he recommended those with MS to eat pear cores. Now that’s something I’m willing to try. Every year as I’m slicing up pears for pear sauce, pear butter, pear cobbler, baked pears, or pears on my morning oatmeal, I munch on the cores. I like biting into the star that is the center of the fruit. I like thinking about how eating that star hidden inside a galaxy of sweet white goodness might help me heal. It certainly can’t hurt anyway. Extra fiber.
When I bought a Yonana machine this summer as a birthday present for my son Mike, I read some of the recipe ideas on their site. One guy said “try frozen pears. I know it sounds weird, but I kid you not. They are great.” He was right.
Moonwatcher’s Pear Sorbet
First, cut up and freeze some ripe unpeeled Bartlett pears. To transpose Shakespeare’s famous words about mortality into culinary context, “ripeness is all.” I recommend you get your Bartletts as close to this color as possible.
If you buy some that are not this ripe (which is likely since pears typically don’t ripen all the way before being picked), you can hasten that process by placing them in a paper bag. Check them every day. The ripe Anjous would work really well, too. The Boscs might be too grainy in texture for the sorbet. I save them for eating and baking and drying. They are wonderful all three ways. They taste like vanilla liquid sunshine.)
I put the pieces on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or wax paper, for at least an hour (this way they don’t stick to each other), then place them in a freezer bag or container. The fruit should be frozen for at least four hours before making the sorbet. Overnight is probably best.
For one serving: Pour out the equivalent volume of about one banana, cut up, (probably two small pears or one large one). (If you’re using the Yonana, you’d want to put in at least the equivalent volume of two bananas.)
Add a splash of almond milk and a splash of vanilla extract.
Wait about five to ten minutes for the fruit to soften a little.
Whir it up, stopping and pushing it around with a spatula as or if needed.
I think I might like this even better than banana ice cream. The texture is lovely. It’s wonderful just as is, but I also like it with some buckwheat groats and a little ground nutmeg sprinkled on top. Maybe a few more fresh pear pieces on the top.
So if you like pears, give this a whirl. If you’re using the Yonana, try tossing the frozen pear pieces with the almond milk and the vanilla in a bowl while they are waiting the five to ten minutes to defrost a little, then just put the coated pieces into the machine.