As part of my seasonal column on cold weather ice creams — see previous recipe for mulled wine ice cream here – this week I’m featuring a delightful pear-pecorino.
Seldom do oddly-paired ice cream flavor combinations live up to the hype (prosciutto ice cream? Don’t think so!), but this one, created by dessert guru David Lebovitz author of my favorite ice cream book The Perfect Scoop, surpasses it. The delicate sweetness of the pears plays off against the salty sharpness of the pecorino. If you don’t have access to pecorino, parmigiano reggiano is a fine substitute.
David recommends very finely dicing the cheese into rice size bits, rather than grating it. This gives the finished fruity custard a nice chewiness.
Pear Pecorino Ice Cream by David Lebovitz
- 3 ripe pears, such as Bartlett or Comice, peeled and cored
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 ounces pecorino cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Cut the pears inoto 1/2 inch pieces. Cook them with the water in a medium non reactive saucepan, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the pears are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth. You should have 1 1/2 cups. Reserve any extra for another use (stir it into yogurt or oatmeal!).
Use a chef’s knife to cut the pecorino into very thin slices, then chop the slices into rice size bits. Put them in a large bowl, add the sour cream, and set a mesh strainer over the top.
Warm the half-and-half and sugar in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm half-and-half into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent curdling, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the pecorino and sour cream. Mix in the lemon juice and pear puree, then stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator for at least four hours , then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Yield: 1 quart.