Sorbet de Poire

Pear Sorbet

In the neat and tidy village of St Désirat in the parish of St Joseph the elegantly pruned fruit trees – cherries and apricots, peach and pear – grow in every available space. As you drive out towards the Caves Cooperative beside the railway line you’ll come upon the distillery of Jean Gauthier. If you’ve time it is fun to visit his shop to sample the liqueurs and eaux-de-vie that he makes from the local fruit. If M. Gauthier is not too busy he may take you across the road to the distillery where he produces these luscious liquids.

I use a Gauthier eau-de-vie de poire (some bottles of which contain a whole pear – they make excellent presents) to spoon over a scoop or two of this pear sorbet, to make what Bernard Perrier at Barattero calls a ‘trou Ardéchois’.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg(2 lb) ripe dessert pears, Cornice, William or Passa Crassana
  • 50–85 g(2–3 oz) sugar
  • a strip of lemon peel
  • a vanilla pod
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 2–4 tablespoons eau-de-vie de poire

Method

Peel, core and quarter the pears. Dissolve the sugar in 275 ml(½ pt) water and boil fast with the lemon peel for 4 minutes. Remove the lemon peel and add the vanilla pod.

Poach the pears in the syrup for 10–15 minutes until completely tender. Remove the vanilla pod and cool the pears and syrup by standing the pan in cold water.

Purée the pears and syrup in a processor or blender. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the eau-de-vie.

Whisk the egg white until stiff, then whisk in the extra sugar. Fold into the pear purée; turn the mixture into a lidded plastic box and freeze.

To serve, scoop the sorbet into a processor and whizz until smooth. Scoop into small stemmed glasses and spoon a little eau-de-vie de poire over the top.

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