Pear Caramel Ice Cream

December 14, 2009 at 7:24 am 15 comments

Pear Caramel Ice Cream

I know it’s not exactly ice cream season any more, at least not here in Philadelphia.  Unfortunately this is yet another recipe that slipped to the bottom of the drafts pool and just now is resurfacing since the weather is cold enough to keep me inside and at my computer with greater frequency.  To make up for the untimely fashion in which I’m getting around to posting this decadent Pear Caramel Ice Cream, I’ll throw in another cookbook review with today’s recipe. 

Falling Cloudberries Cover Diptych

Falling Cloudberries, written by globetrotting Tessa Kiros, stopped me in my tracks when I saw its beautiful tapestry cover and the striking photos of both the food and places of Tessa’s travels inside its pages.  I was thrilled to have a such a lovely book to have tucked on my bedside table to read a little bit each night.  Tessa has written the book in a style that melds memoir with making delicious dishes out of local ingredients.  Perfect, right? 

Inside Falling Cloudberries

Well, while the book is a real stunner and the stories within its pages heartfelt and poetic, I always judge a cookbook not by its cover, but by the recipes in its collection that I test.  I have to be blunt: the recipes in Falling Cloudberries are not really worthy of the price on the dust jacket.  While I love the cultural context in which Tessa chose her recipes, the reality is that the ingredients in many of them are quite hard to find and I couldn’t really think of any substitutes to try for the ones that did get me itching to make them.  In the end, I tried the recipe for her potato salad and for this ice cream.  The potato salad was such a disappointment I’m not even going to post that one.  The original recipe from the book’s pages for this Pear Caramel Ice Cream was also a huge disappointment with the first batch I made, mostly because the caramel process Tessa presents is, in my humble opinion, misguided and resulted in a grainy consistency and not very sweet flavor. 


I decided to make a second batch using my own caramel technique and, lo and behold, the flavor of this ice cream proved to be outstanding!  The pear is soft and smoky from being steeped in the hot caramel and the caramel itself adds an unmistakable yet subtle golden richness to the cream while also adding a little chewy texture and a punch of flavor when drizzled in at the end of the churning to create little veins of gold in each scoop

Scoops of Pear Caramel Ice Cream

So with the right tweaking, I’m sure there are several recipes worth a look between the gorgeous covers of Falling Cloudberries.  But you must be an adventurous cook willing to make the effort in order to use this book for its recipes.  That being said, if you enjoy food more in spirit than in process, as many a foodie does, this is a book well worth having for its graceful storytelling and poignant photography.  It would make a wonderful gift here at the holidays for the foodie traveler on your list or as a luxury purchase for yourself.  Falling Cloudberries may not be a workhorse in the kitchen, but it certainly is a worthy piece of eye candy in the world of culinary reads. 

Ice Cream and a Book

Pear Caramel Ice Cream
Loosely adapted from Falling Cloudberries

1 C. sugar
1 1/2 C. heavy whipping cream
2 large very ripe pears, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped

Begin by making the caramel.  Put 1 cup of sugar in a heavy saucepan over very low heat.  Swirl it around every minute or so until it turns light brown.  Begin stirring as the sugar starts liquefying.  Once the lumps are gone, stir vigorously (do not leave it or it will boil over and burn!) for another two minutes.  The color should be a rich brown. 

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add 1/3 cup of warm water.  The caramel will sputter and steam as it hardens.  Return the pan to very low heat, stirring constantly, until caramel is liquid again. Add the pears to the pan and stir constantly, cooking until soft, about 3-4 minutes.   Take off the stove and use a slotted spoon to remove the pears, allowing the caramel to drip back off into the pan.   Puree the pears in a food processor or blender until relatively smooth.  Set aside.

Put the half cup of sugar, cream, milk and vanilla scrapings/pod  in a medium saucepan and heat over medium until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm.  Fish out the vanilla pod and discard.  Using an electric mixer, whip the cream mixture for several minutes until the mixture thickens and you notice an increase in volume. 

Fold in the pureed pears and half of the slightly cooled caramel.  Pour the mixture into your ice cream machine and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.  Just before removing the ice cream from the machine, drizzle in the remaining caramel and allow it to mix in slightly for about 30 seconds.  Put ice cream in an air-tight container and place in your refrigerator freezer until firm. 

(makes 1 quart)


Entry filed under: Cookbook Reviews, Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , .

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15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Food-Fitness-FreshAir  |  December 14, 2009 at 11:13 am

    This sounds delicious…It may not be ice cream season, but I believe we’re still at the tail end of pear season! A bummer to hear about the recipes in the cookbook because I do enjoy pictures, especially when their corresponding recipes actually taste as good as they look. Thanks for the review!

    • 2. Jennie  |  December 14, 2009 at 8:42 pm

      It is indeed the tail end of pear season so get out and gobble them up while you still can. 🙂

  • 3. Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks)  |  December 14, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    It’s always ice cream season, and this flavor sounds lovely!

    • 4. Jennie  |  December 15, 2009 at 8:05 am

      Brittany, you’re my kind of girl…ice cream 365 days a year! 🙂

  • 5. Vegetable Matter  |  December 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    So nice to read an honest review. Some books are better for inspiration than the actual recipes. Cudos for adapting the recipe instead of just tossing the book. Your ice cream sounds delightful, and I love your falling snow!

  • 6. Lia Chen  |  December 16, 2009 at 8:25 am

    The ice cream looks so delicious! Great pictures, love it … 🙂

  • 7. leaannbrown  |  December 16, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I live in cold Colorado and any season is Ice Cream Season. Love this recipe and will have to give it a try.

  • 8. rebecca  |  December 16, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    wow great icecream congrats on being top 9 and i love your blog

    • 9. Jennie  |  December 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca! 🙂 Glad you stopped over from Foodbuzz!

  • 10. The Klutzy Cook  |  December 16, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    It’s definitely ice cream season in Australia and this looks perfect. I’ve been looking for some new recipes to try. Thanks.

  • 11. tastyeatsathome  |  December 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    I’m of the opinion that ice cream is an all-season treat. Of course, I do live in Texas, and it’s just not THAT cold here…so maybe I’m biased. But I have some frozen pears left over from earlier in the season, and this would be perfect. Besides, the caramel flavors make it seem more holiday-like!

    • 12. Jennie  |  December 17, 2009 at 7:01 pm

      Hmmm, Texas would be a good place to be for an ice cream fanatic…maybe I should move there! 🙂 Very good point about the caramel flavor having a hint of the holidays to it. Really though, it’s a wondeful bit of deliciousness any time of the year.

  • 13. Kevin  |  December 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    Pears and caramel are a great combo and they would work so well in an ice cream!

  • 14. Michael  |  January 4, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Sounds delicious! I’m going to try this asap!

  • 15. Michael  |  November 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    After months and months, I finally got around to making this at my restaurant because it’s finally pear season again. DELICIOUS!! And I got requests to make it again.


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