This is incredibly good. Try a flavorful grappa -- my favorite is Grappa di Freisa di Valdivilla, "Mondaccione", by Coppo.
Combine the sugar and water in a nonreactive saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add it and the pods to the water. Add the pears, bring to a simmer, and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove pears and purée. Add the grappa or eau-de-vie and lemon juice to the poaching liquid, then stir in the pear purée. Let cool.
- 4 pounds very ripe Williams or Comice pears, peeled and cored
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
- 5 ounces grappa, or Poire Williams eau-de-vie
- Juice of 2 lemons
Freeze in an ice cream maker, or in a metal container for a granita texture.
YIELD: 10-12 servings
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Chuck Taggart email chuck (at) gumbopages (dot) com