Cooking With Currie

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Recently, while our pastry chef was on his annual month-long sabbatical and I picked up shifts filling-in, I was tasked with making a sorbet. It was a challenge I eagerly accepted. Not only was I going to make a velvety smooth sorbet without any ice crystals, I was going seasonal with the fruit AND it was going to appeal to the upscale crowd frequenting the restaurant. Armed with recipes for mango and berry sorbets I set out to do what any good cook would: wing it.

A phone call to our produce provider shot my dreams of something fruity and refreshing; no peaches, plums, or stonefruit currently in season, I had a choice of apple or pear. Pushing back visions of a dark boozy plum sorbet, I started racking my cook’s brain and came to a decision… bring on the pears!

Burgundy Poached Pear Sorbet


*this recipe uses an ice cream machine
Poached Pears:
8 ripe pears
1 cup fresh orange juice
6 cups burgundy wine (about 1/2 jug of wine like Carlo Rossi) you can also use port wine or any dry red wine
12 slices organge
3 cups cranberry juice
6 cinnamon sticks
Peel pears, remove core, and cut into 8 pieces. Dip each piece in orange juice to keep color. In dutch oven bring cranberry juice, burgundy, oranges, and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Add pears and bring to a simmer. Simmer pears till fork tender, about 25-30 minutes or as needed. Remove orange slices, cool and refrigerate overnight in liquid.

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Sorbet:
Remove pears from poaching liquid puree in blender to smooth consistency, using poaching liquid as needed to puree, chill puree till ready to use. Strain poaching liquid to remove pulp and weigh on scale (this is the science part: If you are left with X oz of liquid, you will weigh out and use X oz of sugar) use equal parts poaching liquid and sugar and bring to a boil to create a simple syrup. Chill simple syrup by adding a few ice cubes and refrigerate. Once simple syrup and puree are both about 40 degrees F, proceed with science experiement. Combine 4 cups simple syrup and 6 cups fruit puree thoroughly with whisk to form sorbet base. Process base according to machine manufacturing orders, keeping in mind sorbets generally take less time to freeze than ice creams.

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My sorbet was a huge hit and it accomplished everything I had set out to: it was seasonal, velvety, boozy, and above all else fancy. Sorbets are incredibly versatile once you get over the fear of spinning out shards of watery icy clumps of tastelessness and use this cook’s ratio for sweet success: 4 cups of any flavored simple syrup and 6 cups of any fruit puree chilled and combined will make sorbet… What flavors are you dreaming up???

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