I have been making this sorbet for months, but am just now getting around to writing about it. It is, quite simply, one of the loveliest little things to ever come out of my ice cream maker.
It is so simple, a few ripe pears are pureed and then combined with simple syrup and pear brandy and churned in your ice cream maker. After churning, the mixture has transformed into this beautiful autumnal color and the sorbet tastes like biting into a juicy, ripe pear. The brandy keeps the sorbet soft, even after spending time in the freezer it remains the perfect scooping consistency. It is absolutely wonderful and a recipe that I will make again and again. I use a mix of pears each time I make this: Bosc, Anjou, Bartlett—whatever you are able to find.
This sorbet will make you appreciate just how amazing the pear is. And sometimes you need something like a pear to get you through these long Chicago winters.
Pear Sorbet (adapted from Canal House Cooking, Vol II–which you should really own if you don’t already)
- 5 ripe, juicy pears
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup pear brandy
Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
Peel, quarter and core the pears. Puree the pears in the bowl of a food processor until smooth, then transfer pear puree to a medium bowl. Stir in the simple syrup and the brandy.
Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the sorbet into a quart sized container with a lid. Place in the freezer for a few hours to firm up. This sorbet actually improves with age! I like it best on day #3.
February 2nd, 2010 at 11:19 am
You know, as cold as it is in NYC right now, I read this and thought, “wow, pear sorbet WOULD be nice!” – maybe it’s time to whip out the ice cream maker again. February, here we come!
February 2nd, 2010 at 11:35 am
This looks great! I’ve been a bit put off with my ice cream maker attachment to my Kitchen-aid lately, which always seems to prevent me from making ice cream, sorbets etc. It might be time to invest in an independent unit. Pear sorbet is such a lovely idea…
Anna @ unsweetenedcocoa says:
February 2nd, 2010 at 12:01 pm
Now I am completely regretting getting rid of my ice cream maker when we moved. (As Carrie from Sex in the City would say, “In a fit of fung shei.”) What was I thinking?!
That little line-up of gorgeous dusky pears is food-calendar worthy.
February 2nd, 2010 at 12:12 pm
This looks absolutely lovely! Do you think that a touch of cardomom would play well with the flavors?
February 2nd, 2010 at 12:16 pm
Hmm. That is a good question Phoo-D. I do think the flavors would be nice together but it would definitely take it away from the fresh pear vibe that is going on in the recipe. I think what I would do is experiment: Make the recipe as it is and then take a portion and stir in some powdered cardamom and see what you think. Let me know if you try it!
February 2nd, 2010 at 12:16 pm
And yes! keep your ice cream makers, or get one. One of the most important tools in any kitchen!
February 2nd, 2010 at 12:51 pm
When I first got my ice cream maker I made sorbet from just about any fruit I could. Pear was always the clear winner. None of that subtle pear flavor gets lost in the cold, as you would expect. It actually seemed to be more pear-y, if that is possible. And those little crispy pear ‘crystals’ seem to stay intact. Truly amazing.
Another winner, looking down your main page, was blood orange sorbet. The flavor was very good, but the color was unreal.
‘Ice Cream! The Whole Scoop’, by Gail Damerow has always been my bible and has a basic recipe (jumping off point) for just about anything you might want to try. I will definitely try your version with pear brandy. Sounds like the perfect winter addition.
Thanks, love your site, best food porn online! And great recipes too, those potatoes are brllliant.
February 2nd, 2010 at 1:04 pm
I was wondering – which pear brandy you like to use?
Heather @ chik n pastry says:
February 2nd, 2010 at 1:26 pm
wait – someone got RID of their ice cream machine??!! oh no!! I keep hearing of people wanting to buy them, not get rid of them! I haven’t used mine in a couple of months, but these pears you’ve lined up all nice and pretty are calling to me. though, maybe it’s the brandy?
February 2nd, 2010 at 1:41 pm
Hi Sue, I really like Clear Creek Distillery from Oregon. All of their eau de vie is exceptional. I’m not sure how widely it is distributed but I believe you can order it online. http://clearcreekdistillery.com/index.php
February 2nd, 2010 at 1:46 pm
as much as i love the sorbet itself, i also love those beautiful colorful pears!
all those pictures look awesome!
my spatula says:
February 2nd, 2010 at 3:57 pm
i love sorbet in the winter. just finished off the last of our satsuma sorbet – pear sounds like the perfect fill in.
February 2nd, 2010 at 9:44 pm
I just made this up today without a moment’s hesitation after I saw this post. I simmered a bit of fresh ginger in with the simple syrup. However I removed it before adding the sweet liquid to the pears and brandy. This sorbet tastes incredible!
February 2nd, 2010 at 9:45 pm
Hmmm. I think I’ll try this raw foodie style – quick frozen pear slices with frozen banana in the blender with the pear brandy and a little apple juice. Yum. Thanks for the idea.
Dawn (KitchenTravels) says:
February 2nd, 2010 at 11:38 pm
Oh, Tim. Those pears! Those colors! Simply gorgeous. I hope you never tire of me swooning over your photos… ‘cuz I ain’t gonna stop. ;) Ice cream maker has been on my kitchen “to buy” list for a while. But that list just keeps getting longer and longer!
February 3rd, 2010 at 7:08 am
I love so many things about that photo of those pears.
Cheryl Arkison says:
February 3rd, 2010 at 10:23 pm
How lovely. How perfectly lovely.
Ting Zhou says:
February 3rd, 2010 at 10:46 pm
Oh，how many kinds of pear in second image? Today i receive a box of Xiang pear，the place of origin is KORLA XINJIANG CHINA, it is green, small ,but very very sweet.
This is the first time i see ice cream made by pear. I will try it later.
Martin Manalansan says:
February 5th, 2010 at 5:03 pm
What kind of pears do you recommend?
February 6th, 2010 at 9:51 pm
Hi Martin- Any pear that tastes good to you can be used. I love Bosc and Anjou and have been using them in this recipe. Just make sure the pears are ripe!
February 9th, 2010 at 8:57 pm
gah, i love pears but i’ve never even thought of making pear sorbet. looks amazing!
February 10th, 2010 at 11:19 am
that sounds amazing! I’ve been dying to get an ice cream maker for two years now! I think maybe this summer I may splurge – and this recipe will def be on my list to try!
I love your photos by the way…they completely captivate me!
February 12th, 2010 at 4:20 am
The pear sorbet looks so tempting !! I love that you added pear brandy!!
MMMMMMMMMM,… Many greetings from Brussels, Belgium!
Elizabeth @ Dapper Paper says:
March 3rd, 2010 at 7:02 pm
this looks amazing! And i have some pears so this is gonna go down this week.
Question: what could I substitute for the pear brandy? as in, maybe a fruit juice?
March 3rd, 2010 at 7:16 pm
There isn’t a substitute for the brandy. Beyond the flavor, the alcohol in the brandy is what makes this sorbet remain soft and scoopable. Without the brandy, the sorbet will freeze solid. Soooo, My suggestion would be to churn the ice cream just before you plan on serving it so that it remains softish and then freeze whatever leftovers you have in Popsicle molds.
Hope that helps!
Elizabeth @ Dapper Paper says:
March 4th, 2010 at 9:58 am
Ah yes, science, i totally forget about you sometimes!
If I don’t use the brandy, i guess i’ll have to make it and eat it all immediately! (oh no, don’t make me!) But i did note you said it taste best later, so I may hunt down some of that brandy.
i know, you were thinking “she is totally trying to mess up the recipe”, but thanks for your advice! :)
Claire Z says:
June 16th, 2010 at 4:55 pm
I know it’s a bit late to comment on this but I was wondering how many servings this produces? I’m wondering if this is enough for 5 people or if I should magnify the recipe. Thanks!
June 16th, 2010 at 6:46 pm
Hi Claire, Never too late! i think this would easily serve 5 people.
September 21st, 2010 at 9:36 pm
Pear sorbet? I would have enevr thought! What a great idea!!
Annia Stewart says:
November 9th, 2010 at 10:43 am
I love the idea of adding cardamon powder I am trying this recipe with canned pears, using the syrup instead of adding water, including some lemon juice & grated rind of the lemon. Hope it will be sucessful.
November 9th, 2010 at 10:48 am
Hi Annia, I have bad feeling about canned pears here, the texture will be completely different and it will be very sweet. But let me know what happens!
Annia Stewart says:
November 9th, 2010 at 10:50 am
Thank you for that prompt reply as I pray it will work
November 25th, 2010 at 11:43 am
I’ve made this twice already and will be serving it as a light dessert option after our Thanksgiving dinner today. I added fresh ginger to the simple syrup as it cools, as I think it’s a great compliment to the pears. Will try this with fresh thyme next time.
December 24th, 2010 at 4:25 pm
I just made this today to serve at Christmas dinner tomorrow along side an upside down pear cake. My neighborhood liquor store didn’t have pear brandy so I used light rum instead. I also added some ascorbic acid (a crushed vitamin C tablet) to preserve the color and added some fresh ginger when making the simple syrup, which I strained out. It is delicious, as you promised. I’m trying really hard to leave it alone until tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe.
April 17th, 2012 at 2:30 pm
I have 9 super ripe/soft Bartlett pears! I wanna try this recipe but here’s my dilemma. I want it scoopable from te freezer but i want the kids to be able to enjoy it to. I’m thinking this is too much brandy fr them. Can it be made with less alcohol but still be enough to keep it from completely freezing? Does it not even matter how much is added either way it shouldn’t be fed to young kids (like under3yrs). I also saw a recipe elsewhere made with sparkling wine do u think that is for the same reason I not allowing it to completely freeze?
April 17th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
Hi Christine! Generally speaking, people don’t like kids consuming alcohol. If they were your own kids, you could obviously make the choice yourself (I wouldn’t worry about giving a scoop of this to my kids, I’d probably reduce the alcohol to 2 tablespoons) But if you are serving to others, maybe just save this for a time where you’re getting together with adults. You need the alcohol to keep the ice cream from freezing solid. Your only other option would be to serve it right after churning, when it is still soft. It won’t have the same flavor without the booze, but will still be nice.
October 2nd, 2012 at 9:31 pm
Oh hello! I made my version based on this recipe and omg. I had poached four pears with a vanilla bean in simple syrup so I already had the liquid. I used four very ripe pears, raw and pureed, added some syrup, Tuaca — no pear brandy — and a tablespoon of cream then churned. Incredible. Thank you!
April 10th, 2014 at 4:00 pm
Hi, love the pear sorbet idea – can I use any brandy if don’t have pear brandy???
April 10th, 2014 at 4:58 pm
Hi Fiona, Sure! It will just taste different. But I bet it will still be good.