Pears are in season, and pear ice cream is one of my favorite flavors. If you own an ice cream maker, making your own pear ice cream is very easy. Just blend all the ingredients and pour the mixture into your ice cream maker. The ‘official’ way to make ice cream requires you to cook a custard first, but if you don’t mind eating raw egg yolks then that step can be skipped and you will still end up with very nice ice cream. The advantage of making your own ice cream from scratch is that there are no artificial flavors, just actual pears.
The most important thing to remember is to use ripe pears, and it pays off to buy them a week in advance if needed as they will ripen after you buy them. To obtain firm but pliable ice cream and just a touch of lemon, I add a small amount of limoncello. The alcohol will prevent the ice cream from freezing into a brick.
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Sgroppino is a mixed drink from the Italian region of Veneto. The name has been derived from the word sgropìn, which in the local dialect means sorbet. A coworker introduced me to sgroppino in 2009, and I liked it at once. Sgroppini have a very fresh and light taste and are very nice to drink, especially in hot weather. Be careful as they may be too nice and you may not be aware how much alcohol they contain (about 15% by volume, depending on how strong you make them). Because they are so refreshing, sgroppini are great as a palate cleanser before dessert. If you don’t like heavy desserts, you could even serve just the sgroppini.
The original ingredients of sgroppino were lemon sorbet and grappa. In modern recipes prosecco (which comes from the region of Veneto as well) or another sparkling wines is added, and the grappa is often replaced by vodka (probably because it’s cheaper). Richard McGary mentioned he likes to have limoncello with sparkling wine, which gave me to idea to use limoncello instead of vodka or grappa to make sgroppini. I like this even better than sgroppini made with vodka or grappa, as the limoncello deepens the lemon flavor. Continue reading “Sgroppino”