Pear-Caramel Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop (by David Lebovitz) – Recipe and Cookbook Review

Pear-caramel ice cream from The Perfect Scoop

I bought The Perfect Scoop, only a few months after I started blogging, back in the fall of 2007. David Lebovitz was already well established as a food blogger, living in Paris. The idea that a blogger could launch a book was pretty amazing to me. Of course, I later realized he’d published three previous books and worked for more than a decade at a little place called Chez Panisse, but still, I was impressed!

The Perfect Scoop rapidly became my standard reference for ice cream recipes. David covers everything from the basics like the various types of bases (custard vs. Philadelphia style, not to mention sorbets and granitas), choosing the best ingredients and equipment, and proper mixing techniques, to advanced treat-lover material like making your own cones and mix-ins. Invest twenty minutes in reading the introductory material and you’ll be making killer ice cream on your first try.

I’ve dog-eared many pages, but the Pear-Caramel ice cream has been haunting my imagination since day one. I finally made it, and I have to say, it is a total knockout. The intensity of the pear flavor underscored by the caramel is just amazing. This isn’t “curl up with a pint” ice cream, this is “two small scoops and blow your mind”. The recipe is below, but please pick up the book so you are ready for cherry sorbet, lemon-buttermilk sherbet, fresh ginger ice-cream, Aztec “Hot” chocolate ice cream, oh man …

Now if only I had one of these: Commercial Ice Machines.

Pear-Caramel Ice Cream
Summarized from The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz
Makes about 1 quart
Vegetarian and gluten-free; not vegan

  • 3 medium-sized ripe pears, peeled and cored
  • 3/4 c. + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspooon coarse salt
  • a few drops of fresh lemon juice
  1. Dice the pears into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Spread the sugar in a large, heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat, carefully watching and stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula until melted.
  3. When the sugar is a deep amber, stir in the pears. The caramel will seize, that’s ok. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally (again with a heat-proof spatula – caramel will burn heck out of you) for ten minutes. The sugar will have dissolved.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the cream, then mix in the rest of the cream, salt, and lemon juice.
  5. Cool to room temp, puree until smooth, press through a strainer.
  6. Chill according to your ice-cream maker manufacturer’s instructions. [ed: be sure not to overchurn or you’ll have buttery bits in there – not good]
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, January 12th, 2009 in Books, Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Recipes.

26 Responses to “Pear-Caramel Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop (by David Lebovitz) – Recipe and Cookbook Review”

  1. Reply
    January 12, 2009 at 7:18 am #

    I love the look and feel and introduction and author of this book, and I want to love the recipes as well but I have not had success with the few recipes I have tried. I love prune and armagnac ice cream and his was completely inedible. I had to throw the whole thing away. He calls for putting sour cream in a food processor with prunes and other such tricks, but it never completely froze (he calls for too much booze) and it was like half frozen sour cream or something. Horrible. I also had some students prepare the aztec chocolate and the cinnamon and both lacked the flavors I expected (could have been student error). Oh well. Maybe I should give it another crack.

    I have gone back to the classic anglaise base for all ice creams, infusing flavor or garnish as needed, and find that short of a restaurant-grade machine it as close as I can come to texture,consistency and flavor of pro ice cream at home.

    I do like his tips about using a little booze to soften homemade ice creams, and I also follow his tip about dutch processed cocoa, though can’t say as I personally notice a difference.

    Do you follow his recipes word for word?

  2. Reply
    January 12, 2009 at 7:34 am #

    Hi Michael: Glad you liked the recipe! It reminds me that I need to make it again.

    To the previous commenter that had trouble with the Prune-Armagnac Ice Cream, that ice cream is somewhat softer, but since its not custard-based, I found that it could handle more liqueur than other ice creams. I wonder if it had to do with the prunes; some may absorb more liqueur than others, depending on their dryness.

    (Pille at Nami-Nami made it, and hers is on the softer side, but she liked it quite a bit.)

  3. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    January 12, 2009 at 7:45 am #

    Hey Paul – I’ve had good luck with all of the recipes I’ve tried in the book; I can’t say I follow any recipe word-for-word but I came pretty close on the pear-caramel. I know David tests his recipes obsessively, so I’m guessing the prune-armagnac came from some ingredient difference in the prunes or sour cream or something. I do always taste an ice cream base before freezing, because it has to have *intense* flavor to still taste good when cold.

  4. Reply
    January 12, 2009 at 8:00 am #

    I’ve also had great success with all of the recipes I’ve tried from that book. I’ve been eyeing that same pear-caramel recipe, particularly after I made his to-die-for salted butter caramel recipe on his blog. That ice cream puts our own Molly Moon’s salted caramel ice cream to shame, I must say.

    I think you’ve bumped up the pear-caramel to next on my list now.

  5. Reply
    January 12, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    I just got this book for Christmas and am so excited to try out some of the recipes. I made his salted butter caramel ice cream from the recipe on his site and it was out of control!

  6. Reply
    January 12, 2009 at 1:00 pm #

    I have yet to pick up The Perfect Scoop, but I’m always impressed by David and his creations. This Pear Ice Cream sounds incredible and I love how pure and creamy the pictures look. Amazing!

  7. Reply
    January 13, 2009 at 12:51 am #

    Pear and caramel sound like a heavenly combination!

  8. Reply
    January 13, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    I highly recommend his chocolate sorbet. It is so rich with chocolate, you don’t even notice there’s no dairy.

  9. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    January 13, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    Thanks for the tip, Sara! I’ll have to try that soon.

  10. Reply
    January 13, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    Ooooooooo my gosh! That really is the perfect scoop! What a gorgeous looking ice cream. I dont have an ice cream maker though 🙁 is there any way i can do this without an ice cream maker?

  11. Reply
    January 13, 2009 at 6:46 pm #

    I love this book… I make something out of it almost every week.

  12. Reply
    January 14, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    I love this book! Everything I make out of it turns out well. Your post reminded me I haven’t tried this recipe yet.

  13. Reply
    January 14, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    This will be awesome in our ice cream maker! It’s still winter, but it’s never too cold for ice cream.

  14. Reply
    January 17, 2009 at 2:00 pm #

    I just recently worked at a James Beard dinner, where the pastry chef did a caramel ice cream with a pear butter swirl. Amazing. But this one sounds so good, and now I have a recipe.

  15. Reply
    January 19, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    Haagen Dazs has a Pear-Caramel ice cream with walnuts they came out with I think 1 1/2 years ago. And yeah I agree, it’s a good ice cream flavor!

  16. Reply
    January 27, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    Sounds like the perfect summer treat … David’s book is definitely on my “must buy” list!

  17. Reply
    April 28, 2010 at 7:07 am #

    Just found this recipe yesterday as I was searching for what to do with three pears I had that weren’t getting better in the kitchen. I only had .5C of cream leftover from another meal so I added 1.5C 2% milk. I also stirred in some vanilla, ground ginger and ground clove as pear/cream mixture cooled. I like “bits of stuff” in my ice cream so I just use my immersion blender so smooth out some of it, leaving chunks of sweet pear in the mixture. My husband ate nearly the entire batch in one night! We had to force ourselves to put it back in the freezer – it is that delicious. It reminds me of a pear trifle I made at Christmas time – elegant but comforting. I will definitely be making it again and again and again. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Reply
    April 28, 2010 at 7:12 am #

    Oh, and I am going to try this out with bananas and style it up so we can try out a Bananas Foster type ice cream. Will let you know how it goes.

  19. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    April 29, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Sounds killer. I might oven-roast the bananas a lot first to get out as much moisture as possible. Do let us know how it is!

  20. Reply
    October 18, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    I didn’t have lemons so I used tamarind paste. It gave it the tart flavor of a lemon but also added a nice complex note. Tamarinds and pears really go well together and the ice cream was delicious.

  21. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    October 18, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    Nice substitution, I could see that being delicious!

  22. Reply
    Alice MacGillivray
    October 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    Absolutely amazing ice cream. Thanks!

  23. Reply
    September 20, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    How can I do this without an icecream maker?

  24. Reply
    GwenEllyn Anderson
    September 16, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

    What does ehhat mean? And ‘the caramel will seize’?

    • Reply
      September 17, 2017 at 6:38 am #

      Sorry, ehhat was supposed to be “heat” – I’ll fix it. Seized caramel (like seized chocolate) is when the proteins knot up and make a hard, awful, rocky mass.

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