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When you think about autumn, what flavors come to mind?
Maybe it’s pumpkin spice (always a classic), or just-pickled apples. Apple cider donuts, a homemade sage and pumpkin cream sauce, buttery pie crust, slow-cooked stews, the nutty crunch and cinnamon-sugar swirl in a warm sticky bun – there are so many options.
For Laura Sorkin, it’s maple syrup. And there are so many fantastic ways to use it in your cooking, from savory to sweet, and everything in between.
“My husband and I run a company called Runamok Maple that produces infused, smoked, and barrel-aged maple syrup. One of my jobs at the company is to devise recipes that highlight the many uses of our syrups in ways other than pouring it over pancakes,” says Sorkin.
With a master’s degree in environmental management from Duke University, and a degree in culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center, or ICC), Sorkin is an expert in all things maple. She excels at creating delicious recipes that utilize the delicious elixir tapped from over 80,000 trees each year on the Runamok property in northern Vermont.
Sorkin says, “If we are having a big feast, these meals are often finished with maple rum cake, apple tart tatin with maple, or maple cheesecake. But sometimes, we all indulge a bit too much in the potato gratin, and want something light and refreshing for dessert.” That’s where this sorbet comes in.
Whether you’ve just finished your Thanksgiving feast or it’s an average Sunday, this refreshing seasonal dessert is light and flavorful, a delicious way to end your meal with something sweet.
“This pear sorbet with maple and ginger is the ideal finish to a heavy meal,” Sorkin explains. “It is light and sweet with just a hint of ginger spice from the infused maple. And given how few ingredients it uses, it could not possibly be easier.”
We couldn’t agree more! There are just 4 ingredients in this simple recipe, and though it does require a bit of advance prep (like setting up your ice cream maker ahead of time, according to the manufacturer’s directions, so it’s ready to go when you need it) the results will be so worth it.
Plus, this frozen treat is gluten free, dairy free, and vegan. Chances are, most of your holiday guests will be able to indulge in a scoop or two.
“One thing to keep in mind when using fresh fruit in a recipe is that sugar content in the fruit varies quite a bit,” Sorkin says. “I’ve given suggested proportions of fruit and maple syrup, but you should taste the puree before putting it in the ice cream maker to determine if it is enough.”
For more advice on selecting the best pears possible, check out our guide to selecting and storing them. Use ripe fruit for this recipe, and taste, taste, taste.
Sorkin adds, “Adjust accordingly, keeping in mind that you need to bump up the sweetness in frozen desserts.” She recommends Bosc pears for this recipe, but notes that Bartletts would make a nice addition as well.
One thing to keep in mind here is to remember that the ratio of certain ingredients in a frozen dessert (such as alcohol or sugar to water) affects the way that it will freeze, and the final texture. Our article on Sorbet Science has all the details.
Since cold foods numb our taste buds to make them taste less sweet than they may actually be, we’re often inclined to make them even sweeter. But you don’t want to go so far as to affect the texture as well.
We recommend letting your frozen sorbet sit on the counter for a few minutes before scooping, and then letting it rest for another minute or so before digging in. This not only makes it easier to get your ice cream scoop in there, it also allows the sorbet to melt just a bit, so you’ll experience that perfect blend of coolness and flavor.
Here’s one final tip from Sorkin: “Serve with a plate of crispy wafer cookies and you have the perfect end to a rich and hearty meal that won’t leave you in a food coma.” Keep reading after the recipe for our cookie suggestions!Print
Pear Sorbet with Ginger-Infused Maple Syrup is a refreshing and delicious homemade dessert that features autumn produce. Vegan, dairy free, and gluten free.
- 3 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
- 1/4 cup Runamok Ginger Root Infused Maple Syrup, or more to taste
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest, plus more for garnish
- Butter cookies, for serving (optional)
- Place the pears in a saucepan and add water until just covered. Poach over medium heat until just tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
- Drain and place the fruit in a high-speed blender with the Ginger Root Infused Maple Syrup and sugar. Blend on high to produce a fine puree. Taste and adjust for sweetness, adding more syrup if necessary. Add the lemon zest and blend to combine.
- Let the mixture cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator for several hours until cold.
- Transfer the puree to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and place in the freezer. Allow to freeze completely.
- Scoop into dessert dishes and garnish with lemon zest if desired. Serve with a few butter cookies on the side.
Keywords: sorbet, frozen desserts, vegan desserts, pear, maple syrup
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
Wash and dry the pears, and a lemon.
Measure the remaining ingredients, so they will be ready to go when you need them. Runamok’s Ginger Root Infused Maple Syrup is recommended here, since the warm, spiced flavor of the ginger pairs so well with autumn pears. This syrup is available in various grocery and departments stores, as well as on Amazon.
Chunks of Homemade Candied Ginger would also make a delicious add-in for the final product, or you could add a few pieces of peeled fresh ginger to the pot while the fruit is poaching for an even stronger flavor infusion.
Step 2 – Poach
Place the pears in a large saucepan and fill with water to cover. Poach over medium heat for about 10 minutes, just until they are fork tender. The timing on this can vary, depending on the ripeness of your fruit.
Remove from heat and set aside to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then drain through a colander, and discard the cooking water.
Step 3 – Blend
Transfer the fruit to a blender and add the maple syrup and sugar. Blend on high, or using the “puree” setting, until you get a smooth, finely grained puree.
Taste for sweetness, and add more maple syrup if you need to.
Add the lemon zest, and blend to combine.
Let the mixture cool completely, and place in the refrigerator or freezer to chill. You want your sorbet base to be completely cold before you transfer it to your ice cream maker.
Step 4 – Freeze
Transfer to an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s direction. Ice crystals will develop as the mixture is churned, and most machines will create a partially frozen end product with a creamy, frozen but soft consistency.
Transfer to an airtight container with a lid, and freeze. Depending on the temperature of your freezer, this will take about 4-6 hours, or overnight.
Step 5 – Serve
To serve, remove the container from the freezer and allow to defrost for a few minutes on the counter before scooping into parfait glasses or dessert dishes.
Garnish with a light sprinkling of fresh lemon zest, and a few butter cookies if desired.
A Perfect Pear-ing
Pears and ginger, pears and maple, ginger and lemon – all are delicious combinations that come together in this light and refreshing seasonal dessert.
“The rich caramel sweetness of maple syrup is perfect for fall dishes, but they don’t have to be heavy,” says Sorkin. This simple frozen treat is certainly a testament to that!
Whenever you have a farmers market haul of fresh pears on hand (or better yet, a harvest from your own backyard tree), be sure to save a few to make this sorbet. Depending on the capacity of your ice cream maker, you can even make a double or triple batch to serve a crowd.
Creamy, rich butter cookies are the perfect complement to a few scoops of sorbet. For a homemade version, here are a few of our favorites for you to try:
- Rosemary Butter Cookies
- Grandma’s Brown Butter Cookies
- Cardamom Saffron Cookies
- Lemon Cornmeal Cookies
When will you serve this fruit-filled homemade dessert that features the rich flavor of maple, and ripe seasonal pears? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to give the recipe a five-star rating if you loved it!
Photos by Carol Sullivan © Runamok Maple, reprinted with permission. Product photo via Runamok. Syrup samples provided by the manufacturer. Last updated: November 4, 2018 at 9:59 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Allison Sidhu
Allison M. Sidhu is a foodie from Philly who is based in Los Angeles, where she loves exploring the local restaurant scene with her husband. She holds a master's degree in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen whipping up something tasty (or listening to the latest food podcasts while she does the dishes!) you’ll probably find Allison tapping away at her keyboard, curled up with a good book (or ready to dominate with controller in hand in front of the latest video game) on the couch, or devouring a food-filled magazine at the beach.